North Xtra: Fox Chapel family sticks together

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Chris McCrady had a decision to make.

The Fox Chapel Area High School boys lacrosse coaching position was available not long after the 2013 season had ended with the Foxes finishing the year with an 8-8 record, but not winning a single game against seven Division 1, Section 2 opponents.

"I think I said I'd give up my rights to complain about anything if I didn't take the position," said McCrady, an insurance broker who played lacrosse at Sewickley Academy and at Michigan State.

So McCrady took the plunge, and joined the "family business" as wife Jen has coached both the girls lacrosse and field hockey teams at Fox Chapel for five seasons, and their two children, Megan and Levi, are on their respective varsity teams.

The Fox Chapel boys are 5-0 after winning Monday's non-section game at Knoch, 16-2. On Tuesday, the girls (2-3) lost to Quaker Valley, 19-14, the top-ranked girls team in Western Pennsylvania, according to

Jen McCrady said that with both parents coaching and the two children competing at the same high school, life in the McCrady household has been a little more predictable.

"It's actually easier now with everyone on the same schedule," she said. "We see each other more now than we did when the kids were in middle school."

Chris McCrady had never coached on the high school level before he became the Foxes' coach. But he had coached at the middle school level at St. Edmund's Academy in Squirrel Hill for 10 years, and he'd been a volunteer assistant with the Fox Chapel program in previous seasons.

"I've also been involved with Pittsburgh Youth Lacrosse, so I'd seen a lot of these players when they were younger," he said. "I've known most of these players since they were in fourth grade."

Jen McCrady said that daughter Megan calls her "Jen," Just like the team's other members.

"It's funny," Jen McCrady said. "But it's quite common."

Levi McCrady, who had 10 goals and five assists going into this week, isn't quite as informal.

"I've never heard him call me 'coach,' so I assume he calls me 'dad,'" Chris McCrady said.

Chris and Jen met when they were students at Michigan State where Jen played field hockey.

Jen said she's seen Levi play, but Chris hasn't seen Megan play this season as the girls team has been on the road for two of its first four games.

"We were fortunate, however, that our athletic director, Michael O'Brien, in helping to ensure there wasn't a lot of overlapping with our schedules," Jen McCrady said.

"I've been able to see the majority of Levi's games."

Both teams have balanced scoring, and the McCrady children are playing well on their respective teams.

Heading into Tuesday's game at Quaker Valley, freshman midfielder Megan McCrady was the girls' team's leading scorer with 14 goals and 12 assists. Senior attack Rachel Wight is next with six goals, while senior attack Hannah D'Cunha has four goals and eight assists. Jen McCrady said eight other players have scored between one and five goals.

Sophomore attack Tucker Root is the boys team's leading scorer with 12 goals heading into Monday's non-section game against Knoch. Levi McCrady, a sophomore midfielder, has 10 goals and 5 assists, while senior attack Alden Stone has 9 goals and 1 assist.

Both coaches are optimistic about their respective teams qualifying for the WPIAL tournament.

"Every year, the first two slots are obvious," Jen McCrady said. "But there's always a race to the end for those third and fourth slots. But if we have to play Shady Side Academy, I like the way we match up against them."

Chris McCrady is looking for his team to play four quarters.

"We've played well for three, but we have to continue to work at playing a four-quarter game," he said. "We've come out fast for each game, but we've slowed down, and we need to finish games stronger than we have been."

One thing is certain, though. As parents, the McCradys cannot give voice to the lament often heard from other parents.

"We can't complain about our kids' playing time or the coaches," he said.

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