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Haverford School lacrosse coach John Nostrant set to take over at Gilman

Lacrosse coach John Nostrant turned Haverford (Pa.) School into a national powerhouse in his 28 years there.
Lacrosse coach John Nostrant turned Haverford (Pa.) School into a national powerhouse in his 28 years there. (Handout / Mike Nolan)

Gilman has found its new lacrosse coach, announcing that longtime Haverford (Pa.) School coach John Nostrant will take over for Brooks Matthews this summer.

Nostrant, 55, announced last year that this would be his final season at Haverford, a program he turned into a national powerhouse in his 28 years. He has guided the Fords to 488 wins and two undefeated seasons (2011 and 2015) that led to No. 1 national rankings. This season, Haverford is 14-3 and ranked No. 10 in the latest Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse Top 25 High School Power Rankings.

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Last November, Matthews said this would be his 15th and final season coaching at his alma mater. He has guided the Greyhounds to Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference titles in 2009 and 2011. They are 9-5 this season.

Gilman posted the appointment of Nostrant, a 1986 Washington College graduate, on its school website Wednesday.

“I’m elated and certainly grateful to Gilman for entrusting me with running the lacrosse program,” Nostrant said Thursday morning. “It was one of those situations where I was in a few searches for some coaching jobs and also administrative jobs and when I went down to Gilman — I know some folks there and am certainly familiar with a lot of people in the MIAA — it felt great and I was just kind of really hoping they felt the same thing. So it’s been great. What Brooks has done down there is pretty amazing and the history of the program speaks for itself.”

Nostrant, who also served 22 years as Haverford’s athletic director, thinks he has found the ideal fit with the connections he has throughout the MIAA and the similarities he found at Haverford and Gilman. The feeling was the same at Gilman.

“We feel very fortunate and lucky to bring John down here,” Gilman co-athletic director Lori Bristow said.

“What impressed us is not just his pedigree of wins and his knowledge, but his affect. I went and watched him coach this season as I did some other coaches that we were considering and we liked the fact that he can be firm, but comes back and explains things to kids. He just has a wonderful way about him and every player we talked to whether directly or indirectly that was coached by John only had great things to say about him. It’s also tough following someone who has been in the position like Brooks Matthews, whose had his own success, and we feel John can handle it.”

When Nostrant took over at Haverford in 1992, he made sure to regularly schedule MIAA teams, including Gilman, to help build the program and, over the years, regularly see how his Fords stacked up.

“That was the measuring stick in the ’90s and we started playing Gilman then and increased it,” Nostrant said. “That’s kind of life and if you want to measure yourself, you have to compete against the best and that has helped Haverford immensely.”

These days, Haverford has become an ideal non-conference test for MIAA teams as they prepare for league play. The Fords went 3-1 against MIAA competition this spring with wins over Boys’ Latin, St. Paul’s and Loyola Blakefield, and their only setback to McDonogh.

With the MIAA still considered the top league in the country, Nostrant is well aware of what he’s getting into when he takes over at Gilman.

“It’s going to be really competitive with such great people and coaches that are friends of mine,” he said. “Just knowing that competition and knowing those guys and their character, it forces you to bring your A game every time you play.

“I’m excited to take what Brooks kind of already has down there and listen to some people, and get to know the culture and community and then tweak whatever needs to be tweaked. But I’m not walking into a place that’s broken by any means, so I’m looking forward to learning from those guys and getting the Gilman fans and kids excited about continuing to play at a high level. And certainly the goal is to compete in the MIAA, get into the playoffs and win the thing, which will be a really tough task.”

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