On this week’s episode of New England Lacrosse Journal’s “Chasing The Goal” podcast, hosts Kyle Devitte and Jack Piatelli were joined by Pace University head coach Tom Mariano.
Mariano is entering his 10th season at Pace. He previously coached at Sacred Heart, where his tenure lasted 17 years and encompassed the team’s transition from Division 2 to D-1.
He also has an extensive coaching history with Major League Lacrosse, where he worked with the Ohio Machine, Chesapeake Bayhawks and Florida Launch.
Last year Pace went 11-4 with key victories over Bentley, St. Michael’s and Southern New Hampshire in the regular season. The Setters bowed out in the first round of the NE-10 tournament, 7-3, to Bentley, but they return a strong core and will look to finish in the top three of the NE-10 in 2023.
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.
Kyle Devitte: What is your philosophy on where you get your kids and how you get your kids into Pace?
Tom Mariano: I think, right off the bat, Division 2 has expanded and moved, and we’ve had some teams go Division 1. Yet, even two days ago, I found out that Emery and Henry, which is a really good ODAC school in Division 3, has moved to Division 2 and is now adding men’s (lacrosse).
They did it really quiet — like no one knew. And then, the conference coaches down there are like, “Oh, Emery and Henry is on our schedule in two years; I guess they’re adding lacrosse.” There is also Thomas More, Bridgeport … we’ve added lots of teams. Our numbers are good. The quality of lacrosse is excellent.
Jack Piatelli: Do you find that when the players come into your program, they don’t understand the little things? The groundballs, the end-line possessions, playing solid defense playing for your teammate? Watching a lot of college lacrosse over the years, it really comes down to that.
TM: I think most kids come in and have no clue of what they’re doing. They have no clue. And that’s all levels. I mean, Kyle will tell you we got it at the pro level. I would coach guys who were a three-time first-team All American. And I’m like, “You don’t know how to triangle off-ball.”
But then in that kid’s defense, he’s never played off-ball in his life. He was always covering the best attackmen, but yet we’re asking him to be a creep guy and a slide guy. And he’s looking at me like, “Coach, you’re an idiot. I’m the No. 1 defensemen in Division 1 (or whatever it is), I don’t play off-ball.”
Well, if you can’t play off ball, you can’t play for us and you move on. I look at your son (John) playing at Cornell. You look at Cornell and Maryland, the two teams in the NCAA championship last year. They did those little things better than everybody else.