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June 30, 2016 — United States Coach of the Year: P.J. Kesmodel, Lewes Cape Henlopen (Del.)

P.J. Kesmodel is a person who couldn’t let go of the sport which has enraptured, enthralled, and occasionally consumed his attention for the better part of six decades.

When he retired from teaching nine years ago and moved to a resort town in Delaware, the original intention was to enjoy the ocean and breezy summers.

That is, until he was found out by members of the area lacrosse community.

One was Mark D’Ambrogi, the head boys’ lacrosse coach at Lewes Cape Henlopen (Del.). He is reputed to have said, “If that guy gets ahold of the girls’ program, look out.”

Indeed, Kesmodel was weighing taking a job at Berlin Worcester Prep (Md.) before getting the word Cape Henlopen’s girls’ coach had decided to spend more time with her family.

Kesmodel jumped in as head coach shortly thereafter.

And as D’Ambrogi foreshadowed, “Look out.”

The Vikings would win eight straight Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association tournaments.

For not only his efforts with Cape, but his building efforts in Maryland, Baltimore, and the Delaware Shore over a 50-year life in lacrosse, the legendary P.J. Kesmodel is the recipient of our inaugural United States Coach of the Year award.

Kesmodel’s coaching resume has involved coaching boys and girls, the rich and poor, black and white, varsity and club. But perhaps his greatest impact are the instructional programs he has started, Hero’s Lacrosse and the Eastern Shore Lacrosse Club. These programs feed into varsity programs in these areas.

But if there is one impact that Kesmodel has had over the years, it is in the coaching box. Without him, you wouldn’t have Cathy Reese coaching at the University of Maryland, Kristen Waagbo coaching Army West Point, or Chris Robinson setting records at Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.).

It’s pretty remarkable the number of lives touched over the years, and he will be missed.

ALSO CONSIDERED:

Al Bertoleone, Mount Sinai (N.Y.) –Mustangs had a lot to prove after last year’s dream season, and hit a tough patch in mid-season. But the mettle of this team showed down the stretch, winning six games of margins of two goals or fewer on the way to a second straight Class C title

Shelly Brezicki, Manchester (Md.) Valley (Md.) — Coached the Mustangs, in only their seventh season, to a third straight state championship

Liz Case, Fairfax James M. Robinson Secondary (Va.) — Built a program in five years to one which has now won 42 out of its last 43 games, including the last two state titles

Rory Daly, Novato (Calif.) — Team defended its CIF North Coast Division I with an undefeated season and a number of underclasswomen who will have even more time to improve on their impressive numbers

Tom Flanders, Warwick Pilgrim (R.I.) — Started lacrosse program six years ago with an 0-14 record; this year won state title with 17-0 record

Chris Robinson, Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) — Even with the attention of the entire nation upon his team every single game out, the Eagles managed to win every game, win the IAAM Class A title, and extend its win streak to 155

Amanda Ryan, Walton (Ga.) — After a lost weekend in mid-season against three mid-Atlantic powerhouses, the Raiders were able to respond with eight straight victories, including a state final win over favored Milton (Ga.)

Douglas Sedgwick, Syracuse Christian Brothers Academy (N.Y.) — Won third state championship in the last six years with an undefeated slate

Rick Sofield, Alexandria Bishop Ireton (Va.) — Facing perhaps the most diverse and difficult schedule ever assembled to face a high school team, managed to get his team to the state final despite graduating a star-studded senior class the year before

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