By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/29/11
Haverford School’s John Nostrant has been named the Phillylacrosse.com Boys’ Team Coach of the Year for 2011.
Nostrant guided the Fords to a magical 23-0 season and their third straight Inter-Ac League and Inter-Ac Invitational championships. Capped by a brilliant 5-4 come-from-behind win over Malvern Prep in the Inter-Ac Invitational finals, Haverford School was named the national champion by Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse, LaxPower, ESPN RISE and MaxPreps. Lacrosse Magazine also is expected to name the team No. 1.
Haverford School entered the year as the No. 1 team in the country – and for good reason. The Fords had 12 Division I recruits in their senior class and six more in the junior class. There was never a doubt that Haverford School fielded as much talent and depth as perhaps any team in Philly history, but the task of maximizing all that ability was Nostrant’s greatest accomplishment.
“That was clearly one of best teams I’ve seen in recent memory,” said St. Paul’s (Md.) coach Rick Brocato, whose MIAA power was the first victim of Haverford’s undefeated run. “It’s one thing to have that much talent; it’s another thing to have that talent share the ball.”
Nostrant’s resume at Haverford was already impressive before 2011. An inductee into the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame this year, he has won over 300 games and captured 11 Inter-Ac championships in his 20 seasons as Fords coach.
He said this year’s team not only had the ability to succeed, but also the camaraderie and unselfish attitude needed to endure the pressures of tremendous expectations.
“I think the most important thing was that the trust factor,” said Nostrant, who credited assistants Mark Petrone, Paul O’Grady, Travis Loving and Mike Morsell for their contributions. “We had that with the coaching staff and the players. The only way you can be successful is if the guys put their own personal accolades aside for the betterment of the team. That doesn’t happen a lot in this day and age.”
The Fords did show resiliency and the ability to come back from deficit many times through the season – vs. Malvern Prep, and also in an overtime win over St. Joseph’s Prep and against St. Paul’s, McDonogh (Md.) and Lawrenceville School in the Inter-Ac Invitational semifinals.
“The guys truly loved each other and they competed,” said Nostrant. “When things got tough, they got tougher, and I think that goes back to trusting each other and putting the team before the individual.”
One of the seven Haverford School All-Americans, Phillylacrosse.com Co-Player of the Year Conor Kelly, said that Nostrant was the glue that kept the team close.
“Coach Nostrant did a great job keeping us humble, and also hungry,” said Kelly, the team’s star goalie. “He always made us play one game at a time and said we couldn’t overlook anyone.
“He mixed things up and kept it fun in practice. He kept us together as a team.”
Brocato, who played with Nostrant at Washington College in the 1980s, concluded, “This team came at you in waves. They put the team above individual goals. From the beginning they put their sights on having a special year and they knew it would take a collective team effort to get it done.”
Phillylacrosse.com Coach of the Year choices
2011 – Boys’ Team Coach of the Year: John Nostrant. Haverford School
2011 – Girls’ Team Coach of the Year: Kate Henwood, Garnet Valley
2010 – Boys’ Team Coach of the Year: Brady McCormick, Upper Merion
2010 – Girls’ Team Coach of the Year: Phyllis Kilgour, Radnor
Tags: Haverford School