Next year will be the final year for a towering figure in the Central New York lacrosse.
West Genesee coach Mike Messere told NewsChannel 9 Sports Director Steve Infanti that he plans on making the 2018 season his last.
“I think it’s time for me,” Messere said.
Legendary West Genesee boys lacrosse coach Mike Messere tells me that he plans to step down following the 2018 season: “It’s time for me.”— Steve Infanti (@SteveInfantiNC9) May 3, 2017
The winningest coach in high school lacrosse history, Messere has led the Wildcats to 15 state titles and a total of 23 state championship games.
“Things change a lot. I think the younger kids need younger guys out here coaching them,” said the 73-year-old.
On eight occasions, his teams have finished the season ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Messere says he’s driven by more than wins, though.
“There’s a lot of reward in teaching. I approach coaching as teaching. If you want to be an athlete, No. 1 – you’ve got to behave yourself, you go to be a good guy. You’ve got to behave yourself in school. You’ve got to get good grades, do your work. And give it everything you’ve got,” Messere told NewsChannel 9.
A 1962 West Genesee graduate, Messere became the program’s varsity head coach in 1976.
He retired from teaching in 1999.
Messere estimates that only 10 of his players have not gone on to play at the collegiate level.
Many of his players have gone on to become some of the game’s most celebrated collegiate coaches, including John Desko at Syracuse University and Dan Sheehan at Le Moyne, who have a combined 10 national titles.
He also coached former Cornell and current Penn State coach Jeff Tambroni and Air Force coach Eric Seremet.
He also coached Oswego State coach Ryan Spillet and SUNY Cortland coach Steve Beville.
Messere told Infanti his plans during an interview for a feature that will air tonight on NewsChannel 9.