Annapolis' Hart calls it quits in boys lacrosse 10-year Panthers coach won state titles in '94, '98

October 26, 1998|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Disgruntled with meddling parents and other distractions, Dan Hart, who led the Annapolis boys lacrosse teams to state titles in 1998 and 1994, has announced his retirement after 10 seasons.

Hart is in his 30th year as an Anne Arundel County physical education teacher at Annapolis and Meade and also may retire from that position at the end of the school year. No successor has been named.

He started the soccer and lacrosse programs at Meade in 1977-78 and coached each eight years before moving to Annapolis in 1985, where he later succeeded Big Al Laramore.

"It's been fun over the long haul, but the last three or four years, I haven't enjoyed it that much, just not fun anymore and this is the right time to do it [retire]," said Hart, whose intense, feisty and hard-nosed style did not enamor him to colleagues and parents.

"It used to be that you could actually coach, but in recent years, it's become difficult with all the other distractions. The parents and community don't understand that the team has to be first and the individual players second."

Hart, 53, who goes out on top after last year's 16-2 campaign that included a 4A-3A state title, ranks as the second-most successful boys lacrosse coach in Annapolis history at 115-40 (.742) overall with the two titles.

Hart didn't coach at Annapolis his first two years there, but became an assistant to Laramore in 1987. Together they guided the Panthers to a 14-1 record and third state/district title in four years.

Lacrosse did not become an official state championship sport until 1990. Before that, the title was a district, which coaches and media considered the equivalent of a state title.

Laramore, the only man to win state titles in three sports -- basketball (1974), football (1978) and lacrosse (1984, '85 and '87) -- was 87-28 (.756) in eight seasons as lacrosse coach. His first lacrosse champion in '84 was the No. 7-ranked team in The Sun's final poll, the highest finish for the Panthers.

In January 1989, Laramore died of a heart attack. Hart, whose '94 and '98 state champions were ranked eighth and 10th, respectively, in the final Sun polls, succeeded him.

"At first I didn't want the job because I was perfectly satisfied being an assistant, but everybody kept telling me to take it, " said Hart. "I took it hoping to carry on Big Al's tradition, which was always one goal -- to win a state championship."

Annapolis was 5-7 in Laramore's last season, and Hart lifted them to 8-5 his first year, and the Panthers reached the state final for the first time under Hart in 1990 (12-5).

In 1994, Annapolis won it all, going 16-2 (its only losses to private school powers St. Mary's and Severn), including a 7-5 triumph over Centennial in the 4A-3A final.

County player of the year and All-Metro attack Taylor Boone scored four goals in the final, and Hart was named Sun Coach of the Year.

A 67-15 overall run from '94 through last spring was capped by the 16-2 state championship team, with Hart again earning county coach of the year honors.

"It was my greatest senior group, a group of quality, quantity, leadership and character," said Hart. "It was my pleasure to have coached them."

Hart was 55-45 in eight years as Meade lacrosse coach. He led the Mustangs to the district/state final in 1978 and 1980, which was his best season at 12-4, when he was named United States Lacrosse Association Coach of the Year.

Pub Date: 10/26/98

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