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Get to Know the Lacrosse Assistant Coaches

Oct 5, 2020

Nicole Graziano Bio | Dorrien Van Dyke Bio | Nicole Graziano Named Lacrosse Assistant Coach | Lacrosse Adds Dorrien Van Dyke as Assistant Coach

Since it is #NationalCoachesDay, let's "Get to Know" the Sun Devil Lacrosse Assistant Coaches. Nicole Graziano and Dorrien Van Dyke each enter their second year on Coach McCormack's staff.

The Sun Devils went 5-3 in their first season, setting several program records in the process. Under the guidance of Graziano and Van Dyke, Arizona State got off to it's first 3-0 start at home in school history. In an early season road victory over Detroit, Graziano and Van Dyke's offense scored a record 24 goals while setting a new high for margin of victory (18 goals). In the same game, Midfielder Maura Cissel established the program record for draw controls (11). 

The Assistant Coach duo in charge of attackers and midfielders improved their position groups tremendously, despite the shortened season. ASU scored 16 or more goals in 6 of 8 games, a feat that only happened four times combined in the two seasons prior. The Sun Devils reached the 20-goal plateau in two games, which had only happened once in program history prior to this season. At a clip of 16.38 goals/game, Arizona State led the Pac-12 and finished 12th nationally in scoring offense. The Maroon and Gold also led the conference and finished third nationally in assists/game (9.50). Sun Devil Lacrosse had three individuals win Pac-12 Player of the Week honors (including a sweep of the final weekly awards of the season).

The stats don't tell the entire story when it comes to the Sun Devil Lacrosse coaching staff. The relationships that have been built with the players and administration extend way beyond competition. Van Dyke and Graziano have helped establish a culture of excellence on and off the field. The future of the program is bright under the direction of Coach McCormack and his two assistants.

'GET TO KNOW' - Sun Devil Lacrosse Edition

What do you love about ASU?
Nicole Graziano: I love coaching at a big-time athletic school where there is endless support from the administration.  Waking up every day as a coach of the Arizona State Sun Devils is something I'll never take for granted.

Dorrien Van Dyke: I love the athletics community, there is so much support from the top down and pride in this Athletic department.

What made you want to work with Coach McCormack? 
NG: Tim's passion and love for the game is second to none, which was evident the first time I spoke with him. He is a tremendous leader and student of the game, always trying to improve himself and our team on a daily basis.

DVD: Tim is the most passionate person I have ever met when it comes to love for the game. He is also a fellow Long Islander so I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

What inspired you to get into coaching?

NG: The ability to positively impact the lives of my players on a daily basis as well as continuing to coach the sport I love at the highest level.

DVD: I got into coaching because this sport has given me so much and so many opportunities and I wanted to provide that for others.

What have you learned from being an Assistant Coach?
NG: To think on your toes and be ready for anything.

DVD: I've really learned to think on my feet as an assistant coach. Sometimes things don't always go to plan and you have to come up with a solution quickly.

What words of wisdom would you give to those wanting to get into coaching?
NG: Follow your passion. If you love what you do then you'll never work a day in your life.

DVD: Be a sponge and make connections! A lot of coaching is building relationships and word of mouth. 

What are the most profound words of wisdom that you have heard from Coach McCormack?
NG: There have been too many to name, but I think one of the best phrases we use regularly is progress not perfection.  It's easy to get wrapped up in our perfectionist society, but it's more profound to focus on the progress you make on a daily basis.

DVD: Progress not perfection.

What is the best advice or coaching you've given to an athlete?
NG: Always be yourself, don't let anyone dull your sparkle. 

DVD: Honestly just to have fun. We all put way too much time into this to not enjoy it as much as we can.

Favorite sports team?
NG: New York Yankees

DVD: New York Yankees

Favorite movie and why?
NG: I'm more of a documentary gal, so I'll have to go with Kobe Bryant's Muse.  He was one of the best athletes and competitors of all time and the film gives you a deeper look into his life and how he operated.

DVD: School of Rock- I have a good memory of my Dad taking me and my brother when we were little, I've loved it ever since.

What is your favorite Hobby?
NG: Aside from competing? Reading.

DVD: When I have free time, I like to crochet and make things for my friends and family.

What is your favorite quote?
NG: "You gotta have fun. Regardless of how you look at it, we're playing a game. It's a business, it's our job, but I don't think you can do well unless you're having fun." - Derek Jeter

DVD: "Stop and smell the roses."

Where would you like to take a vacation to?
NG: Any of the Hawaiian Islands.

DVD: I love to go to Montauk, NY with my family 

Who are some of your role models?
NG: My older sister, Erin. She's been by my side since I was born.

DVD: My Dad

What is your favorite memory as being an ASU Assistant Coach?
NG: Beating UC Davis in the first game of the season last year. It was our first win as a staff and Tim's first as a head coach.  It'll always be a memorable moment for me as a Sun Devil.

DVD: First win as a team and staff vs UC Davis

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