Wednesday night, Salisbury’s Jim Berkman became the first college men’s lacrosse coach to amass 400 victories in a career after his team trounced Mary Washington, 16-8.
Berkman, who is 400-42 in 25 years, is understandably honored at the accomplishment, but he is even happier to celebrate a clean bill of health.
Berkman suffered a mild heart attack while working out at his gym March 11. After having two stents inserted to remove a blockage in one of the arteries, he was permitted to return to the top-ranked and reigning national champion Sea Gulls eight days later.
Acknowledging a new lease on life, Berkman said he has tried to change his sideline demeanor, which has been intense at times.
“I think I’ve taken a lot more deep breaths lately before I’m reacting to some things,” he said Wednesday. “But as far as my days, my days have gone pretty much back to normal. I get a little tired at night, but I’m back to working out – just not at the same intensity as before until I can build it back up. But I’m able to exercise on a daily basis, which keeps some of the stress down, and I’m able to coach them up in practice. So I’m excited about the improvements I’ve made in the last three weeks with my health.”
As eager as Berkman was to have his life return to normal, Berkman said he sensed that his players were just as relieved to see him back in the meeting rooms and on the practice field.
“I think it was just a big sigh of relief that I was back,” he said. “Rumors run rampant. The story starts out that he had something and then it’s something else and then by the time it gets to the 12th person, that person says you’re halfway into the grave. So I think it was a big relief when I came back to practice, and they could say, ‘Hey, Coach is OK.”