By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/5/10
Upper Merion’s Brady McCormick has been named the Phillylacrosse.com Boys’ Team Coach of the Year for 2010.
McCormick, in his third season as head coach, guided the Vikings to a co-championship in
the Suburban One American Conference. The team, in only its third year of varsity play and sixth overall, went 14-4 and reached the District 1 playoffs.
McCormick has helped build the program from the ground up. He became an assistant under the program’s first coach, Joe Shannon, when the club team was launched in 2005 and then served as an assistant to Roman Kupecki in 2006 and 2007 as the program geared for the move to varsity status.
McCormick took over at that point as head coach, while Kupecki stayed on as his assistant. The two have formed a perfect team.
For McCormick, working with new players that have little lacrosse experience was a welcomed challenge. He did not have the chance to play at the high school level at Mifflinburg High (Pa.), which only got a boys’ team in recent years. But when McCormick went to Kutztown University in 1997, he began playing lacrosse at the club level and immediately fell in love with the sport.
“Back in 2005 I saw the team practicing and started chatting with Joe,” said McCormick, who later learned he worked with Shannon at Lockheed Martin. “It was the perfect situation because so many kids were in the same boat I was in – I had no background in lacrosse when I started playing it.
“I just wanted to learn the game when I got to Kutztown. I saw the same thing with these kids when I started working with them.”
McCormick said the Viking players took to the sport and immediately showed potential.
“When we started (varsity) in 2008, I threw down the gauntlet and said, ‘You have the drive and the talent; you could be raising a banner next year,’” he said.
Upper Merion indeed became a contender in the Suburban One American in 2009, finishing second to perennial power Upper Dublin at 11-3.
This year the Vikings appeared destined to finish second to Wissahickon, but they rallied for a dramatic 10-9 victory over the Trojans in the second-to-last game of the regular season. The game, played in a driving rainstorm, saw the Vikes come back from a four-goal deficit in the final period and win it with 16 seconds left.
“Maybe we were a little too young last year (to win the title),” said McCormick, “but the boys had a taste of winning and this year’s senior class and the rest of the varsity guys absolutely dedicated themselves.”
McCormick wished to thank his wife and children for their support, as well as Shannon and Kupecki, who is his right-hand man. He calls both coaches his mentors.
“Brady has this love of kids,” said Kupecki. “And he knows the game. He is a student of the game and is constantly learning and developing as a coach in order to teach and help the team.
“He wants then to have the opportunity to take another step in their development and to play at the college level.”
Nate Hare, this year’s top scorer for Upper Merion, became the program’s first Division I recruit when he signed with Robert Morris last season. He said that McCormick inspires his players.
“Right off the bat you can tell it (coaching) is something he really loves to do,” said Hare. “He is so passionate about it. And it’s all about the players and making them better.
“If someone (is struggling), he doesn’t come down on them. He takes them and works with them after practice.
“I know with me, personally, right around my sophomore year I wanted to figure a way to get better. He made me the player I am today. He really instills a work ethic and makes everyone want to win. He is a great all-around coach.”
Hare said McCormick’s confidence in the players rubbed off.
“After my sophomore year when we lost some close games, he kept telling us we were right there,” Hare said. “Then last year when we finished so close to first we really thought that this was the year. He said, ‘If you guys work hard, everything will fall into place’ and that it would depend on what we wanted to happen.”
Co-Player of the Year Austin Kaut (Springfield-Delco)
Co-Player of the Year Jordan Wolf (Lower Merion)
Tuesday: Midfielders, face-off specialists
Friday: Game of the Year, Honorable Mention
Tags: Upper Merion