By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/13/16
Andy Hayes has announced he will step down as head boys’ lacrosse coach at Episcopal Academy effective the end of the season.
Hayes has compiled a 132-106 record in his 12 seasons and informed his players on Friday following a game vs. St. Anthony’s (N.Y.)
“Episcopal Academy is a great school and this is a great job,” said Hayes, who also was an assistant for two years. “It’s been awesome to spend a quarter of my life coaching here.
“For 12 years I have been the steward of a program steeped in tradition, expectation, and national recognition. My predecessor, John Wynne still unfairly sits outside of the PA Lacrosse Hall of Fame but I never once took for granted what he had built. His success motivated me every season to meet his standard for excellence in the Episcopal Academy lacrosse program.”
The Churchmen, fighting injuries all year, won their first game Tuesday, 10-2 over Penn Charter, after dropping their first six, four by one goal and two in overtime. EA has always played a national schedule and Hayes said it has prepared the team well for the rigors of the Inter-Ac League. The reason he chose to announce his decision now is to help the school get a jump on choosing a new coach.
“The reason for the timing was to allow the school to make preparations to hire an exceptional coach for the next year,” said Hayes.
Hayes taught Honors Biology and Biology for 10 years at Episcopal Academy, but stepped down three years ago to concentrate fully on his job as CEO of NXT Sports.
Hayes said the program’s finest moment occurred in 2012 when EA shocked Haverford School to win the Inter-Ac Invitational and cap his best season (19-5). He took pride in knowing his team has competed regularly with league titans Haverford School and Malvern Prep with much smaller enrollments.
“Coaching the boys lacrosse team always presented the toughest of challenges as we played a national schedule every year in the hope of best preparing for the daunting Inter-Ac League,” he said. “Senior classes over the years adopted various slogans to guide them through their seasons but one became the battle cry for our most successful team.
“‘No excuses’ was the mantra of our 2012 Championship team which upended Haverford 15-11 in our final game. Those boys epitomized what it means to play lacrosse at Episcopal. They outworked, out-thought, and outplayed everyone that May and beat bigger, stronger, faster, and more talented teams on the road to raising the trophy. That phrase has stayed with the program to this day publicly, but really was the cornerstone for our success over the past 10 years.”
Hayes has coached 16 All-Americans and 49 all-league players. One senior, face-off specialist Christian Feliziani, has been named to the USA U-19 team that will play this summer in the FIL Championships in Coquitlam, B.C. In each of the last four years, EA has advanced to the Inter-Ac Invitational/Challenge semifinals.
EA athletic director Regina Buggy gave this statement:
“Andy Hayes will be stepping down as The Episcopal Academy’s head boys’ lacrosse coach at the end of this season. While we are saddened by his decision, we are beyond grateful for Andy’s commitment to our school and to our students for the past 12 years.
“Andy has helped to build a strong, successful, and nationally recognized lacrosse program here, and he will be sorely missed. We are now forming a search committee and, with Andy’s help, we look forward to finding the best person to follow in his footsteps and continue to steward an excellent lacrosse program here at Episcopal.”
Hayes credited his assistant coaches, most notably Will Gibbs, who has been with him for nine years; as well as John Bodnar, Bryan McDermott, Marty Kupprion, Kevin O’Brien, Khari Baten and more.
“All of these coaches have contributed to our success here at Episcopal and I appreciate all that they did for the program and the boys,” said Hayes, who also thanked head of school TJ Locke, Buggy and associate director of athletics Jim Farrell.
“Finally, I would like to thank all of my former and current players. It is not easy being an Episcopal Academy lacrosse player. The standard of excellence that we strive for would not be possible if these boys had not continued to represent the school and the program in an exemplary manner with their effort and their play. Our schedules routinely were amongst the toughest in the country and presented our teams with opportunities to play against the best lacrosse players in the country.
“I never made it easy for these boys and they always met the challenge.”
Tags: Episcopal Academy