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Coach Mixon: A Storied Career

Ben Vester and Matthew Libov

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Here in Ridgewood, lacrosse is like a religion. Ridgewood High School has one of the most successful lacrosse teams in the state, for both boys and girls. Lacrosse shops and lacrosse clothing is very popular among Ridgewood’s youth. Ridgewood event celebrates a day dedicated solely to lacrosse during LAX Day in April.  One of Ridgewood’s most iconic coaches, Karla Mixon, coached RHS Girls Varsity Lacrosse for twenty years, before retiring this year. We interviewed Coach Mixon to see what made her make this difficult decision.

We found that Coach Mixon made the decision to retire because she wanted to be able to spend more time with her family in Pennsylvania. “Twenty years of not spending Easters with my family, and my parents are getting older and life changes with them, so I thought it was very important for me to spend time with them,” Mixon said.  She began her coaching career over two decades ago, coaching lacrosse summer camps. After becoming a teacher in Ridgewood , Ms. Mixon became the Freshmen girls lacrosse coach. She worked her way up over the years, through Junior Varsity, to become the Varsity Girls coach. A title that she held in very high esteem.

As a coach she had many favorite moments. When pressed for her number one favorite moment she said, “Well, we did win the Championship back in 2010, and 2011. I think those were two of my favorites.” She also had challenges as a coach though too. “It was always challenging, every year, you know, you graduate so many wonderful girls, every year you have to rebuild the team, even though sometimes you have girls returning, and you get new girls who have to come in and learn and figure out how the team works. So, it’s always a challenge figuring out placement, and position, and every coach I think goes through that. I felt that  was always a challenge. The expectations and competition to always be successful was also a challenge.”

Over the years, Mixon coached many different teams and groups for the High School.  When asked to describe her players, she said, “Extremely dedicated, athletic, hardworking, you know, they work outside of the sport, some play in summer leagues and fall balls, some of them play in other sports in the fall, and in the winter, and they have to work hard in the classroom too. They have to maintain their academics, too.” She was then asked if this dedication shown by the girls stemmed from her own coaching. “I would hope so. I think, you know, though, that it mostly comes from their internal drive, but I think they push themselves, and I think their parents also want them to do well, and help them become better people. Everyone thats in your life, your family, your teachers, and your coaches all push you to be the best you can be.”

Coach Mixon will leave behind a very storied and successful career as the Ridgewood Girls lacrosse coach.  She is hopeful that the lacrosse team will continue to succeed, and that the girls there will continue to work as hard as they do both on the field, and in the classroom. Coach Mixon will now be looking forward to more time with her family, as well as plenty more free time on her hands for herself.

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