The accolades for the Smyrna High School boys lacrosse team keep rolling in for the Eagles. The latest honor comes in the form of the State Coach of the Year Award for Mike Judy.
The award comes on top of the program's first winning season (10-5), first state tournament berth, and Judy's Henlopen Conference Coach of the Year Award. Plus there have been all-conference honors and a Sportsmanship Award from the Delaware Lacrosse Officials Association. Seniors Jordan Kiger and Colin Hoveln were also selected to participate in this year's all-star game.
Judy accepted the State Coach of the Year Award Thursday night at the All-State Banquet at the Modern Maturity Center, which is where the team also received their Sportsmanship Award.
Judy was surprised and honored when he received the conference coaching award in the team's second year as a varsity program. Winning the state coach award is unbelievable, Judy said.
In fact when a close friend emailed Judy congratulating him for the award, Judy had no idea what the friend was talking about until he checked his emails, including the email from the Delaware Lacrosse Association.
"I was floored to say the least," Judy said.
Judy never envisioned winning individual awards for coaching nor did he see himself in the same light as the men who coached him. Receiving these awards has caused Judy to reflect on the men who nurtured him in various sports including Mike Drass (Wesley College), Joe Mangano (North Stafford HS in Va.), and Bob Healy (Salesianum). Judy said he is grateful for the lessons passed on to him by his coaches.
"I believe that the coaches throughout the state recognize how hard it is to succeed with any program, let alone a new program," Judy said. "I am flattered that they would choose me for the award and I am proud to accept it for our program."
As for the Sportsmanship Award, Judy said it was also an awesome award to receive.
"It reinforces the way that we set out to treat others," Judy said. "It's a valuable lesson for our young guys to learn."
Continuing the success
It can take time to build a new sports program, but in three years – one of which was as a junior varsity team – the Eagles have seen success. Judy said Smyrna's blue-collar, hard-working community values are at the foundation of the program so there was little doubt the team would eventually produce a competitive team within the first decade of inception. However, Judy doesn't think anyone expected this level of early success.
With a large group of seniors gone thanks to graduation, it's now time for the younger players to pick up the reins and continue the success.
"We graduated a great group of seniors who shared our vision of success. They realized quickly that working hard, committing to something bigger than themselves, and never giving up will afford success in all they do," Judy said. "As the seniors move onto bigger and better things, we have a hungry group of underclassmen ready to continue building the traditions of the Smyrna lacrosse program."
Email Jennifer Dailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.