Baltimore, Md. -- The Lynchburg College men's lacrosse coaching staff was featured prominently at last weekend's Intercollegiate Men's Lacrosse Coaches Association Convention, the annual summit of lacrosse mentors held in Baltimore.
Head coach Steve Koudelka and assistants Eric Lombardo, Jon Lombardo, and Aaron Murphy presented a Saturday session on integrating goalie coaching into practice plans. And while Koudelka, an All-American collegiate goalie and former Major League Lacrosse netminder himself, said he was happy to share his expertise, the stars of the show were really his assistants.
"It was really great to get our guys a chance to present on that stage," the 22nd-year head coach said, noting that greater visibility for his assistants will be a valuable tool not just in advancing the Hornets' program but in their careers to boot.
"Their knowledge of the game was really on display," Koudelka said.
The four-day convention, which more than 1,000 lacrosse coaches attended, addresses everything from rule changes to NCAA tournament planning to good old fashioned Xs and Os, but it also featured some new wrinkles this year. Koudelka, along with Lynchburg alum and current Elizabethtown College head coach Chris Perzinski, former Johns Hopkins athletic director Tom Calder, Delaware head coach Ben Deluca, and Brown head coach Mike Daly, were on a Friday panel about transitioning from an assistant coach's role into head coaching.
"The neat part about it was I was able to pull from some of the discussions that we've had in our athletic department about helping assistant coaches become head coaches," said Koudelka, noting that development doesn't stop at graduation in the LC athletic department.
Look no further than Perzinski, who took Elizabethtown to the NCAA tournament in his first season as head coach last spring.
Jon Lombardo, who played with Perzinski and has been on the LC staff since graduating in 2012, said his friend's words about "shrinking the degrees of separation between me and the people who are interviewing me across the desk" resonated with him. And looking around at his fellow audience members, which ranged from assistants at Division I powers like the University of Maryland to Division III assistants such as himself, he saw value in the diversity on the panel.
"We got a lot of really positive feedback from the audience in terms of covering all the divisions," the LC head coach said.
Koudelka, who also serves as the assistant athletic director at Lynchburg, said he was able to provide insight not just as a coach but as an administrator. Some of the advice was obvious: look presentable and be polite. But some might not seem like common sense, such as the importance of following up after an interview and not being afraid to acknowledge your accomplishments during an interview.
And despite being 22 years removed from his last stint as an assistant, Koudelka said he feels comfortable advising those looking to move into head coaching roles on how to go about it.
"I've had several former assistants go on to become head coaches," Koudelka said, "and listening to their stories, their trials and tribulations, it was easy to draw on their experiences."
With the convention in the rearview mirror, the Lynchburg men's lacrosse staff will turn its attention to the upcoming season. The Hornets begin the 2018 campaign in Salisbury, Md. on Saturday, Feb. 10 against the reigning Division III national champions, the Salisbury Sea Gulls.