Be­sides Su­per Bowl ti­tles, Har­baugh and Belichick share love for lacrosse

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By SEAN GRO­GAN

sgro­gan@ce­cil­whig.com

— John Har­baugh and Bill Belichick have more in com­mon than their Su­per Bowl rings. The two head coaches both share a love of lacrosse.

Belichick, who Har­baugh called “the great­est coach of this gen­er­a­tion” Wed­nes­day, grew up in nearby An­napo­lis be­fore he led the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots to four Su­per Bowl cham­pi­onships. His child­hood in the hot­bed of Mary­land taught him to love lacrosse.

“It’s a great sport. Ob­vi­ously such a great part of Bal­ti­more and Mary­land tra­di­tion. Crabs and lacrosse, that’s part of what that area is, a big part of the cul­ture there and it tran­scends the new peo­ple that move into the new area. They pick up on it pretty quickly and en­joy it and em­brace it and see the way the game is spread­ing through­out this coun­try and in­ter­na­tion­ally re­ally,” Belichick said dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s con­fer­ence call with Bal­ti­more me­dia. “It’s now be­come much more of a na­tional sport,

OWINGS MILLS

es­pe­cially with Den­ver win­ning and the World Cham­pi­onships a cou­ple of years ago out in Colorado. I mean, I was for­tu­nate to grow up in that area and have been able to en­joy so much of lacrosse and all that goes with it, what a great spring sport and tra­di­tion it is in that area.”

The fa­mously re­strained Belichick seemed will­ing to dis­cuss the sport for days. He at­tends Johns Hop­kins games reg­u­larly, es­ti­mat­ing he will watch five in per­son this sea­son, and is close friends with Blue Jays head coach Dave Pi­etra­mala. New Eng­land has a for­mer Johns Hop­kins laxer, Mike Pel­le­grino, on its coach­ing staff.

Belichick played col­lege lacrosse at Wes­leyan Univer­sity (Conn.), as did his daugh­ter, Amanda, and his son, Stephen, played for Rut­gers. Amanda serves as the head coach of the women’s team at Holy Cross.

“It’s been a big part of our fam­ily and a big part of my life,” he said.

Belichick added Wed­nes­day that the Ravens head coach “is see­ing the light” in terms of lacrosse.

Har­baugh did not grow up play­ing the sport as Belichick did, but has be­come a fan of the game through watch­ing his daugh­ter play it.

“I’m a lacrosse guy,” Har­baugh said. “I’m a big­ger fan of girls’ lacrosse right now. I know [Belichick’s] daugh­ter is the head coach at Holy Cross, so I’ll bet he feels the same way. Girls’ lacrosse is a great sport. It’s a great skill sport. The sticks are a lit­tle tougher. It’s more of a skill game, I think, in some ways. I’m go­ing to be on the band­wagon for that right now. I watch a lot of girls’ lacrosse.”

Like Belichick, Har­baugh is a fan of the Johns Hop­kins lacrosse pro­gram, but said he, in­ex­pli­ca­bly, cheers for Mary­land, too. It’s like claim­ing to be a fan of the Ravens and the Steel­ers.

Lacrosse could be a likely topic if the two coaches share a cor­dial pregame dis­cus­sion Mon­day night at Gil­lette Sta­dium, but then, it’ll be back to foot­ball.

Fol­low Sean Gro­gan on Twit­ter: @Sean_Ce­cilWhig

(DOUG KAPUSTIN/MCT)

Bal­ti­more Ravens head coach John Har­baugh (left) chats with New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots head coach Bill Belichick dur­ing warmups at Gil­lette Sta­dium in Foxbor­ough, Mass. on Jan. 20, 2013. Both coaches are fans of lacrosse.

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