St. Paul’s Bro­cato step­ping down

Vet­eran coach cites other in­ter­ests, says ’17 sea­son will be last

Baltimore Sun - - VARSITY - By Glenn Gra­ham glenn.gra­ham@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Glen­nGra­hamSun

St. Paul’s boys lacrosse coach Rick Bro­cato, who has 225 wins in 16 years at the Brook­landville school, an­nounced Wed­nes­day that he will re­tire after the 2017 sea­son.

As he en­ters his 17th sea­son in the spring, he is seven wins short of ty­ing leg­endary coach Ge­orge Mitchell’s mark of 232 for the most vic­to­ries in school his­tory.

Also a mid­dle school science teacher, a job he plans to con­tinue after his re­tire­ment from coach­ing, Bro­cato said he felt the time was right to step down. He cited the op­por­tu­nity to pur­sue other in­ter­ests and the grow­ing de­mands in coach­ing as his rea­sons to step down.

“It’s been on­go­ing talks with my wife, Tracey, when the right time would be,” Bro­cato said. “It’s been a good run. I’ve re­ally been blessed and I’m grate­ful for the great play­ers I’ve coached and the coaches I’ve worked with. That’s the part I’ll miss — the time on the field, in the of­fice with my play­ers, and the great fun in the locker room with the coaches. And, of course, the Tues­day and Fri­day ac­tion you get in league play doesn’t get any bet­ter if you’re a com­peti­tor.”

Bro­cato has a 225-104 mark at St. Paul’s cov­er­ing two stints (1995-1999, 2006present) andhe’s en­joyed14 win­ningsea­sons with the pro­gram. He guided the Cru­saders to the Mary­land In­ter­scholas­tic Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion A Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship in 2010, and to the ti­tle game in 1996, 1998 and 2014.

In­clud­ing one sea­son as head coach at Kent-Den­ver in Colorado, he has a 244-107 ca­reer mark. In all, he has 31 years of high school coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, start­ing in the 1988-89 school year when he first be­came an as­sis­tant at St. Paul’s.

“Broc, as he is known to all, ex­em­pli­fies the very best of the teacher-coach model,” St. Paul’s head­mas­ter David C. Faus said in a news re­lease. “He has pre­pared ath­letes to achieve the very high­est lev­els — col­lege After 16 sea­sons, Rick Bro­cato needs seven vic­to­ries to tie Ge­orge Mitchell for the most in St. Paul’s his­tory with 232. All-Amer­i­cans, pro­fes­sion­als, and even the na­tional Hall of Fame. At the same time, he is a deeply en­gaged, em­pa­thetic ed­u­ca­tor who makes ev­ery one of his mid­dle school stu­dents feel val­ued and sup­ported.”

Bro­cato has one fi­nal sea­son to coach his son, Jack, who is a ju­nior at St. Paul’s and will be play­ing in his third var­sity sea­son. His daugh­ter, Kate, is a sopho­more at Ver­mont. While he’ll miss coach­ing, Bro­cato said he looks for­ward to vis­it­ing his daugh­ter, trav­el­ing with his wife, and watch­ing his son play his se­nior year be­fore he goes on to play at Sal­is­bury.

Bro­cato, who played lacrosse at Tow­son High and Wash­ing­ton Col­lege be­fore get­ting his de­gree at Tow­son Univer­sity, also is an avid run­ner.

“I love the sport and I did it as well as I pos­si­bly could — with my heart and soul,” he said. “I re­ally feel after coach­ing var­sity lacrosse for 31 years, it’s time to do some­thing new. I have a lot of out­side in­ter­ests I’d like to pur­sue. … So there are things I’d re­ally like to do be­yond lacrosse and I al­ways preach that to the kids — you don’t let the game of lacrosse de­fine you and who you are and what your iden­tity is. So I feel like I’m prac­tic­ing what I preach a bit now.”

Com­ing off a 12-7 sea­son, the Cru­saders will once again con­tend for an MIAA A crown this spring, some­thing that has been the norm un­der Bro­cato.

“Be­ing around Rick, he does ev­ery­thing the right way and he just runs a first-class pro­gram,” Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly said. “St. Paul’s is al­ways highly skilled and you al­ways have to be on your game, es­pe­cially de­fen­sively be­cause they can be very slick. They have great lacrosse IQ and I think a lot of that comes from Rick. When you play them, you know you’re al­ways go­ing to be in a dog­fight all the way through.”

The school is be­gin­ning to search for a new coach, and Bro­cato said Faus is com­mit­ted to find­ing a coach who also will be a teacher at St. Paul’s.

“I al­ways preach that to the kids — you don’t let the game of lacrosse de­fine you and who you are. ... So I feel like I’m prac­tic­ing what I preach a bit now.” Rick Bro­cato

BRYAN WOOL­STON/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

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