By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/8/14
Brian Samson, who built a powerhouse program at Conestoga that won three straight state championships and hit the No. 1 spot in the national rankings has resigned to take a position as an assistant coach at Villanova.
Samson guided the Pioneers to Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association titles in 2010-12 and championship berths in 2008 and 2013. From 2009-12, his teams won four straight District 1 championships, went 96-8 and finished no worse than 12th in the LaxPower National Coaches Rankings each year.
Overall, Samson won six Central League titles – all between 2006-13 – and compiled a 210-72 record in his 13 seasons at the helm. Samson was named the EPSLA Coach of the Year in 2009 and the Daily Local News Coach of the year twice. Samson also served as a head coach and assistant coach for the Philly team at the Under Armour Underclassmen Games for several years and also has served as an evaluator for the US U-19 team.
“I just feel very privileged to have coached there and work with such great people and great kids,” said Samson, who will remain a guidance counselor at Conestoga High. “We have such a large network of supporters that make up the Conestoga lacrsse community; awesome coaches, and great kids and parents.
“The relationships I have made with all these people has been so important. I feel like I have grown up in that job, and it was a labor of love. I will miss it.”
Samson – a Radnor High graduate – graduated from Georgetown in 2000 after starting as a defemseman for three years and took over the Conestoga program in 2001-02. From 2006 through 2012, his teams went a remarkable 145-24. After beating Calvert Hall (MD) on the road to open the 2012 season, his team was No. 1 in the nation in every national poll until a tight loss to Garden City (N.Y.) at the Checking for cancer Invitational at Haverford School. The Pioneers sent a large group of seniors to Division I program during that period and yet still managed to reach the state finals again in 2013 where they fell to a La Salle team that featured Matt Rambo and Sean Coleman.
“That was a real special group of kids that came through in those years,” said Samson. “They were a really talented group of individuals who worked extremely hard. I think back to the 2009 year when Brody (Bush) came in as an assistant coach for his first year and I felt like he brought some innovation to the team.
“It was kind of a perfect combination of great coaches, great kids and kids with the right priorities. They worked hard in the classroom and on the field. They were great citizens, too, and sometimes you have that perfect combination with the talent.
“You never know how deep the talent pool is going to be but at Conestoga I never had to worry about that or too many behavior issues because all the kids worked hard. It’s been really cool to hear from people the last couple days as word has gotten out. I have heard from players I coached that are now inviting me to their weddings and are playing in college – some that I will get to coach against.”
Samson said he was excited to get to coach under Michael Corrado, who like himself was a high school educator in the Philly suburbs for many years.
“I think it’s a the program that is on the rise,” said Samson. “They have accomplished a lot, especially in recent years. To me, I am following a great leader. I am happy to get to work with coach Corrado.
“He was an educator with 16 years at Upper Darby and has a real natural leadership style that I mesh well with. His staff is (great) and when I met the student athletes, I was impressed with their approach and their pride in the program. I am coming into a good situation; they love to play for coach Corrado and I want to be a part of that.”