Saturday, April 3, 2010

My Year as Hempstead's Boy's Varsity Lacrosse Coach

I closed yesterday talking about the mistakes I made as a young head lacrosse coach at Hempstead High School in 1989. For example, I held my first lacrosse practices before school to make sure my players attended their first period classes and I had dress code on the field to insure we looked uniform. Before you jump on my case, this was the late 80s and the Hip Hop dress culture had some of my players looking straight up ghetto with shorts and sweat paints hanging off their but etc. I tried to instill discipline in a new program but I tried to make too many changes too soon and some that frankly were not necessary. The seniors rebelled and I threw them off the team—these were guys who went on to play division 1 football and basketball the next year; one of them, Lamont Hugh, is the current lacrosse coach at Hempstead High School. I would love to see how Lamont his doing as the coach. Lamont had to be one of the quickest guys I’ve seen (including SU athletes). His senior year he earned the Long Island Player of the year award, parade All American as a quarterback and he had several division one football and basketball offers. As hard as it was to do, I kicked him and several others off my team which meant I was going to have tough road to hoe ahead. I regret how ran the team, but not kicking off superstar athletes who frankly didn’t care. As a coach you are hurting your best players when you play favorites with them. Just hold them accountable for their actions and bench them in big games even if it means losing that game. In the long wrong you will do more to help that player become a better person and you will establish a representation for fairness that help your program down the line. I was 27 years old in 1989 and I had a lot of lacrosse knowledge to share with my Hempstead Tiger team. The problem was I lacked the wisdom to apply the knowledge in a way that my players would have responded and matured into student athletes.

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