By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/14/08
Jim Harvey said he is leaving Garnet Valley with great pride in the program’s recent championships, but even more rewarded with the growth of boys’ lacrosse in the community.
“The last 12 years have absolutely been a great time of my life,” said Harvey, who three weeks ago was told by school officials he was not returning as head coach. “It’s a great community, we had great parental support and the kids would run through a wall for you.
“They worked hard, and there was an understanding between the kids and myself. They knew what I expected from them, and I knew what they expected from me.”
Harvey, who built the program from scratch, posted a 12-year record of 146-82. He won the last four Del-Val League championships (the league has disbanded due to the expansion of the Central League) and recorded a 32-0 league record in that time.
Garnet Valley also won a pigtail game in each of the past four years in the Eastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association playoffs. In 2008, the Jaguars went 16-7 and finished 13th in the final Phillylacrosse.com boys’ poll.
Harvey coached two All-Americans – current Cabrini College standout Paul Skulski (2007) and Jeff Wittman (2005), who attends Cornell.
“We started off back in 1997 and 33 kids came out,” said Harvey. “We had four seniors and we played a couple of varsity games.
“Just to see the leaps and bounds we’ve made over the past couple of years has been very satisfying. It’s been good to see the program go where it has gone.”
Harvey said the Garnet Valley players will benefit by playing in the Central League beginning in 2009.
“I think, no matter what, the kids benefit, whether they win or lose in the Central League,” he said. “They have some really good kids and they’ll get some honors no matter what, and get to play the best competition.”
Harvey, who graduated from Upper Darby in 1989 and played college lacrosse at Fairleigh Dickinson and Widener, said he always asked for dedication – and normally got exactly that.
“I always told them if you’re willing to give me hard work and give the time, the program would be successful, and the players would be successful,” he said.
“Back in the day, there really wasn’t an opportunity for these kids to participate in off-season lacrosse. But in the last six or seven years, there is more fall ball, more summer tournaments and more opportunities for kids to be involved in off-season workouts.
“For us, it was a platform to get better each and every year.”
Tags: Garnet Valley