By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/21/15
When Mike Sharman took over as coach at Central Bucks South four years ago his first goal was to instill a winning culture – not an easy task for a team that had won five games the two previous years.
“I think it (the two seasons) crushed their confidence a little,” said Sharman, who recently announced he was leaving his post due to his full-time job’s time restrictions. “They went into games expecting to lose. We had to change their mindset.
“They had to believe in themselves and believe in the coaches. We spent 10 months a year, with fall ball and winter ball and it started with summer ball. We had a core group that started and we saw the commitment and they believed in themselves. They gained confidence in themselves and confidence in the coaches.”
That confidence led to one of the more impressive turnarounds in the region. The Titans won eight games in Sharmn’s first year (2012), 14 in 2013 and 10 in 2014 before winning 14 and sharing the Suburban One Continental Conference championship this year with rival Central Bucks East.
The defining moment in the season occurred on April 8 when the Titans stunned CB East, 15-6. CB South then won six more games to remain perfect (11-0) 11-0 before falling to Lower Merion in the Katie Samson Festival.
The Titans fell to CB East, 16-6, in the rematch, but they secured a home berth in the District 1 playoffs and won their first district game, 14-7, over Perkiomen Valley before holding their own in a 10-7 loss to Pioneer Athletic Conference champion Spring-Ford.
Sharman was familiar with many CB South players when he took over. He had been an assistant at CB East for three years and also coached club lacrosse for Bucks Select and Twist. Earlier he helped start the Central Bucks AA youth league.
His players responded by dedicating themselves, he said.
“I think they learned the system and every year we tried to step it up and make it a little more complicated,” said Sharman. “This year’s senior class was a really good group of kids. They were so positive and they bacame confident.
“They got along really well. There was no drama. We even had six brand new kids that had never played and they accepted them and as ambassadors to the team they brought them in and all the new players had confidence.
“It was just a great season.”
Sharman said he gave a pep talk before the first CB East game that the players took to heart.
“I said to them in the huddle, ‘Don’t be afraid to win, Don’t get intimidated,'” he said. “CB East is a great team, but we went out and played a perfect game.
“As soon as we beat CB East we weren’t playing under the radar anymore. People had film on us, but people knew who we were. It was great to not be anybody’s senior night foe any more.
“That was a great accomplishment. Also, we got to host a playoff game and win on our home field. It was great for our kids in Central Bucks to see this success. It can only help get more kids into the sport and help raise the var for all the teams in the district.”