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Q&A with Guilderland Boys Varsity Coach Sean McConaghy

Sean McConaghy  will be starting his 12th season as the Head Varsity Lacrosse Coach at Guilderland High School in the spring of 2016.  He is a 1996 graduate from Columbia High School where he ranks #5 all time in points and # 2 all time in single season points with 90.  He played college lacrosse at The University at Albany where he was a 100 point scorer,  a four year starter,  and three time MVP midfielder.   Sean received his masters in Physical Education from West Virginia University in 2002 and began teaching in Guilderland in 2003.  He has served as the Director of Adirondack Summer League since 2003 and has also coached volleyball and field hockey for Guilderland. He is married to Tara McConaghy (Cortland 01) and has two children Cooper 8 and Bevin 6.

Coach McConaghy recently took the time to answer some questions  for Capital District Lax.

In addition to your role as the Guilderland Varsity Coach, you serve on the Guilderland Youth Lacrosse Board of Directors.  How important are each of these roles to the other?

SM: The youth program and the school program, while separate, tie into one another on a number of fronts.    The youth program feeds the school level teams and exposes kids to the game.   We get to teach the basics skills and concepts that are necessary at the High School level when the kids play Guilderland Youth Lacrosse. Our High School players volunteer to coach at the youth practices during the spring and it is a positive for both,  the youth kids get to see the high school boys and the high schoolers get to teach the next generation of Guilderland lacrosse players.     We also have a great deal of parent involvement at the youth and school levels and because of this we feel like both programs together form the lacrosse family here in Guilderland.

The Guilderland Varsity team will be playing in the Mercer Island, Washington tournament in the spring.  What will this experience mean to your players, and how does the trip fit in with the Section 2/Suburban Council season?

SM: This spring will be our second trip to play teams in Seattle.   It is an excellent opportunity for the boys to see another part of the country and play against some of the best teams in the country. This year we will be playing Bellview and Mercer Island, since 2010 one of those teams has won the Washington State Championship and both programs are sending kids to play at the top levels of college lacrosse.     The families of  Mercer Island players host our boys while we are there and we spend a lot of time seeing the sights, team bonding, and creating memories that will last a lifetime.  The trip will be during our spring break so it will be in the middle of our season this year and we are looking forward to really coming together as a group during this trip.

Will the addition of the former Big Ten high school lacrosse programs to the Suburban Council have any immediate impacts on league play?

SM: The addition of the Big 10 Schools to the Suburban Council will have an immediate impact on league play. This year we now only have two non league games to schedule with non league teams instead of three.   The addition also changed up the division alignments and we will only play each team once throughout the season.  I would love to see the state put the two games back on our schedules that were taken away a couple of years ago.  I think that would allow us some more flexibility in scheduling of non league contests.

What is your pre-season outlook on Guilderland’s upcoming 2016 season?

SM:The players and coaches are excited for the 2016 season.   We have a lot of key players returning as well as 13 seniors who have been with us for a couple of years.   The kids are all working hard during the off-season and this group has been playing together for years so they know the potential they have.

What are your top recommendations to a player who wants to get better at lacrosse?
SM: My top recommendations for a player who wants to get better at lacrosse is to love the game.   If a player loves the game he will commit to wall ball, weight room, and studying the game on his own.  This game has given so much to me in my life and I absolutely love it and I hope that players in our organization love it and get as much from it as I have.   Players who focus on skills, wall ball, weight room intrinsically are always the best players they can be and will have no regrets in the future.

As a Coach and parent, what are your thoughts on young athletes playing multiple sports vs. specializing in a single sport?

SM: As a Coach and parent, I can say that it hurts me to see kids specializing at younger and younger ages.    I think kids need to play multiple sports so they develop as athletes and competitors and there is also the risk of overuse injuries and burn out for one sport athletes.  I saw a post or an email article somewhere about Urban Meyer, the Ohio State Football coach, and the number of his recruits that were multi-sport athletes in HS was over forty while five were football only athletes.   I think this is the case with many college programs at every level and I hope that the future will show that multi sport athletes are the way to go.  I know in my life I played lacrosse, hockey, soccer, baseball, golf, basketball and anything else I could and my son is currently playing lacrosse, hockey, and soccer this winter.

You also serve as Director of the Adirondack Summer Lacrosse League.  Tell us a little about that league.

SM: Adirondack Summer League has been a part of the Capital District Lacrosse community for over 30 years.   It has been an affordable recreational level of lacrosse for kids to just go out and enjoy playing the game.   About five years ago we added a youth level to the program offerings and it has been a great addition to the High School Level that we previously served.   We now have players from grade 3-11 in the summer and it is just a great sight to see the park filled with kids playing lacrosse and having fun every Monday and Wednesday night in the summer.

You still appear in UAlbany’s record book with 75 ground balls in the 1999 season.  Do you let your players know that when working on GB technique at practice?

SM: That’s just funny.  I actually haven’t seen that record book in about 10 years so looking it up made me laugh.   There are some good players from over the years in there.   I will be sure to throw it out there this year.   I do value ground balls and the players know that, it is a possession for the team.  There is always a place on a team for someone who has a nose for the GB.









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Gary Govel
Gary has been involved in lacrosse in the Capital District for over 35 years as a player, youth coach, program administrator, parent, and fan. Gary launched in November 2015 to report on lacrosse news and information of interest to the region, and to share his passion for the game. In addition to operating this site and associated social media, Gary is also a contributor to Inside Lacrosse.