By Chris Goldberg & Matthew De George
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/9/10
The passing of Bellarmine University men’s lacrosse coach Jack McGetrick Saturday morning left the thousands of players, coaches and followers at today’s 4th annual Nick Colleluori Classic mourning.
HEADstrong President Cheryl Colleluori announced to the large crowd in her mid-day presentation at Ridley that early in the morning McGetrick’s had lost his nearly two-year battle with prostate cancer.
The Nick Colleluori Classic was created to help raise funds and awareness for the fight against blood cancer. The foundation’s creator, Nick Colleluori, was a former Ridley great who passed away following a valiant fight against Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma four years ago while a student-athlete at Hofstra University.
But on the first day of a two-day event that is expected to draw 10,000 in the fight against blood cancer, another cancer had claimed another leader in the lacrosse world.
McGetrick, 60, was Bellarmine’s coach since 2004. He coached at the Nick Colleluori classic two years ago and his fight inspired many fundraising efforts and a major outpouring of support in the lacrosse community well beyond his Louisville, Ky., home.
Several coaches spoke about the loss of McGetrick today.
St. Joseph’s coach Pat Cullinan was shaken by the news of McGetrick’s passing.
“I knew him when he was at Hartford and I was (coach) at West Chester University,” said Cullinan. “We scrimmaged each other on a yearly basis, so I go a long ways back with Jack. For me, at least, he’s kind of the godfather or dean of the zone defense, particularly at Hartford when he developed that 3-3 zone defense.
“I know he put up a heck of a battle. I hadn’t seen him since early summer. I’d gotten a couple updates, but I’m shocked to hear. If there was one person who was going to fight this and battle it, it was going to be Jack. This is the first I’ve heard to it so I’m kind of at a loss for words.”
Hofstra coach Seth Tierney got to know McGetrick through his uncle, Bill Tierney, the coach at Denver and former long-time coach at Princeton.
“I considered Coach McGetrick an uncle,” said Tierney. “I hold him (Bill Tierney) in such high regard that if he said Jack McGetrick was an unbelievable man, then I knew he was.
“So, he turned into an ‘Uncle Jack’ to me and we talked a lot a lot. Then, all of a sudden I get a text … today, the world lost a great one. He was just an unbelievable man.”
Mount St. Mary’s coach Tom Gravante, a survivor of the same disease that inflicted Colleluori, was stunned by the news. He had kept up with McGetrick’s condition and knew it had worsened, but had been hopeful.
“The lacrosse community is going to be truly shaken by the loss of Jack McGetrick,” said Gravante. “That’s truly sad that we lost a good one.”
Last year McGetrick guided Bellarmine to a 9-6 record, including a 14-13 overtime victory over Ohio State in his final game.
McGetrick coached at Hartford for 11 seasons (he was named the 1997 USILA National Coach of the Year) before becoming the first head coach at Bellarmine. When Bellarmine played Hartford last year, half of the game’s proceeds – $2,362 – were donated to the “Everybody Works for Jack” foundation, created to help McGetrick pay for his medical expenses.
The Intercollegiate Men’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IMLCA) also had established an emergency fund to help McGetrick. Many college coaches coordinated clinics in January to raise money – one was held by Penn.
McGetrick compiled a career college coaching record of 132-115.
McGetrick is survived by his wife, Lysa, and four children, Trista, Devon, Eamon and Connor.