CSU women’s club lacrosse may have finally found the final piece to its championship puzzle: new coach Bob Vlahakis.
Vlahakis comes to Fort Collins with a wealth of experience to coach CSU, who is ranked second in the nation. However, Vlahakis is not just the run of the mill, everyday coach.
Coming from Shoreham, N.Y., in Long Island, coach Vlahakis is a retired teacher and has coached lacrosse for the past 25 years. He has coached women’s lacrosse for the last five years, which includes winning a state championship with Shoreham-Wading River High School.
But what makes Vlahakis unique? He is coaching the CSU club team and his high school team in New York, the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats, at the same time, in the same season.
Taking a break from his coaching duties in Shoreham, Vlahakis explained how he is able to coach two teams located almost 2,000 miles apart at the same time.
“Well we just basically set it up, if there were weekends that the high school team was off then I could come out (to Colorado),” Vlahakis said over the phone. “Colorado State has most of their key games on weekends and the nice thing is there are multiple games on one day. So I would be able to coach 10-13 games with CSU, which is something that we had explained beforehand that we needed to have the dual commitment.”
Vlahakis said, though, he plans to coach CSU whenever he possibly can, including key games and tournaments.
Despite his conflicting commitments, players are enthusiastic to have a coach with so much experience.
“We’re just really excited because he knows a ton about the game and definitely has a new take on it,” junior defender Diane Wilson said. “At least we had him for the beginning, so it’s good. He’ll be coming back for most of our big games. He’s here for the important stuff.”
It is the game of lacrosse itself that drives Vlahakis, who is also the founder and senior editor of the major publication Inside Lacrosse and founder of the Face-Off lacrosse yearbook.
“I have a pension from teaching, so lacrosse coaching is really not a monetary consideration for me, I didn’t need it as my income, it allows me to continue teaching kids and coaching, which is my main love,” Vlahakis said.
As Vlahakis coaches his high school team back on the East Coast, CSU continues to play well regardless of who is on the sideline, losing just one game this season, which came at the beginning of the season in overtime.
Vlahakis was in Fort Collins for about a month earlier this year and just left last week to go back to New York.
Meanwhile, CSU remains busy preparing for a big matchup against the University of Colorado on Saturday, which Vlahakis will fly out for on Friday night, only to fly back to New York after the game.
But it is Vlahakis’s philosophy that could just be the key for CSU’s season. “We just try to take everything one day at a time. We have a motto for games, ‘play hard, play together and play smart.’ When you focus on one thing you can only end up being disappointed.”
Saturday’s game against CU starts at 2 p.m. on the intramural fields.
Sports reporter Nick Sebesta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org