Modern Times Phase out Old-school Coach

Mike Messere is retiring after coaching lacrosse at West Genessee high school for the last 50 years. (C) Alexandra Moreo 2018.

Click the play button above to hear about Mike Messere’s transition out of coaching.

Audio transcript: Messere Script 1

After 50 years with the program, West Genessee high school lacrosse coach Mike Messere is retiring. It hasn’t been the transition many coaches make, though. With a history built on tradition and old school values, Messere’s ways are running out.

“They’ve pretty much left me alone the administration,” Messere said, “because I’ve set my ways to prove that whatever I’m doing is right. And so I’ve kind of pretty much been left but now you see parent influence is starting to change things ya know and that kind of stuff , so I said yeah know I’ve been here long enough it’s time.”

Messere said that up until around 2010 his methods always worked. Then something changed. The kids didn’t want to buy in the same way , Messere said. Now if kids don’t make varsity right away or have to battle for playing time, they’d rather quit, he said. But Messere believes in his values that he passes on to his students.

“You dress a certain way, you behave yourself,” Messere said.  “In school you do school work and all that kind of stuff. You don’t you can’t be part of this. So if it’s important enough for them to be part of it they’ll do whatever you ask.”

Somewhere along the way the kids decided they didn’t want to do that anymore, and that’s where Messere drew the line. He thinks it’s time, he needs to move on from coaching and teaching.

“I think they need a younger person,” he said. “I’m kind of thinking of that. They do I think they need young people to coach young people, I lost that.”