It was a storybook season, even for a program with the tradition of success of Ward Melville.
A perfect 22-0 record, its first New York state title since 2000, and a consensus No. 1 national ranking.
The 2014 Ward Melville Patriots will have a tough act to follow.
They’ll also have a new head coach leading the way.
He’s Jay Negus, a 1995 Ward Melville graduate who was an attackman under legendary coach Joe Cuozzo before playing collegiately at UMass.
“Playing for Ward Melville is something that is so special because of its rich tradition and bonds that are made among players, parents and the community, that I hold my players to a really high standard,” Negus said today. “I feel that it is my job to make them aware that they are a part of this amazing tradition, and whatever their part is and responsibilities are, as young men representing our program, they must truly give their all every day.”
Interestingly enough, Negus did not start playing lacrosse until just prior to his junior year, yet still managed to earn All-America honors.
Negus’ appointment, which we told you was likely two days after the state title win on June 8, became official in late August. Negus’ varsity assistants will be WM grads Chris Muscarella (Class of 96), Chris Murphy (Class of 90) and Scott Graham. The JV coach will be Kurt Ferraro. WM’s JV team went 11-3 last year
The new era of Ward Melville lacrosse will officially start with Game 1 of the season when the Patriots visit Sachem East on March 26.
“My coaching strategy is always changing based on the needs and make-up of the different players and the team as a whole,” said Negus, who works fulltime as a physical education teacher at Ward Melville. “My philosophy of coaching is to be consistently positive and dynamic while developing and molding my team’s talent to a new level each day.
“As the late (UCLA men’s basketball coach) John Wooden said, ‘Make every day your personal masterpiece.’ This is something that I do and try to instill in my players while striving for excellence, on and off the field. ”
The 2014 Patriots will be a young team. They return four starters, two on offense and two on defense.
“Tom Reilly and Mike Cirrone, both 2015s, will anchor the defense with Thomas Moore (2014), Mike Troy (2014), John Grauwiler (2014) and John Day (2016) all in the mix to make contributions,” Negus said. “On offense, we return two key starters in Dan Bucaro (2015) and Jake McCulloch (2015) on attack. Patrick Roarty and Conor McAvoy will provide key senior leadership in the midfield.”
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