Olivia Byrnes and Emma Carr
Assistant Editors for Production
This year the Jamesville-DeWitt High School Girls Varsity Lacrosse team is getting revamped. They are replacing retiring 250+ game winning Head Coach Phil Luckette with new Head Coach Dennis Kennedy. After coaching for 25 years, Coach Luckette decided to retire after last season. Luckette is excited for the players to experience something new; “change is good, and Kennedy has a different background in lacrosse,” he said.
Coach Kennedy has 15 years of experience in the game of lacrosse. Kennedy is currently the director of the United States National Tournament, which means he organizes where the teams are playing in the tournament and who they are playing. He has also coached the Girls Under Armour All American Lacrosse Team for Upstate NY, which is another elite team organization that has nine other teams across the country. In 2006 and 2007, he was the director and the Head Coach of the Upstate New York Empire State Team for the Empire State Games. Kennedy has even spoken at the US Lacrosse National Convention, where coaches from all over the state meet up give lectures on their experiences coaching. He has spoken at the convention for the past five years and is excited to return to speak again this year. The 2015 conference will be held in Baltimore, MD, and he is excited to represent J-DHS for the first time this year. In 2007, 2011, and 2012, he was voted the Section III Coach of the Year as well. “I wanted to come to J-D because there is a really strong community, great talent, lacrosse program, involvement, and a great tradition of lacrosse,” said Coach Kennedy.
While interviewing candidates for the job it became clear of who the right choice would be, “He’s (Dennis Kennedy) known throughout the nation and he has built good references,” said Athletic Director John Goodson, “He’s going to teach character through lacrosse.”
Coach Kennedy is hoping to bring his own style of coaching to J-D. “My style of coaching is very unique,” said Coach Kennedy. O’Brien has had first hand experience with Kennedy’s rare style and ideas. “He thinks outside the box, at one lacrosse practice he made us scrimmage by only passing and shooting behind the back.” said O’Brien.
Although the season hasn’t started yet, players had the opportunity to meet Coach Kennedy during a meeting after school where they talked about the upcoming season and his expectations. “He seems pretty optimistic and he has a lot of goals so I trust him so far and I’m looking forward to it,” said senior Carly Stone. “I’m happy about the decision,” said sophomore Lizzie O’Brien, who has had Coach Kennedy as a club lacrosse coach for the team Relentless Hustle for about a year. “He’s a really good coach and knows what he is doing,” said O’Brien, “he wants to get stuff done and he is intense, but in a good way.” Other players know that this will be a big change because of the difference in coaching styles, “I think he knows a lot about the sport, but I’m a little scared because I’ve had Luckette for two years. Also because it is different, but hopefully in a good way,” said senior Bella Hylen. Junior Alyssa Phillips said that she knows they will have to run a lot more, but it will be good to get in shape.
For pre-season training he is holding indoor practices every Sunday for two hours, and is also getting players together for tournaments. He doesn’t know yet who the assistant coach will be this year, but he is putting advertisements in the local paper to hopefully find the right match.
The 2015 lacrosse season will be approaching sooner than you think, and Coach Kennedy is “excited to see how far they can go.” “I think he will be a really good coach not only because of his experience, but also his determination and love for the game,” said Phillips.