Whiteley to leave St. Paul's lacrosse

May 05, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

Many high school area boys lacrosse coaches would take an afternoon in a dentist's chair over the prospect of devising a defense to stop St. Paul's run-and-gun offense.

"You couldn't throw the ball around in the open field and not expect it to hurt you if you were sloppy," said Loyola coach Joe McFadden. "They could capitalize on your mistakes with a lot of success -- and they did it quickly."

McFadden and others may be able to rest a little easier with the retirement of Crusaders coach Mitch Whiteley at season's end.

After six seasons, Whiteley, 42 -- citing a desire to spend more time with his wife, Jackie, and four children -- this week told his squad that this will be his final season.

"It's been tough on my wife and family, and there've been some health problems," said Whiteley, who has three daughters and a son. "Plus, I've never enjoyed a spring break, and it'll be a chance to see my daughter's softball games."

Whiteley's 69-22 career record includes a 38-6 record over the past three seasons and a two-year, 35-game winning streak in what is widely viewed as the nation's premier high school league.

The streak included 10 one-goal victories -- two of which were 9-8 wins over St. Mary's and Boys' Latin in the 1992 and 1993 Maryland Scholastic Association title games.

"That two-year run was simply remarkable," said Jim Moorhead, coach of defending league champ St. Mary's. "You just know you're in for a battle when you play Mitch's teams because they're always ready."

Whiteley's 19-year-old son, Tim, a sophomore playing at Virginia, and Michael Watson, a Virginia freshman, were chosen The Baltimore Sun's Players of the Year as seniors.

An assistant principal and director of college counseling at St. Paul's, Whiteley said he will likely continue coaching on a part-time basis with St. Paul's middle school team, and also scout opposing teams for his replacement and former assistant, Rick Brocato, 31.

"He's an outstanding players coach and commands respect," said Brocato. "He's been a great mentor, and I hope to carry on the program."

As an adviser, Whiteley focused not just on his students, but those from other programs, helping players from such schools as Loyola, Fallston and Mount Hebron with their college choices.

Whiteley's concerns extended to raising interest in lacrosse in the inner city. He conducted numerous clinics throughout Baltimore middle schools and helped to convince the Abell Foundation to make a financial contribution that started Carver's program last year.

Most recently, Whiteley's Crusaders worked with Lake Clifton High.

"Mitch gave us practice uniforms that have helped to promote a sense of unity among our team members from the first day of practice. And, look, we're 8-1 and challenging for the league title," said Lakers coach John Baker.

"Before our game against Poly, he took our kids to St. Paul's. We scrimmaged his kids, then [interchanged] players and had a mixed scrimmage. What he's done for city lacrosse has been a truly humanitarian task."

Whiteley's coaching style also is held in esteem by his peers.

"Having been around awhile, what stands out most about Mitch is that he doesn't over-coach," said Calvert Hall coach Mike Thomas. "He knows when to let a kid play and when to kick him in the backside."

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