To locate next Coach of the Year, look up north at Albany's Marr


College lacrosse

May 02, 2007|By MIKE PRESTON

When Scott Marr took the coaching job at Albany six years ago, he was either going to get buried under the snow and the obscurity of the program, or slowly lead the Great Danes to national recognition.

Well, Albany (12-2) is ranked No. 8 in The Sun's lacrosse poll, having spent most of the season in the top 10. The Great Danes didn't lose their first game until April 20, to Syracuse, 17-13. It has been a great season by Albany, and Marr should be the sport's Coach of the Year.

The sympathetic choice would be Duke coach John Danowski. He had to restart a program that canceled its season a year ago, and he did it under heavy scrutiny with the national media on campus watching practices, games and monitoring court proceedings for an alleged rape that never took place. But sympathy can only take you so far, and it ends when you look over the Duke roster.

The Blue Devils are loaded, and even Danowski admits he is winning with players recruited by his predecessor, Mike Pressler. The Blue Devils' 1-2 punch of attackmen Matt Danowski, the coach's son, and Zack Greer is phenomenal and nearly impossible to stop.

It's different at Albany, and a lot of times coaches from up north don't get enough credit. It's much easier to recruit players to the South on campuses at Virginia, Duke and North Carolina than it is places like Albany, Massachusetts and even Syracuse. A lot of northern teams seldom get outside to practice until midway in the season, putting them at a big disadvantage.

But Marr has the Great Danes on target for an NCAA tournament berth, teaching his players some of the same skills he learned as an attackman with Hopkins and as a former assistant at Maryland under former Terps coach Dick Edell.

Seaman's frustration

Towson coach Tony Seaman was out of line by accusing Hopkins faceoff specialist Stephen Peyser of cheating after Peyser won 12 of 15 faceoffs over Matt Eckerl in Hopkins' 9-7 win Saturday.

Without singling out a player, Seaman could have just pointed out that Hopkins got away with moving before the whistle on some faceoffs. It's apparent that Seaman's inability to beat his former employer really frustrates him. Everybody knows faceoff guys cheat. They'll do anything they can to gain an advantage, just like other players in other sports.

Seaman, though, vented what a lot of coaches have thought privately about Peyser, and how he seems to get away with it, especially at Hopkins' "Homerwood" Field. But now that the secret has been made public, it will be interesting to see how the officials call it Saturday when No. 12 Loyola travels to No. 5 Hopkins.

Staying with Lakers

After 28 years of coaching at Boys' Latin, getting nearly 400 wins and several championships, you might figure it's time for Lakers coach Bob Shriver to try coaching on the college level. Shriver said he has looked into several opportunities in the past, but doesn't anticipate any in the future.

"I never got too far," Shriver said. "It would be almost impossible now because the way the colleges, at the higher level - Division I anyway - do their hiring. They are always looking for some Division III head, a Division I assistant, or a Division I guy, like [John] Danowski, changing schools.

"I call it the `Bob Wade-Gerry Faust Syndrome.' Those two guys came out of great high school programs and didn't succeed [in college], so no athletic director is willing to take that kind of risk. I think to do it - and I would want to coach at a D-I level - I'd have to go to Point B to get to Point A. I'm too old now to do that.

"Lastly, my family is here in Baltimore, a place that I truly love. I coach at a place that has great lacrosse tradition and is in the best high school league in the country that happens also to be in a very big [lacrosse] community, so it is what I consider a pretty high-profile and a wonderful situation."

Concussions rising?

Doesn't it appear that more and more players, regardless of the level, are having concussions? It's starting to become alarming, and parents, players and coaches should become more aware of the situation.

The problem is twofold. The first is that the helmets aren't designed as well as they were years ago. Helmets now are flashier. They're built to stop your head from splitting open upon contact as opposed to years ago when they were designed to absorb the shock of a hard hit.

Secondly, everyone wants the vicious hit instead of playing good, sound defense. Coaches are teaching it, and referees are allowing it more often. Until this is corrected, the concussions will increase.

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