What is the measure of a good coach? Wins? State championships?
Just got home from the funeral for Mike Sennett (obituary), the DeSmet Jesuit High School varsity lacrosse coach. Coach Sennett passed away unexpectedly this past Saturday, while at a tournament in Indiana with the DeSmet team. He was only 38--just a few months younger than I am. He had just become engaged last Wednesday.
Coach Sennett played lacrosse and captained his high school (Brother Rice) and his college team (Notre Dame). Upon graduation in 1991, he came to St. Louis to work and immediately started the lacrosse program at DeSmet. In his 16 years as coach, Mike won 6 state championships and was an integral part of the development of lacrosse, at all levels, in the state of Missouri. And even though he wasn't faculty at DeSmet, he eagerly participated in school retreats. Coach Sennett was as interested in his kids' personal development as he was their athletic development.
There were well over 1,000 people at the funeral. One of his assistants estimated there are at least 50 young people coaching lacrosse now--giving back to the sport--just like their coach did. As a tribute to Coach Sennett, all lacrosse teams in the state will wear a "Count on Me" decal on their helmets the rest of the season.
I did not know Coach Sennett personally, but he obviously cared deeply for the young men he mentored and had a tremendous impact on everyone he touched. We should all be so lucky to have a coach like Mike Sennett. By any measure, he was a good coach and a good human being.