Michelle Tumolo is a superstar in the world of women’s lacrosse.
She’s is a former player at powerhouse Syracuse where she is the third-leading scorer in school history, and a member of the 2017 U.S. lacrosse World Cup gold medal team. She was also the No. 1 pick in the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League and since 2018 has been the head coach at Wagner College in New York. She has done it all while being openly gay.
“I’ve always been myself with [my identity], but that goes along with being a role model,” Tumolo said on a recent episode of “Overtime,” a podcast hosted by ESPN lacrosse analyst Paul Carcaterra. It appears to be the first time Tumolo has openly discussed being gay in a media interview, though she is quite open about it on her social media.
“Kids are always messaging me on Instagram about different things, and I make sure I respond because I want to be a role model for them, because I know some people don’t have it as easy as I do,” she said.
Tumolo, 29, came out as a senior in high school and her family’s unwavering support helped her to focus totally on lacrosse when she went to Syracuse. Tumolo has since been open about her sexuality as her career has progressed.
She posts regular photos of herself with her girlfriend, Lara Bennett, and it’s this kind of normalizing from elite players like Tumolo that go a long way to help grow acceptance in sports.
“I want to be that light ... so I try to reach out to every kid that needs help,” she said. “It is a crazy time. Kids come out at different times and kids take it easier than others, but I definitely identify with that adversity in the lacrosse world. I definitely think we can get to a higher level with it all.”
You can follow Tumolo on Instagram.