Four years ago, Pat Hein ’01 came to New Haven eager to join the men’s lacrosse team. But Hein, who had limited lacrosse experience but a wealth of athletic ability, was unsure of the role he would play for the Bulldogs.
At Yale, hard work has transformed Hein into a skilled defensive midfielder, who, as both a captain and a player, fills a crucial spot on the team.
Not physically ready for collegiate play, Hein spent his freshman campaign increasing his size and improving his play.
“I was really weak and skinny. I probably weighed 25 pounds less than I do now,” Hein said. “My stick skills really weren’t so good either.”
The Washington, D.C., native did not begin playing lacrosse until his sophomore year of high school. Before he picked up the sport, Hein excelled at basketball and soccer. An English teacher suggested that he should try his hand at lacrosse.
Hein said he immediately appreciated the uniqueness of the game.
“I love lacrosse because everyone has a different role,” he said. “The game allows people to utilize their different skills, and I can use my speed to help the team.”
For these reasons, Hein gave up basketball and soccer and decided to pursue only lacrosse at the collegiate level.
Waldvogel said he saw great potential in the three-sport competitor.
“He was a very good athlete and was recruited for his athletic talent,” Waldvogel said. “We knew he was very competitive, and we thought we could use him in our lineup.”
In his freshman year at Yale, Hein spent time as an offensive midfielder before finding his niche as a defensive midfielder.
But both Waldvogel and Hein point to the summer after his freshman year as the turning point in his lacrosse career. That summer, Hein started in the World Games as a member of the German national lacrosse team. Because his father is German, Hein maintains both German and U.S. citizenship.
“Physically, he got a lot stronger,” Waldvogel said. “He competed against the best. The international game is much quicker, and he really has great speed and endurance.”
Upon returning to Yale, Hein began to assume a much larger role on the field and was named the team’s most improved player. Hein remained dedicated to personal and team improvement, and at the end of the 2000 season was voted captain.
“It was a great honor,” Hein said. “My goal is to go out everyday and work as hard as I possibly can. Hopefully, I can motivate other people to work hard too.”
Teammates said they admire Hein’s work ethic on and off the field.
“Hein is one of the hardest workers in practice,” attacker Ryan Floyd ’03 said. “As a defensive midfielder he has a lot of responsibility. He runs really hard for a long time every single game.”
Defenseman Todd Montgomery ’04 echoed Floyd’s compliments.
“He’s a good captain,” he said. “He really embodies the Yale athlete and always gives 100 percent.”
A double major in History and German Studies, Hein brings the same determined attitude to the classroom.
Waldvogel said he would miss Hein’s hard work and dedication to the program.
“He’s been a great captain,” he said. “We’ve had ups and downs this season, so it’s put a lot of pressure on him as one individual. But he’s taken on a stronger role.”
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