One-on-one with NLL coach of the year Ed Comeau


The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - TERI PECOSKIE

The ac­co­lades keep pil­ing up for Stoney Creek’s Ed Comeau.

The long­time laxer was re­cently awarded this year’s Les Bart­ley Award — his sec­ond — as the Na­tional Lacrosse League’s top coach. Un­der his watch, the Ge­or­gia Swarm reg­is­tered the best reg­u­lar sea­son record in the loop and won the fran­chise’s first Cham­pion’s Cup.

Ear­lier this week, The Spec­ta­tor tracked him down to talk about his win­ning sea­son, so­cial me­dia es­capades and the lacrosse scene in the deep South. Here’s an ex­cerpt from the in­ter­view, edited for length and clar­ity:

Teri Pecoskie: You’ve been coach­ing in the NLL for a long time — al­most two decades — and you’ve had a lot of mem­o­rable and cham­pi­onship-win­ning sea­sons. Is there any­thing about this one in par­tic­u­lar that stood out?

Ed Comeau: We only had a cou­ple of vet­eran guys and older guys in their 30s. It was a re­ally young team, and to be able to watch your team grow and evolve and just play with such a level of con­fi­dence — it was a lot dif­fer­ent than some of the other suc­cess­ful years and championships that I’ve been part of.

TP: What do you think makes you a good coach?

EC: I think suc­cess as a coach is of­ten­times built on the ex­pe­ri­ences you have as a coach, and I learned a lot work­ing with Les Bart­ley. That’s who the coach of the year award is named af­ter ... I think the big­gest les­son I learned from Les is Xs and Os are im­por­tant, but man­ag­ing peo­ple and how you treat peo­ple is much more im­por­tant. As a young coach, you’re al­ways all about the Xs and Os, and I think as you get older you re­al­ize that’s im­por­tant, but to be able to have re­la­tion­ships with your play­ers and build a level of trust with them is real crit­i­cal.

TP: What is the ap­petite for la-

crosse like in Ge­or­gia?

EC: It’s de­vel­op­ing. Field lacrosse is be­com­ing re­ally big down there. We’re try­ing to help fuel the growth of box lacrosse in the Ge­or­gia area, but there’s tons of field lacrosse, high school field lacrosse pro­grams. One of the ques­tions we ask our play­ers is, “Are you mov­ing to Ge­or­gia?” be­cause we need coaches for our high school teams, our youth teams. We’re at that stage where it’s grow­ing so fast, the in­fra­struc­ture needs to grow with it.

TP: The sea­son runs from Jan­uary to April. Do you move to At­lanta for those four months?

EC: No. Al­most all our play­ers and staff fly in, a lot of fre­quent fly­ers. We fly in for Fri­day night games. Usu­ally Fri­day evening we fly in, we try to get a prac­tice in late Fri­day night, and have a shoot around Satur­day. Play Satur­day and fly home Sun­day.

TP: I think that must be one of the more dif­fi­cult things about coach­ing in the NLL — the lim­ited amount of time that your team spends to­gether.EC:

It def­i­nitely presents a chal­lenge. There are some teams in the league — Toronto, Rochester, Buf­falo, Van­cou­ver — they’re all lo­cal guys and they’re able to have prac­tices and get guys to­gether, and that’s a bit of an ad­van­tage if you’re go­ing to do that ... We’ve al­ways said our prac­tices are go­ing to be our video re­views or our con­fer­ence calls. We’re not get­ting to­gether to cross-check each other into the ground dur­ing the week, but we’re go­ing to get to­gether on con­fer­ence calls or via emails.

TP: I have to ask about the cham­pi­onship cel­e­bra­tion. I saw that you posted a cou­ple of pretty in­co­her­ent tweets. What’s the story?

EC: I didn’t think it was pos­si­ble, Teri, to pocket tweet, but ap­par­ently I did it! The guys — they were bug­ging me to go on Twit­ter this year — and they said, ‘Ed­die, you know you can pull them back, right?’ And I said ‘No! I didn’t know that. No­body told me that. I didn’t know!’ Peo­ple were say­ing, like, ‘Was that code? What were you try­ing to say?’ I didn’t know I was say­ing any­thing. Yeah, it was fun. We had a fun night.

TP: Now that the sea­son is over, what are you up to this sum­mer?

EC: Well, I’m in­volved in Hamil­ton Mi­nor, so I coach the Mid­get 2 team my boys play on, so I like to do that. We try to get out to watch some games when the sea­son — you know, when one sea­son is over the next sea­son starts with scout­ing and the draft, so we spend a fair bit of time with the Swarm ... I’m also do­ing the na­tional team stuff ... There’s never a hol­i­day from lacrosse.


Comeau: Na­tional Lacrosse League’s top coach

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