Sunday, March 11, 2012

My Years With Long Island Lacrosse Club, the Late 1980s

Kevin Sheehan (Baldwinsville (Syracuse suburb), , Pat Donahue (West Genesee), and Me, in the 85 Championship game. Pat’s older brothers Kevin and Tom were SU All Americans midfielders who played with John Desko both in high school and at Cuse. Kevin Donahue is John’s first assistant at Cuse and he’s been on the SU coaching staff for more than ten years now which is another reason why the team has been so success over the years.

In Danbury, Connecticut I taught grades k-7 for two years and coached boys JV soccer and middle school boys basketball (1986-1988). The teaching and coaching experience were tremendous and I loved the experience. But Danbury had no lacrosse program back then and my goal had been a position where I would teach and coach a varsity lacrosse team in a predominately black school district. A teaching and coaching position in Hempstead, Aaron Jones,’ hometown, opened up and he and Buddy Krumenacker helped me get an interview. Buddy was the Dean of Students and Head Varsity Football coach at Hempstead at the time. He’s a Farmingdale, Long Island native and the older brother of the late Hopkins All American midfielder John Krumenacker who died in 1998. As SU player had would at times cover John and thus Buddy knew of me from the Hopkins Syracuse rivalry. With the help of Aaron, his mother (a retired Hempstead High English teacher) and Buddy I received an interview. Hempstead school district hired me and I started teaching physical education and coaching at the high school in fall of 1989. Folks, the lacrosse world is small and it doesn’t pay to do be a jerk on or off the field; everybody is so interconnected in our sport. I was familiar with Hempstead because I started playing for the Long Island Lacrosse Club in the Spring of 1987 and made the commute to Hofstra University in Hempstead every Thursday evening for practice from 8-10 pm and again on Sundays for 1pm games. I made this commute because I instinctively knew that I had play at the highest level of competition to gain an invitation to 90 US National team tryouts. Playing for the club helped my game tremendously because of head coach Tom Postel and my teammates many of which had played on one or more US National teams when I joined the club in 87 and many were outstanding college coaches at local universities. Allot of these guys and the coaching staff are now members of the National Hall of Fame. I will be mixing in reflections on Hempstead and my club experiences over the next couple of days.

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