Bayhawks net the first female GM in pro lacrosse

Players

March 12, 2006|By CHRISTIAN EWELL | CHRISTIAN EWELL,SUN REPORTER

Mandy Eysie looks at her new position as general manager of the Baltimore Bayhawks professional lacrosse team as a continuation of her all-consuming interest in sports.

Eysie, 28, progressed from a child playing games in the streets of Foxboro, Mass., to a three-sport high school athlete. She's finishing a law degree to burnish her resume as a front-office executive.

As the person running the operations of a pro lacrosse franchise, Eysie laments that she didn't play the fast-paced sport when she was in high school.

"Foxboro [High School] didn't have lacrosse when I went there," said Eysie, who competed in basketball, field hockey and softball. "It's right up my alley. I was disappointed that I wasn't allowed to play."

The Bayhawks, who play at Towson University during the summer as one of 10 teams in Major League Lacrosse, hired Eysie in December as one of the first moves of a new ownership group led by Jeff Harvey and former league Coach of the Year Scott Hiller. She's the first female GM in the league's history.

Eysie played down the significance of that achievement.

"I don't see it as a factor," she said. "It's something that you earn on your accolades, not your gender."

While angling for a Major League Lacrosse franchise for much of last year - first looking at an expansion to Chicago, then at Baltimore when Dave Pivec and Gordon Boone sold the team back to the league - Harvey and Hiller had been looking at executives for the front office.

With Hiller set to manage player personnel, the owners needed someone to oversee other aspects of the franchise, such as ticket sales, marketing and promotions. The focus settled on Eysie, an Arizona State alumna expected to complete her law studies at Suffolk University this spring.

Her work with the league's home office in Boston last year, as an assistant to commissioner David Gross, impressed Harvey during the season and through the selection process.

"We always came back to Mandy," said Harvey, a longtime associate of Gross. "She had a great skill set and a passion for sports that showed in her work with the league. We were looking for our first GM and found that her experience at Major League Lacrosse put her above the other candidates."

Eysie agrees that her time with Gross served her well, as she had the chance to see more of a professional sports league than she might have with a bigger, more established league.

"I was his right-wing person," she said of her duties, which included being in on meetings with sponsors and traveling to three games a weekend. "I got to learn the functions of the league over the summer. There was a wide gamut of experience working for Dave."

For Eysie - the daughter of intense New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox fans - sports has been a focus since the days when her sister, two brothers and as many as 20 other neighborhood kids would play baseball, kickball, touch football and basketball on a dead-end block.

A self-described "sports nut," Eysie went to Arizona State in great part for the big-time college sports experience. "I wanted to go somewhere big," she said. "A place that had a good sports program and had good weather."

After college she worked in sales and marketing, then opted to follow the path of the many sports executives who had law degrees.

"I wanted to take it to the next level," she said.

Harvey, who played lacrosse at Boston College, said that Eysie has done nothing but impress him so far.

"She's done an outstanding job, exceeding our expectations," he said. "Mandy's maturity is one where she can handle the challenges that come up."

christian.ewell@baltsun.com

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