Over the past six years no one has done more for the South Kingstown High girls lacrosse team than Jeff Feaster.
When the program began in 2007 Feaster was an assistant under Medelise Reifsteck and in 2008 he took over as head coach.
The closest thing he had to experience coaching lacrosse was watching his daughter play for the local lacrosse club.
“She was on the Sharks but I had never coached before,” Feaster says. “I went to coaching clinics and I got mentored by some other good coaches. Peter Brock over in Barrington helped me out a lot.”
Under Feaster’s tutelage the Rebels captured Division III titles in 2009 and 2010 and the following season South made the jump to Division I.
Now after six years at the helm Feaster is walking away.
At the conclusion of each of the past two seasons Feaster has said that he was done coaching so he could spend more time watching his youngest daughter Kendall, now a senior, compete on the track.
At the same time by his own admission he’s had trouble leaving the program so now he will have the best of both worlds, serving as an assistant coach this season.
“I’m more of a cheerleader,” he says. “It’s really hard to stay away. A lot of those girls that are seniors now have been playing for me for three years.”
Taking Feaster’s place at the helm will be Kristin Orabone, who has spent the last two seasons as the team’s assistant coach.
According to Feaster, having Orabone guide the X’s and O’s of the program while he stays on to help where he can will allow both of their strengths as coaches to shine through.
“You’ve really got to get someone that knows the game,” Feaster says. “She played in high school, she played at a fairly competitive club level [at URI] and she worked with me for two years. She has a better tactical implementation than I did.”
With two games now under her belt – a 10-6 loss to North Kingstown on April 2 and a 15-14 win over Cranston West Monday – Orabone feels the transition has gone well.
“Jeff has done a phenomenal job with this program so I felt honored to have it handed over to me,” she says. “He’s still been around quite often and he’s helped me coach.”
According to Orabone, the players have also had little problem adapting to her style of coaching.
“They’ve already been there and I already knew them so that was kind of easy,” she says. “…When I first sat down with the team I wanted to incorporate a lot of what he’s done but I wanted to put my own touch on things.”
It also doesn’t hurt that Orabone inherited a roster that has plenty of talent as the Rebels should have a chance to record their first winning season since moving to D-I.
The Rebels have 15 seniors on this season’s roster, led by Michaela Lawler, Emma Winkler, Maggie Kimball, Sara Stone, Maddie Aitkenhead, Carly Sheehan, Indigo Eisendrath, Mackenzie Ormiston and Cortney Foley.
Juniors Olivia Finnegan and Julianna Liberis should also be consistent contributors for the Rebels this season.
South will be back in action Saturday at 4:30 p.m. when it takes on cross-town rival Prout at Curtis Corner Middle School.