On the latest episode of “New England Lacrosse Journal’s Chasing The Goal” podcast with Jack Piatelli and myself, Kyle Harrison joined us to talk about a variety of topics including his career, his legacy and … doughnuts?
Harrison is one of the game’s best overall players who has a special place in the history of modern college and professional lacrosse. He played his last game as a pro earlier this August and leaves behind an indelible legacy of enduring greatness.
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This week, there is a new sponsor, Streaker Sports. Streaker Sports has a unique selection of vintage collegiate lacrosse tees and shorts with new styles being added every month. For a limited time, and only for “Chasing the Goal” listeners, use the code “CTG20” at checkout to get 20 percent sitewide at StreakerSports.com.
Kyle Devitte: You’re one of the only guys I can think of in this era, or past eras, that truly did everything on the field in terms of offense, defense, face-off, dodging, quarterbacking an offense, making plays in transition — what was the genesis of your mastery of those skills and how does it relate to being coached by Seth Tierney and Dave Pietramala at Johns Hopkins?
Kyle Harrison: I think all of the offense came naturally. The defense came from basketball and my mentality of “one-on-one, you and I — you’re not beating me.” That came naturally. Fighting for groundballs, scrapping in between the lines, that was — in my mind — just connected to my athleticism.
I’m so fortunate that I played for coaches that saw more because I very easily could have become a D-middie. They could have just said, “You know what? We want you on the wings and face-offs.” Talking to Coach Petro and Coach Tierney, years later they told me that at the Top 205 (camp) there were contingents of coaches that were like, “We want him, but he’s a D-middie for us.” So who knows what would have happened if that went down.
So, for me, I lucked out. Coach Petro was very clear: “You are an offensive midfielder for us, without a doubt … but you are staying on the field. We turn the ball over, you play defense. Play in between the lines and makes plays for us, but you’re an O-middie.”
Jack Piatelli: Kyle, you’ve played at a very high level for over two decades. You’ve played against some of the best in the world. Are there one or two players that you played against that you enjoyed watching play when you went up against them, and did you learn anything from playing against the Gary Gaits of the world?
KH: I got to play with and against some of the best of all time. I think there are a couple of different parts to that question. For me, the best guy I have ever seen remains Mike Powell. I’ve never seen anything like him. From his athletic ability, his stickwork, his game IQ — I think Mike got so much credit for how athletic he was, but that man’s IQ was different. Because he was as skilled as he was it allowed him to do things differently.
We didn’t get to see the best of Mike Powell — which is even crazier — (and) that’s a whole other podcast. We didn’t see the 28-year-old in his prime only focused on lacrosse Mike Powell. In terms of the Mount Rushmore, the Gary Gaits the John Grant Jrs. of the world, to be honest with you, I loved watching them but I didn’t learn anything (from them) because I’m not skilled enough.
KD: You do these camps, you’ve done a lot of developmental work, and you have your Team Eighteen organization. Have you ever thought about getting into coaching at the college or pro level?
KH: Yeah. No. It’s for a very simple reason. I love those guys (that coach) and I’ve had incredible coaches in my life. They have really changed my life, honestly. Developmentally at Friends (School), they were so important to me. Knowing that no matter what you can’t do things alone. My love for team culture developed there. (At) Hopkins with Coach (Bill) Dwan, Coach Petro and Coach T — those guys changed my life. So, I know how important coaches are.
That said, at that level, I also watch how much it dominates their life. And for a guy that’s been gone for 17 years, I can’t leave my wife and kids any more than I already have. To coach that way I’d want to coach, I’d have to do that — that’s just how it goes and I’m not willing to do that.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts and guests, and do not necessarily reflect the position of Seamans Media.