He brought a swagger to lacrosse with his flashy play and endless array of acrobatic shots which, decades later, still rack up views on YouTube. How many different ways could Tom Marechek, onetime star of the Baltimore Bayhawks, score goals? Behind his back. Between his legs. Off the alley-oop pass.
A crowd favorite was Marechek's "celebration goal," a maneuver in which he would fake a shot, then raise his arms in mock triumph.
"When the goalie slumped and turned to pick the ball out of the net, that's when I dumped it in," he said. "The goalie didn't look too happy."
Fans whooped and rallied around Marechek, whose pliant moves seemed part P.T. Barnum, part Gumby. He retired from the Bayhawks in 2007, having helped them win two Major League Lacrosse championships (2002 and 2005) in seven years. He still ranks No. 2 on the franchise's all-time list in total points, goals and assists.
It was the last in a series of starring roles for the Canadian-born Marechek, a four-time All American at Syracuse, nine-time All-Pro in the National Lacrosse League and member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
"We just kid around with these trick shots. I don't work with anybody on this stuff," Marechek said. "Yes, it was my bread and butter, but here [at Friends] and in my clinics, we stick to the basics."
At times, players will try to mimick their coach's moves during games. Marechek's response?
"If they are successful, then good for them and I'll smile," he said. "If not, they'll throw against the wall, in practice, for a long, long time."
This year, his second at Friends, the Quakers went 7-10 and reached the semifinals of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference tournament. Last year's team lost in the championship game.
Before that, Marechek was head coach at Glenelg Country School and an assistant at McDonogh.
Saturday, when Syracuse plays Denver in the NCAA semifinals in Philadelphia, Marechek will be there, wearing his old school's colors. He and his family have box seats on the 50-yard line at Lincoln Financial Field.
"It'll bring back memories, yes," he said. "It has been a good career, but it's not over.
"I want to build Friends' program to the power it used to be, when guys like Kyle Harrison and Joe Cowan played here. I have lacrosse camps at Goucher College, St. Timothy's School and everywhere from Hershey [Pa.] to Shreveport [La.]. And to be honest, more and more, in the back of my mind I think about coaching in college."