Wendy Gallapoo couldn't understand why she was getting congratulatory e-mails last spring. Perhaps she should have asked her dog, Copper.

Wendy Gallapoo couldn't understand why she was getting congratulatory e-mails last spring. Perhaps she should have asked her dog, Copper.

Gallapoo, who coaches girls lacrosse at Hastings Middle School after 16 years at Upper Arlington, received a notification letter of her induction to the Ohio Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

However, her dog got to the letter before she did.

"Copper's just a puppy and eats our mail all the time," said Gallapoo, who was inducted in a ceremony June 15. "In May, I kept getting all these emails from coaches I knew saying, 'Congratulations. No one deserves this honor more than you.' I had no idea what they were talking about.

"I look at the other names on that list and think about the impact they've had on lacrosse and even me personally. To be mentioned in that elite company is pretty humbling."

Gallapoo joined Hudson Western Reserve Academy coach Judy Schmitt, lacrosse official Connie Walton and Sylvania Club and Toledo St. Johns Jesuit coach Jim Reed in the induction class.

Gallapoo was named UA coach in 1992 and compiled a 213-78-12 record, including 84-17-2 in her last five seasons. UA won Division I state titles in 2002, 2004 and 2005.

Gallapoo resigned in 2007 to spend more time with her children, David and Clara. She then heard from a friend that Hastings had an opening only a couple weeks before the start of last season.

Gallapoo emailed principal Jim Buffer to see what kind of time commitment was involved with the job. Buffer emailed her back with two words: "You're hired."

"It's very difficult to find middle school coaches to begin with but to find ones in sports like field hockey and lacrosse, which aren't as main stream, is really difficult," said Buffer, who had worked with Gallapoo when he was athletics director at Upper Arlington. "To hire someone with her experience was exciting."

"I feel like I've come full circle," Gallapoo added. "I helped start the Hastings and Jones programs in 1994 and now I'm coaching at Hastings."

Hastings went 11-0, including a 7-6 victory over Jones in the season finale as Olivia Reyer scored off an assist from Sydney Farwick with fewer than 30 seconds left.

Dan Hendrickson, the Hastings boys coach, pulled Gallapoo aside before the season started and told her that middle school sports was "a different animal" than coaching an elite high school varsity program.

"Part of making the transition from coaching high school to working with younger athletes is that at the middle school level it's not all about winning," Buffer said. "It's more about getting everyone involved. Making sure everyone has fun is a top priority."

"I really didn't expect for things to go as smoothly as it did," Gallapoo said. "I was very impressed with the eagerness of the girls. They were like sponges. The undefeated season wasn't anything that I did. They were willing to work hard."