Concord-Carlisle (Mass.) High School boys lacrosse head coach Tom Dalicandro has been coaching lacrosse for a long time. This spring, his team won the MIAA Division 2 championship in a thrilling game against Longmeadow, 11-10.
A month removed from the victory, Coach Dalicandro joined Kyle Devitte and Jack Piatelli on “New England Lacrosse Journal’s Chasing the Goal” podcast.
He talked about the battle against Longmeadow, what it’s like to coach his son, and the doubt that sometimes creeps into coaches’ heads.
The full podcast can be found on your favorite podcast platforms and accessed below.
Jack Piatelli: I was at both of your games against Longmeadow, both very good games, but I thought the championship game was exceptional. It was well-coached and well played — and it came down to the end, didn’t it?
Tom Dalicandro: That game was awesome. Our m.o. going into that championship game was that we had the lead on everybody. We played ahead for most of our games. So, we win the first faceoff of the game and we get stuffed by their goalie, they come down, the ball hits the ground, one of their players picks it up and scores, and all of a sudden we’re down one nothing. And, I’m in panic mode already, because I was thinking, “Our MO is that we play ahead.” But I thought we played a great second quarter. Conor (Trant) won an amazing amount of faceoffs, we found my son Matty in front of the net a couple of times, and all of a sudden we had built a lead as we had done before. But, give Longmeadow a ton of credit. They never gave up. They played so hard the whole time. If it went too much longer, I don’t know what would have happened.
Kyle Devitte: A lot of fathers get into coaching, specifically lacrosse, when they coach their kids. You coach your son at Concord-Carlisle. Have you coached him for a long time? What has that experience been like?
TD: So, when (Matt) first started playing youth lacrosse in second grade, I really stepped back. I didn’t want to step on the other dads’ and coaches’ toes. If they wanted me to help, I helped. But I really stepped back. My dad coached me all the time and I loved it, but I didn’t want to be all over (Matt). Until fifth grade. Because then I got really worried. I have to help these kids. In fifth grade, I started going to practices all the time and coaching that team. It was fun, but with my son, he never gets a break from it. When he was younger he liked lacrosse, but he didn’t put a lot of time into it. So we didn’t get into club lacrosse. I was like, “If you really want to be good, you’ve got to train on your own. And then, if you want to play club, we can talk about it.” I wasn’t going to force it.
JP: Back when you thought you were going to get fired, what change did you make? Did you do anything differently?
TD: I want to say that I stayed the course. The kids got to know me better. The football guys that played lacrosse knew me because I had been heavily (involved) in the football program. I had been an assistant lacrosse coach, but it was different. I think, to be honest, we didn’t have a great group of players in those two (down) years. It was the end of a group that wasn’t that competitive or committed, and then we had a great group of seniors. I remember three kids specifically — a middie, an attackman and a defenseman. They were the leaders of the team and they didn’t want to lose.