Vince Lombardi once said, "Winning isn't everything, but wanting to win is."
Jim Moorhead probably never met the legendary Green Bay Packers coach, but it is that shared attitude that led to his selection as Anne Arundel County Sun 1991 Boys Lacrosse Coach of the Year.
"They say that each year that you coach your intensity level seems to wane a bit, but it's been the exact opposite for me," said Moorhead, who led St. Mary's to its first appearance in the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference final. "My enthusiasm and desire to win increase every year, and getting this far this season has re-ignited my desire to win an A Conference championship."
Goalie Tim McGeeney, the Anne Arundel County Sun 1991 Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year, provided the spark that ignited North County into the Class 4A-3A state championship.
The three-year starter (two years at Andover) yielded only 3.7 goals per game this season and boasted an impressive.715 save percentage with 158 saves.
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"I thrive on those big saves," saidMcGeeney. "Making the big saves pumps the other guys up and motivates our offense."
North County coach Paul Shea agreed, "He sparked us with the big save. He not only made the routine saves, but he constantly came up with the big impact-type saves as well. Other guys would see that and respond."
Getting his players to respond is something Moorhead has had no problem doing in his 12-year tenure as coach. Senior Rob Chomo, who is headed for the University of Maryland, played under Moorhead for four years and said he never has come in contactwith a coach with such intensity.
"He's the best motivating coachthat I've ever had," said Chomo, who contributed 23 goals and 11 assists this season despite a nagging hamstring injury. "He's so intenseon and off the field that it rubs off on the rest of the team.
"What's nice is that he prepares us all week for our opponent, and thenlets us go on game day. He doesn't put any pressure on us on game day so we're relaxed and we just go out and have fun."
Although Moorhead concedes he is glad the season is over, he said he has not lost his zest for coaching in the nationally renowned A Conference.
"It's nice to get back to a sense where you can relax," said Moorhead, who was far from relaxed after his team's season-ending loss to St. Paul's. "A lot of coaches can turn the game off when they leave the lacrosse field, but I've never had that ability.
"This year was probably the most taxing one on me yet because of all the close games. Theleague was more equal this year than any
of the years I've coached. I haven't got any gray hair, but a lot of my former players that come back to visit tell me, 'Every time we see you, you've got less hair.' "
Moorhead credited his veteran assistants Mike Codd (defensive coordinator) and Don Sadler (offensive coordinator) for helping lead his team to a 12-4 record. He said he was looking forward to not only returning to the final, but next time leaving with a smile.
"That's the nice thing about being a coach, you always have another crack at winning it," said Moorhead. "Unfortunately, the seniors don't get another crack."
Don't start feeling too sorry for Moorhead's departing seniors. Of the 14 on his roster, 12 are headed to Division Iprograms and the other two to Division III schools.
McGeeney has signed a national letter-of-intent and will attend Loyola of Baltimore next fall. While he has just completed what
he calls "his best season yet," he admits there is still room for improvement.
"I still need to work on screens and I need to work on my leadership abilities," he said. "Once you get up there in the college ranks, you have to be more vocal with those guys, because if you're not, it's going tobe hard for them to trust you back there in the goal.
"I've always tried to be a leader in the goal. All three of our captains graduated last year (at Andover) so this year Coach Shea told me that I was going to have to be one of our leaders so I assumed that role and tried to step up."
With the Knights' offense lacking any superior firepower, McGeeney had to be on the ball at all times -- a situation herelished.
"When your offense isn't scoring a lot of goals, it puts the pressure on the defense but it's a good kind of pressure," saidMcGeeney.
"It keeps us aware and keeps us sharp. We knew we weren't going to score a lot of goals, so each time the team had the ball it was very important for us to stop them."
McGeeney's performancein the crease impressed Shea to the utmost, but it was the goalie's leadership and personality outside the the sphere that made him the consummate player.
"Some goalies are only good at stopping the ball, but Tim goes beyond that," said Shea, whose team finished at 15-2. "He uses his body and his stick to makes saves, but
he is also very instrumental on our clears and in our transition game.
"I had a lot confidence in Tim's ability and he lived up to everything I expected of him. He had a great, great year. He rose up and did everythingwe expected. The kids looked up to him for guidance. He was a true leader both on and off the field."
Will he be missed?
"Of course," said Shea. "He's just an all-around fine young man. He's handsome,polite and he carries a 3.5 grade-point average. I hope my son growsup to be just like him."