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That statement by McAuley was significant because alumni are the bedrock of any NCAA lacrosse program. They provide resources from mentoring, to networking for jobs, and yes, their financial contributions help contribute to success for the team. Many alumni are excited about Coach Breschi and he has worked hard to cultivate those relationships. Of course, he being a UNC alumni himself helps, but his great interpersonal skills serve him well too. Even before the season starts, the closer ties to alumni and a rekindling of the UNC lacrosse family atmosphere has been a success story in Chapel Hill.
Before even talking about what happens on the field, I wanted to relay a story from the latest alumni dinner/team awards banquet that was held the final Saturday in September The event, held in the Kenan Football Stadium s old donors room, was so well attended by alumni that if you were lucky enough to have a chair at a table, you could have sold it for a nice premium. It was literally standing room only for many. In the room were some of the former Tar Heel greats, some of whose Nike Vapormax Crimson
Totally confused, I had to ask one of the players what was going on, and here is the story. At the beginning of practice in August, no player had a jersey number. To get Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit Black Gold one, a player had to earn their number and the numbers were given out on a "first earned, first served" basis. A player earns their number by working hard and hustling in practice. To Coach Breschi what kind of player you are hyped to be isn't important. What mattered to him is what kind of effort a player put into practice everyday. Thus, a freshman has the same chance to prove himself as a senior, and won't get overshadowed because he is the new guy. The new system promotes and rewards hard work.
So the practices are harder, but these more intense practices have in the eyes of many players pushed them to new thresholds. While talking with junior Sean Jackson two weeks ago, he summed up just how far they were: "We are as good at this point of the year, as we were at the end of last year." When you assume that most teams are at their best at the end of the year, and typically have to rebuild after the summer break, that is an insider vote of confidence in where the program is going.
Breschi settles in at UNC
On the field, I have been out to two practices so far and even with my brief look at the program, I have seen many changes since the previous year. The first time I came to practice, I was a little lost at making the correct IDs of people because many of the players were wearing different numbers from last year. Chris Hunt was wearing 5 instead of 37; Cryder DiPietro wore 22 instead of 48. Even more confusing was that not all the players had numbers. Somewhere I missed a memo I thought.
Remember that I wrote that one of Coach Breschi's accomplishments so far is rekindling the family atmosphere of UNC lacrosse? He is not only doing that with the alumni: He starts it early by doing it with the current players. Whenever the team huddles and breaks, they now shout Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit Orange
If you looked at a calendar, it would tell you that Joe Breschi has been the new coach in Chapel Hill for a scant four months. If you looked to the calendar as a yardstick when you guessed on just how much one man could change a program, the calendar would lead you very much in a different direction. In a short time at UNC, the culture and philosophy have shifted in what many say are positive directions. Since the coaching change was one of the biggest stories in NCAA lacrosse last summer, I Nike Vapormax Gold
"Family!" when breaking. Players have told me there is a much tighter family atmosphere among them.
portraits grace the team room as former All American, team MVPs, National Players of the Year: Jude Collins, Dennis Goldstein, Graham Harden, Ryan Wade, Zach aka Jason Wade, Stephen McElduff, Barney Aburn, Larry Myers, Gary Burns, Randy Cox, Todd Maher, Greg Paradine, Joe Breschi and Chip Mayer, were all there as well as the members of the Class of 2008. Senior Bobby McAuley relayed to me that he thought there were as many alumni at this year's event as there were his first three years at UNC combined.
Beyond a culture change, the practices have also become more intense. Under the direction of Breschi and assistant coaches Pat Myers and Greg Paradine, the intensity of the practices have shown a marked increase. Coming from Bucknell, chief assistant coach Myers has brought a sense of energy that has been infectious to the players. They have all told me that he works them hard, but in the end, he is turning them into better players. If anyone wants to learn how to be a successful coach, I think you could learn a lot from coach Myers. Watching him, I can see that he is methodical in his preparation for practice and posses an amazing understanding of the game.
Sophomore Emmit Kellar said that he liked the new system because it created a sense of competition among the players. Ben Hunt also pointed out to me that the helmets were now bare, stripped of all stickers. The reason is that the freshmen did not have helmets with the interlocking "NC" logo since new helmets are being ordered for this season. Not wanting the freshmen to not have something that the upperclassmen did, he asked the upperclassmen to remove their stickers so that there would be parity in what everyone had. Once the season starts and the new helmets come in, the players will be able to add the stickers back to the new helmets.
wanted to give the readers of Inside Lacrosse an exclusive look at the program and what is happening. My hope was to post this before fallball, but that obviously didn't work out!
On that note, I have talked to many at UNC about the new direction, and where the program is heading. All have a renewed since of optimism about the program. No one is saying a NCAA trophy is a sure thing this year. But, to many, the thought of UNC bringing another NCAA trophy to Chapel Hill in a few years just became a real possibility.
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