Saturday, August 14, 2010

Back When I Coached College Lacrosse: Steve Koudelka Part I

Steve Koudelka (aka Kouder) from Long Valley, New Jersey was in my opinion Coach J’s greatest impact recruit during my tenure at Gettysburg and perhaps after my years but others will have to comment on that. According to Coach he had “like 50 schools recruiting him.” When I came to G-burg I was GA for the lacrosse and soccer programs working on my Master's Degree in history at Shippensburg University. I grew up in metro New York on Cosmos soccer in which that team had some of best in the world playing at Giant Stadium in New Jersey. I heard from then soccer coach Dave Wright (who is now the AD) about Kouder’s soccer ability. And it was perhaps coach Wright that discovered him and not Coach J? Kouder never played soccer at G-burg but he supposedly had game and he was a great hoop player too. His first year at G-burg he sat on the bench behind an All-American senior goalie Brian Sullivan (aka Sully). Another perhaps not so well know secret about coach J is that he works closely with his goalies drilling them on the fundamentals especially their footwork. Kouder worked very hard his first year and maintained a terrific attitude while waiting for his turn to play. His sophomore year he showed tremendous poise and leadership which is necessary for s goalie who is the middle linebacker on the defense calling the plays. Fortunately Steve had some great defenders in front of him particularly Billy Stedman who had great speed, size, and the ability to throw checks that he learned from another All American G-burg defensemen Braden Edwards. Brandon who graduated with Sully was bigger than Billy but Billy in my opinion was the better defensemen because he was faster, a better athlete, and smarter lacrosse player, and coachable. Both Billy and Branden earned first team All American honors their senior year, but they were different people and players. Now if I was in a bad neighborhood in say Baltimore City back then, if I had the choice between the two, I would want Braden to have my back, but if I wanted to invest some money in Latin America, I’d go with Billy. More tomorrow on Kouder.

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