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High School sports

St. Paul's lacrosse coach Brocato stepping down after 2017 season

St. Paul's boys' lacrosse coach Rick Brocato plans to retire from coaching after the 2017 season.

St. Paul's boys lacrosse coach Rick Brocato, who has racked up 225 wins in 16 years at the Brooklandville school, announced Wednesday he will retire after the 2017 season.

As he enters his 17th season in the spring, he is seven wins shy of tying legendary coach George Mitchell's mark of 232 for the most victories in school history.

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Also a middle school science teacher, a job he plans to continue after his retirement from coaching, Brocato said he felt the time was right to step down. He cited the opportunity to pursue other interests and the growing demands in coaching as his reasons to step down.

It's been ongoing talks with my wife, Tracey, when the right time would be," Brocato said. "It's been a good run. I've really been blessed and I'm grateful for the great players I've coached and the coaches I've worked with. That's the part I'll miss – the time on the field, in the office with my players, and the great fun in the locker room with the coaches. And, of course, the Tuesday and Friday action you get in league play doesn't get any better if you're a competitor."

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Brocato has a 225-104 mark at St. Paul's covering two stints (1995-99, 2006-present) and he's enjoyed 14 winning seasons with the program. He guided the Crusaders to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference crown in 2010 with title game appearances also coming in 1996, 1998 and 2014.

Including one season as head coach at Kent-Denver in Colorado, he has a 244-107 career mark. In all, he has 31 years of high school coaching experience, starting in the 1988-89 school year when he first became an assistant at St. Paul's.

"Broc, as he is known to all, exemplifies the very best of the teacher-coach model," St. Paul's headmaster David C. Faus said in a news release. "He has prepared athletes to achieve the very highest levels – college All-Americans, professionals, and even the national Hall of Fame. At the same time, he is a deeply engaged, empathetic educator who makes every one of his middle school students feel valued and supported."

Brocato has one final season to coach his son, Jack, who is a junior at St. Paul's and will be playing in his third varsity season. His daughter, Kate, is a sophomore at Vermont. While he'll miss coaching, Brocato said he looks forward to visiting his daughter, traveling with his wife, and watching his son play his senior year before he goes on to play at Salisbury.

Brocato, who played lacrosse at Towson High and Washington College before getting his degree at Towson University, also is an avid runner.

"I love the sport and I did it as well as I possibly could – with my heart and soul," he said. "I really feel after coaching varsity lacrosse for 31 years, it's time to do something new. I have a lot of outside interests I'd like to pursue…So there are things I'd really like to do beyond lacrosse and I always preach that to the kids – you don't let the game of lacrosse define you and who you are and what your identity is. So I feel like I'm practicing what I preach a bit now."

Coming off a 12-7 season, the Crusaders will once again be in for an MIAA A crown this spring, something that has been the norm under Brocato.

"Being around Rick, he does everything the right way and he just runs a first-class program," Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly said. "St. Paul's is always highly skilled and you always have to be on your game, especially defensively because they can be very slick. They have great lacrosse IQ and I think a lot of that comes from Rick. When you play them, you know you're always going to be in a dogfight all the way through."

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The school is beginning the process of finding a new coach and Brocato said Faus is committed to finding a coach that also will be a teacher at St. Paul's.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

twitter.com/GlennGrahamSun


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