By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/21/11
Brian Zusi welcomes the chance to build a program from the ground up.
That’s why the New Jersey native was thrilled to be hired a year ago as the first head coach for the Rosemont men’s program, which begins play this fall and will compete in the Colonial States Athletic Conference in 2012.
Zusi played high school lacrosse at Seton Hall Prep and then club lacrosse at Hofstra. He coached high school last for eight years in New Jersey, including three years as head coach at Millburn High from 2008-10.
“I wanted to coach college lacrosse,” Zusi said. “That was a goal of mine. Not having a Division I playing pedigree, I felt it was kind of a challenge to overcome.
“So, I saw getting this job as an opportunity to help start a program and get my coaching career off the ground.”
Zusi’s biggest task, of course, is bringing in enough players to field a full team next year. Two students currently enrolled at Rosemont have committed to play and he is recruiting heavily in Philadelphia and New Jersey as well as in other non-traditional lacrosse areas throughout the country.
“We’re building a tradition from scratch,” he said. “It’s a unique opportunity for me and the players we’re bringing in. You don’t get to see that too often. Usually, the program is established.
“But we have to start somewhere and the kids can help create that and make it last for many years. Kids do want to go to college in Philly and that certainly helps in selling the school. There is plenty to do.”
Zusi enjoys recruiting in Philadelphia, but also is looking for players everywhere.
“Certainly this is a good area for (high school) lacrosse,” he said. “There are a number of high-level programs in Philadelphia.
“I will be bringing some guys down from New Jersey and also from non-traditional areas like California and places not considered traditional lacrosse hotbeds. That’s good not only for the program, but the school.”
What are Zusi’s expectations next year when the team begins play in a league that features national power Cabrini College and a strong third-year program in Gwynedd Mercy College?
“We want to build a good base,” he said. “We’re not expecting to hoist the trophy at the end of the first year. This is an opportunity for kids to come and play and build the feeling as part of a team.
“We’ll have to get kids together that are coming from many different programs. Hopefully, by the end of the fall next year, they’ll know the nomenclature and the basic system.
“I think the Division III program has a lot to offer. The kids develop at our level with a great opportunity to play and they get a great education.”