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Off season is marked by large turnover of Philly boys’ lacrosse coaches

Sunday, 31st October 2010

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School  

By Chris Goldberg, Posted 10/31/10

Six Philly boys’ lacrosse teams are searching for new head coaches in a fall where no less than 13 head coaches have left their jobs for various reasons.

Many of the coaches that left had been coaching at their schools for at least five years and enjoyed much success. The coaches have given different reasons for leaving.

Two (Malvern Prep’s Dan Keating and Sun Valley’s Kyle Garzia) left to coach at the college level, one (Downingtown East’s Tom Slate) at the professional level.

One (Springfield-Delco’s Mike Friel) left to take a job as an athletic director. One (North Penn’s Jeff Greiner) left to take a teaching position in Utah. One (Lansdale Catholic’s Brian Kilpatrick) left to take the job at first-year school Pope John Paul II.

There are still openings at several other perennially successful programs such as Lower Merion and Archbishop Wood. Sun Valley, North Penn and Phoenixville have openings and Marple Newtown has not announced that it has filled its position.

Keating, Slate, Friel all left jobs at big-name lacrosse schools. Keating spent one year at Malvern Prep where he tied with Haverford School as the Inter-Ac League champion. He is now a volunteer assistant at Lehigh.

Slate was the first coach at Downingtown East after Downingtown high split into two schools in 2003. By 2007, Slate took the Cougars to the state title; he won six straight Ches-Mont League crowns until leaving to be an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Wings, a team he used to play for.

Friel, who led Springfield-Delco to the Central League crown and the District 1 finals in 2010, took the AD job at Radnor. He coached at Springfield for eight seasons.

Keating, Slate and Friel were replaced. Dave Metzbower, a 20-year assistant at Princeton University who spent 2010 as an assistant at rival Haverford School, is now the head coach at Malvern Prep. Springfield-Delco tabbed longtime assistant Tom Lemieux and Downingtown East picked assistant Todd Cliggett.

Hatboro-Horsham’s Dave Sowers (nine years) resigned for personal reasons after leading his Hatters to a share of the Suburban One Continental Conference title and a spot in the state playoffs. He was replaced by former Central Bucks West assistant and current LB3 club coach John Banks.

Chet Laubach (six seasons) left the job at Lower Merion after taking the Aces to the state playoffs the past two years. Don Mangin resigned at Archbishop Wood after 12 seasons.

At Upper Darby, Walt Udovich left his post after six years and was replaced by former Harriton coach Jeff Poake. After Kilpatrick took the job at Pope John Paul II, Tim Udinski – a longtime coach in the successful youth program at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – took the job at Lansdale Catholic.

Kyla Garzia recently left Sun Valley after six years to take an assistant job at local Division III power Cabrini College.

Greiner was head coach at North Penn for three years before taking the teaching job in Utah. Phoenixville’s Jim O’Brien had been coach for nine years until leaving.


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