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Avon Grove tabs longtime assistant and alum Wallace as head coach

Monday, 4th November 2019

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School  

By Chris Goldberg, Posted 11/4/19

Brian Wallace was the natural choice to become head boys’ lacrosse coach at Avon Grove.

After all, Wallace was a freshman on the first varsity team at Avon Grove in 2002 and eventually came home to teach at Avon Grove Middle School and serve as an assistant to Eric Jackson the past 8 years.

So when Jackson – the only coach in school history (19 years) – stepped down this fall, Wallace was thrilled to get the nod as the replacement for a coach who guided the Devils to the 2017 PIAA Class AAA championship and was a two-time Coach of the Year.

New Coach Brian Wallace (second from left) is flanked by (from left) seniors James Chastain (defense, Air Force commit), Jackson Muller (midfield), Mike Russo (Attack, York)

“I think my goal is obviously to carry on the traditions of Coach Jackson over his 19 years as coach,” said Wallace. “He made the program what it is and I hope to bring in some more ideas.”

Wallace played Division III lacrosse at St. Mary’s College (MD) and also coached there for a year, and also one year at Neumann before coming to Avon Grove. He also has coached for five different clubs in the region. He says he discusses coaching with his brother, Kevin, also an Avon Grove alum, and the head coach at Eastern University.

“Having been a college coach, I have some realistic training methods,” Brian Wallace said. “I try to learn from as many avenues as I can. I want to keep Avon Grove as one of the elite programs in PA.”

What is Wallace’s coaching philosophy?

“I think, No. 1, I want to promote a family atmosphere and involve the community,” he said. “That helps people come together and achieve goals. We always have had a kind of a chip on our shoulder because we’re in the middle of nowhere and the kids buy into that.

“I’m definitely a players’ coach. My philosophy is making sure the students know their first priority is the well being of the team. I will be fighting every day to make everyone better no matter the outcome. I want to make to make them better people; winning usually comes right behind that.”

Under Jackson, the Devils have become a perennial state contender. Jackson won 235 games, four Ches-Mont League titles and two District 1 titles in his career.

“We have the support of the community and we have been able to win,” Wallace said. “That’s what drives us and motivates us. We set goals and we have been able to achieve them.

“I think everyone’s goal is to get to the state payoffs. But No. 1, we need to be doing everything we need to to be competitive. The first goal is to win the Ches-Mont, get to the district playoffs and and get to states. That seems to be the norm and it’s always a goal, but it’s never easy. We want to start small, dream big and work to get better every day.”



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