While lacrosse legend Tom Marechek savored his time in Baltimore, the Victoria, British Columbia, native always said that if an opportunity came about that would benefit his family, he would jump on it.
One did in late July when Marechek was named the director of lacrosse at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Overseeing all aspects of the boys and girls lacrosse programs, he started Monday.
Marecheck, a four-time NCAA All-American at Syracuse who played professionally with the Philadelphia Wings and the Baltimore Bayhawks, has called Baltimore home since 1994. He has coached several area high school boys teams in addition to running many youth camps.
He says he is ecstatic to have the chance to combine his lacrosse knowledge with the resources available at IMG Academy.
“It’s a perfect tailor-made job for me,” said Marechek, who turns 51 on Aug. 25. “Everything about it is exciting for me. ... I love the people. I met all the directors from the other sports, the strength and conditioning coaches. We have mental coaches, nutritional coaches, so there’s a lot more at IMG to give than any other institution I’ve known.”
A member of three lacrosse Halls of Fame, including the U.S. National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, Marechek has coached the sport at McDonogh, Glenelg Country, Friends and Springdale Preparatory School before moving south.
He’s confident his connections in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Canada will greatly benefit the IMG programs. Currently, IMG has two boys teams — a varsity and national team — and one girls varsity team.
Marechek’s immediate goal is to add one boys and one girls program in the next three years.
The boys varsity team has flourished since its first season in 2013, emerging as one of the nation’s top programs. It’s been a top-25 team nationally in each of the past six seasons with close to 70 players moving on to Division I schools.
Scott Dean, IMG vice president and athletic director, is confident the addition of Marechek can take the program even further.
“At IMG, it takes a special person to fit into our culture and what we do and what we’re about and we’re really, really excited because we feel he fits that mold 100%,” he said. “We knew we landed some gold when we got him and we’re excited to see what him and his team bring to the table. He’s an educator, he’s got passion for the game, he was a great player and athlete. But more importantly, he’s about making student-athletes better student-athletes.”
Part of the IMG package that provided icing on the cake for Marechek is that his two sons — 13-year-old Koerner and 11-year-old Cade — will be able to attend the school at no cost. Koerner will be enrolling this school year as he heads into eighth grade.
Excited to help further grow lacrosse in the south, Marechek will always appreciate his time spent in one of the sport’s true hotbeds.
“Baltimore was great. The people are friendly and I met a lot of good friends and still have a lot of good friends there,” Marechek said.
“It’s just one of those things where my wife [Catherine] is from Philadelphia and I’m not from Baltimore, so we always knew we could move anywhere. We always said that from day one: If a huge job came up or something to better the family, we’ll take it.”