New lacrosse era dawns

Coach Dawson, right, offers encouragement on the sidelines, April 12, 2019 – photo by Dr. Mike Nance

Historically, Haverford hosts one of the nation’s most renowned high school lacrosse programs. Mr. John Nostrant coached the Fords for 25 years, winning two national championships. After transitioning last year, Mr. Brendan Dawson will take over as the Fords’ head coach this spring. 

     After the news broke, many within the community did not know the new man in charge.

     Mr. Dawson says he is a pretty “detailed coach.” When it comes to practices and game preparation, Mr. Dawson has instilled a system that is beneficial to all players.

     Dawson wants each and every athlete to enjoy his experience. He says, “being into what they do” is one of the most important things a head coach can do. 

 “Great players aren’t born, they’re made,” Mr. Dawson said.

Showing interest in their growth as lacrosse players and young men is essential to getting players to buy into what he wants to build. Mr. Dawson believes having a passion for the game will make the players want to “lift and hit the wall,” which are crucial activities if athletes want to get better.  

     Mr. Dawson says he “values hard work” and believes if you don’t love what you’re doing, you can’t improve. 

     Mr. Dawson graduated from college in 2004 and worked in the business world for a few years after. He soon realized that business wasn’t his calling and returned to his alma mater, Salisbury University in Maryland, and received an assistant coaching job. After this, Mr. Dawson said he “fell in love with coaching.” 

     Mr. Dawson’s resume lists several collegiate programs. He started the lacrosse program at Aurora University in Illinois and coached there for two years. After that, he spent six years as head coach for Widener University, and then three years at Haverford College. 

     The coaching change has not altered the approach and tenacity Haverford lacrosse players will bring to this upcoming season. 

     Sixth Former Jack Leary said, “The culture and atmosphere of the team hasn’t changed.”

     Similarly, Fifth Former Geordy Holmes noted the lack of culture changes Haverford lacrosse has continued to witness under Coach Dawson. “It hasn’t changed fundamentally,” Holmes said. “We’re just adding on to it.” 

Faceoff practice – photo by Pat Toal ’20

     Mr. Nostrant’s legacy has affected how some incoming Third Formers envisioned their lacrosse careers. 

     Third Former Wils Burt said, “Having been around Haverford for a long time, I’ve always looked up to Coach Nostrant.” 

     Burt noted that he felt “disappointed” after hearing about the departure of Coach Nostrant, but now as his first year progresses, his relationship with Coach Dawson has grown stronger.

     Burt said, “You couldn’t ask for a better person to continue what Coach Nostrant started here.”

Author: Patrick Toal '20

Pat Toal '20 is a student in the Journalism seminar. He is interested in sports and politics. His favorite subjects are English and history. He will be playing Division-I baseball at La Salle University next year.