By Sam Brouwere
After the Canisius women’s lacrosse team was established in 1998, the team didn’t have much success, however that all changed when Scott Teeter was named the team’s head coach in 2003. He has since built the program into one of the more successful programs at Canisius.
Teeter was a four-year letterwinner as a hockey player for the Griffs’ hockey team. Aside from being on the hockey team for his collegiate years, he worked on the women’s lacrosse team as the team manager. During his senior year, he took an internship with the Buffalo State lacrosse team as an assistant coach and graduated from Canisius in 2002.
He wasn’t away from Canisius for long, as he was hired as the head women’s lacrosse coach in January, 2003. When asked why he took the job of coaching the team, a team that hadn’t had much success at that point, he replied, “To be honest, I turned it down a couple of times. I was still holding onto my hockey career, and it really was timing. It was really timing and the commitment offered to that Tim (Dillon) and Canisius offered me in the package. Also, the vision of where they thought women’s lacrosse could be.”
He explained that it was a tough decision to make: continuing his hockey career or accept the Canisius job. He credits the support of his parents for helping him make his decision to take the job at Canisius.
The team only managed to win a single game during Coach Teeter’s first two seasons, posting a combined 1-23 record. Teeter explained that the first two years were tough. At the beginning of his first year, he was given the advice from his sports supervisor Jennifer Zeh to just get through the year and develop what he had, and then they would then be able to make changes through recruiting in the following years.
However, Coach Teeter, being a young coach, didn’t have a background in building a program and recruiting. The only experience that he ever had with recruiting was when he was recruited to play hockey. During those first few seasons, he was helped by the other coaches at Canisius to learn how to recruit players and start building a program.
“I really owe a lot of respect to some of my great friends that are other coaches here at Canisius,” Teeter said. “My former hockey coach (Brian) Cavanaugh took me under his wing. He helped me out with travel, he helped me out with how to run a program, the ins-and-outs that I could bounce anything off him. Randy (Mearns, Cathy (Hummel), Jim (Hesch), at the time when I was young. We were all in one little hallway and their doors were always open for me. That really helped me out.”
The next season, 2004-05, the Griffs had a big turnaround and went 9-6, which was only two less wins than what the program had won in the previous seven years combined, so it was the most successful season that the Griffs had to that point. The team had a lot of freshmen that stepped up by taking on larger roles. Alana Chan led the team with 48 points for the season and freshman Whitney Card scored 46 points for second on the team.
“I had a very good recruiting class that brought in,” Teeter said on the turnaround. “I believe I had three girls come off the Canadian National Team that were really getting overlooked and came in and were some of our top players. I also got the top player out of Western N.Y. that we weren’t getting that we were always losing to Niagara or other schools in Erica (Nasca). I had a really good recruiting class that came in as freshmen, but also at that time I was setting our schedule, so I was able to maneuver our schedule and give us a chance to win by setting us up for success.”
For the next five seasons, the Griffs had a combined record of 44-45. Then, after five years of mediocre play, the Griffs won the conference championship for the first time in 2011. The Griffs were helped out by various players that season. Senior Taylor Gray led the team with 69 points and senior Carly Quinn had 65 points on the season.
The next year, the Griffs had lost various players from the season prior, so they had to rely on the new freshmen class that Teeter recruited to step up. They did so by winning another MAAC Championship at the end of the year. Teeter recruited Tori Quinn, sister of Carly Quinn, to play for the Griffs. She helped the Griffs not only win the MAAC Championship that season, but also helped the team win two more championships, in 2013 and 2014. She also went on to be the Griffs’ all-time leading scorer with 251 points. She spoke to what she’s learned from Teeter.
“I’ve learned a lot from Coach Teeter, for sure. He basically just wants everybody to best player and person that they can be,” she said. “He’s a very good coach. He’s done really well here for the last couple years, really built the program to the next level. He has a game, he knows what to do with it, and he gets his players to buy into what he’s saying and that’s why we’ve been so successful.”
Tori Quinn is now the team’s assistant coach.
Since winning their first championship in 2011, the Griffs won four more MAAC Championships, in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016. According to maacsports.com, no other MAAC team has won three straight championships. The team also has a record of 37-5 against their conference opponents during that span, which is a big reason why they’ve been able to be so successful for such a long time.
Coach Teeter explained that they’ve been able to sustain success for such a long time because they’ve stuck to the plan that they had, which was bringing in freshmen that originally had to be the best players in their first year. Then, the freshmen would continue to develop into better players in their upperclassmen years, but at the same time, the team is getting strong play from their freshmen. This plan has allowed the team to get higher rated recruits, thus enabling them to have more success on the field.
Coach Teeter took a team that was averaging about two wins per season to one that is winning their conference championship just about every year. This turnaround has certainly been noticed by the other coaches at Canisius. Men’s lacrosse coach Randy Mearns gave his thoughts on the job Coach Teeter has done since taking over.
“I think it’s a function of a lot of things. I think he’s a very very talented coach. I think that he has developed and as he evolved as a young coach, learning the women’s field game and now that I think he’s one of the coaches that are at the top of the games in terms of strategy, in terms of offense and defense,” Mearns said. “He’s done a phenomenal job of recruiting young women here that adhere to the academic standards and the athletic standards. That’s led him to coach the U19 national team for Canada. He’s won a world championship, not many people can say that. He’s a phenomenal asset to the Canisius Community.”
A big reason why Coach Teeter has been so successful for such a long time is that he never settles and is always pushing his team to reach the next level. Senior captain Ashley Bull spoke to this.
“He never settles. He always raises the bar, so for our teams, specifically, we went on a stretch where we won four straight MAAC Championships, and even then it wasn’t enough yet because we always had to reach that next level,” she said. “He’s always pushing our team and always wants everybody to get better every single day that we’re on the field, he’s happy about the MAAC Championships, but he’s never satisfied because he keeps wanting to reach that next level.”
“We have some goals that we’d like to accomplish. Our achilles heel right now is we haven’t been nationally ranked, but we also haven’t beaten a nationally ranked team; we’ve came close, we’ve beaten number 21 a few times, but we haven’t beat a top-20 team that’s been ranked,” Teeter said on what he would still like to accomplish. “I think that we play a difficult enough schedule to get that ranking, and then you get the national recognition and that stuff. The other goal is that we haven’t won a game in the NCAA Tournament, we’ve came close. We’ve lost by one goal, two goals, lost with four seconds left, but we need to win one of them. The next step after that is to advance in the NCAA Tournament.”