By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/15/12
Joe Proud, who has spent 15 years coaching college lacrosse at many levels around the country, has been named head boys’ lacrosse coach at Harriton.
Proud formerly was head coach at Division III Vassar (N.Y.) for five years and served as an assistant at Division I Cornell and Vermont as well as D3 Plattsburgh State (N.Y.). He also started the USLIA program at Cal-Berkeley and has been coaching at camps and clinics for years.
A graduate of the lacrosse factory at West Genesee High (N.Y.) under legendary coach Mike Messere, Proud was a captain and All-American at Duke where he helped lead the Blue Devils to their first national quarterfinals berth in 1993.
Proud recently moved to Philadelphia where he has launched The Creator’s Game, a business in which he collaborates with local club teams in coaching and development.
Proud replaces Richard Owens, who guided the Rams to their best record (8-10) in years.
“I was looking for a place to be excited about; I loved the city and lacrosse is booming here,” said Proud on why he came to Philly. “I was blown away by the level of lacrosse at the publics and privates and the level of coaching at the high school and club programs.
“When I was looking at (high school) positions, I saw Harriton needed building. The program has a lot of potential. It seemed like a place where I could plant some seeds. I love building programs.”
Proud indeed spent much of his time at the college level building either new programs or improving struggling teams.
While at coach at Vassar, a strong liberal arts college in Poughkeepsie, he led the squad to its best record (six wins ever). He also was an assistant at Plattsburgh when it was turned into a winner and transformed Cal-Berkeley from a doormat into a league power.
“Some of my best experiences were at Berkeley and Plattsburgh,” he said. “That’s what drew me to Duke; they were in the building process at the time. What I like best is running a first-class program.
“I love player development and team building. I want to work with all kids that come out and I want to help kids find the avenue that’s good for them.”
Proud has spent several weekends working informally with Harriton players and already has seen much growth. He also hired his first assistant, Mike Rufo, a Haverford School grad who served as captain and earned Second Team All-Conference at Scranton last year.
“The kids are acting classy and buying in,” he said of the Harriton players. “They have shown a full attitude and so far everyone is on the same page.
“I feel the wins and losses will take care of themselves when you do things the right way on and off the field. My focus is on teaching the right way and putting your teammates ahead of yourself.”
What is Proud’s coaching style?
“I’d love to be able to play up tempo; you want to play what’s fun,” he said. “But you have to play to your personnel and you have to build skills. Right now we are concerned about teaching fundamentals and the thought process of game how to make good decisions
“In general, I am very much into the team oriented game. I love a sliding defense and a motion offense.”