On this week’s episode of New England Lacrosse Journal’s “Chasing The Goal” podcast, hosts Kyle Devitte and Jack Piatelli were joined by Longmeadow (Mass.) High School head coach Keith Campbell.
Campbell has been a mainstay on the western Massachusetts lacrosse scene long before he took over a strong Longmeadow program. He himself played his high school lacrosse at Longmeadow and then his college lacrosse up the road at UMass.
Campbell led the Lancers to the MIAA Division 2 title this past June. It was a thrilling double-overtime victory over Billerica that was representative of a team that wanted to avenge its championship loss in 2021.
On the podcast, Campbell discusses his cultural philosophy, this year’s championship journey and his roots in the Longmeadow community.
The full podcast can be accessed below and is available on all major platforms. If you enjoy it please leave a rating and a review.
Jack Piatelli: Do you think having played in the championship game last year, and coming so close, the players learned something from that experience and got them over the top this year?
Keith Campbell: There’s absolutely no doubt that the experiences these seniors had in their sophomore year during the COVID season made them more committed to lacrosse. And the experience we had in the state championship last year, I believe, is why, even though we were down, our players were going to win that game.
You know, there are a lot of old sayings. I love old sayings. I would say that one of the ones I’ve heard recently is, “Adversity is the mother of success.” The adversity (was) that these guys had missed their whole sophomore year. Really, I think as seniors and being in the state championship as juniors had everything to do … with the success that the team had.
Kyle Devitte: I think for me coming into covering lacrosse at the high school level in Massachusetts, there really is kind of a split. There is the metro area, and then it’s like, “Oh, you’ve got to cover all of this.” And all of this is basically Worcester outward and then western Mass. What I like about western Mass. is that it is a lot like New Hampshire, kind of the same place, right? Like you have towns and you have little communities everywhere. And I think yours is probably one of the largest that has been built in Longmeadow. And because of that, there is the added pressure, as kind of Jack was alluding to, of winning. How has that changed for you in the last few years versus before COVID?
KC: don’t want to discount western Mass. because there are some good teams out there — Westfield and Minnechaug and Pope Francis. Yes, we want to have success. But I feel like if we do the right things, play the right teams, and teach our kids our principles winning will take care of itself. We want to win. But that’s not really what we spend our time focused on.
We spend our time focused on the camaraderie of being on a team. The preparation, effort and repetition are the things that we try very, very passionately as a coaching staff to convey those messages to the players and, most importantly, the parents. Hopefully winning takes care of itself if you do those things.
And I don’t think that’s unique to high school lacrosse. High school lacrosse is not my business. I’ve been in the business world for a very long time. Those principles apply to anything, right? Winning. Yes, we want to do it. But really what we want to do is do the right things in the right ways and represent our community and our legacy at Longmeadow in the appropriate fashion.