LEXINGTON, Va. (WFXR) — When Brooke Diamond O’Brien accepted the head coaching role at Amherst College, she knew the toughest part would be telling the players she’d be leaving behind at Washington and Lee.

“That was really hard and obviously this time of year people are scattered all over the world honestly so it’s hard to gather them all together but just wanted to make sure they knew that the hardest part is leaving them,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien admits she didn’t think she’d stick around for a decade and a half when she took the job in 2007.

“I was reflecting how I drove down here with my car and a few other possessions fifteen years ago as a 25-year-old and was really excited about the opportunity,” O’Brien said. “W&L took a chance on me when I had no head coaching experience and gave me the opportunity and I’m grateful for that.”

In her time with the Generals, O’Brien guided them to a dozen ODAC championships and was named the conferences coach of the year nine times. But that success didn’t come easily.

“With those early years, I was making a lot of mistakes as a young coach and learning from them and building that program,” O’Brien said. “We had some great early classes and some great student athletes who helped us set our culture and figure out who we were going to be as a program.”

Looking back, O’Brien says the experience has been about much more than the wins and losses.

“The best part is seeing student-athletes go off and create their own lives and their own paths,” O’Brien said. “That’s the coolest part seeing student-athletes become fully engaged adults in whatever it is that is their path after here.”

Now the Massachusetts-native is headed back to her alma mater where her lacrosse career began.

“There’s something to be said about kinda going home and I think that’s what this is,” O’Brien said. “I think it’ll be a lot colder and that’s what we’re bracing ourselves for.”