[Editor’s Note: From time to time we will feature a short Q&A with an IWLCA member coach. The format will be one question about lacrosse, one question about life, and one fun question.]
1 – Describe the defining characteristics of your ideal student-athlete, on and off the field:
There are so many characteristics that define the ideal student-athlete, making this a difficult question. I would say that selflessness is high on my list. You can’t get anywhere, regardless of talent, if the player doesn’t accept the fact that the team always comes first. Focus is also important. It takes a tremendous amount of focus for today’s kids to succeed, considering the demands placed on them and all the opportunities to become distracted. Toughness is important.
This goes for mental and physical toughness. I am always amazed at how our players have the ability to push through the demands of practice and how they respond to the pressure and intensity of important games. Lastly, I would say I want players who are joyful. I was so proud of our team this year and the most exciting area for us down the stretch was our sideline. The excitement our team brought to each game down the stretch was amazing and their joyful energy carried us through one of the most exciting seasons I have ever been a part of.
2 – What is one thing you know now that you wished you had known when you were a student-athlete?
I wish I realized how special my time as a student-athlete was during my college experience. I was fortunate to play for one of the greatest coaches the game has ever seen during a time when our teams were changing the game. I played with and against some of the most legendary players in the history of the sport, while competing in some of the greatest games of all time. At the time I didn’t understand how special that all was. I loved every minute of those four years but I wasn’t paying close enough attention as it unfolded and there are times that bothers me. I wish I was more mature during that period of my life and was able to think beyond the importance of just winning games. I have no regrets, I just wish I had slowed down from time to time, stepped back from what we were doing and considered how lucky I was.
3 – If you could only have one “celebration meal” every time something important happened for the rest of your life, what would be on the menu each time and why?
This may sound strange coming from an Irishman, but I would have to say I would celebrate with my mother’s lasagna. It was always one of my favorite meals and she would make it for every Holiday and whenever I would come home from school. She would also send me back with a couple of trays for the guys on the team when I returned home each time. They looked forward to it as much as I did, and it never lasted longer than a few days. I can remember the time she would put into preparing it and how it came out perfect every time. My mother passed away three years ago, and my family has tried to duplicate mom’s lasagna but it’s never the same. So, I’ll never have that meal again, but the memories it brings back are as good as any championship I’ve ever won!