Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Growth of the Game

During my days coaching the defense at Gettysburg College (1989 to 1992), Brian McGurn from Chicago impressed me from the first day I saw him on the field during a fall ball practice. Back in the early 90s lacrosse coaches did not view Chicago as a recruiting hot bed and there were fewer recruiting camps and select team tournaments for players (who can afford them!) from Illinois to get a look from schools back east. Gettysburg Coach Hank Janzyck J (coach J) is a great recruiter but the guy puts in the time—calling players regularly and hosting them on campus. Perhaps I would have gone into college lacrosse coaching if it were not for recruiting, scouting, and breaking down film part of the job—I just could not stomach it—not that grading papers is a cake walk either. But back to Brian, this cat from the windy city had average speed but in my opinion he had perhaps one of the smoothest sticks and arsenal of checks I’ve seen in the game. Plus the guy was a vacuum on ground balls and coachable. I really enjoyed watching his game develop over my two years with him. Brian when on to earn first team All-American honors after I left which I expected. Brian stayed on to take my old position as defensive coordinator for coach J; in 2002 the team appeared in the D III title game. I remember encouraging Brian to try out for the Men’s National Team. He received a coveted invite to the 2002 tryout which is really an accomplishment but did not make the team. We actually had a nice talk before the tryout in which I tried to encourage him to play is game. He did not make the team but the odds were stacked against him. Why because back then G-burg players did not have the same cache and respect that they have today. Brian was a history major at G-burg our mutual love of history and lacrosse has helped maintain our relationship over the years.

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