Tony Resch Reflects on Coaching Career Ahead of Hall of Fame Induction

On Saturday evening at the Grand Lodge in Cockeysville, Md., Tony Resch will be inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame as a truly great coach.

As a head coach in the National Lacrosse League, he won four league championships in eight seasons with the Philadelphia Wings and was selected as the NLL’s coach of the year in 2001.

In Major League Lacrosse, Resch piloted the Philadelphia Barrage to the MLL title in two of his four seasons and was the league’s coach of the year in both 2006 and 2008. He has also served as a long-time MLL assistant coach for four different clubs and was a part of three additional MLL championships.

Internationally, Resch served as an assistant coach for the U.S. men’s national team in both 2010 and 2018 and helped the team win the gold medal both times. He also served as head coach for the 2015 U.S. men’s indoor team that captured the bronze medal.

For the past 18 years, Resch has also served as an assistant coach for the LaSalle High School boys’ team in Wyndmoor, Pa., with four state championships and two runner-up finishes. He has been previously inducted into four halls of fame, including the NLL Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame in 2017.

Ahead of his induction into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, Resch joined USA Lacrosse’s Paul Ohanian via Zoom to discuss his life in lacrosse. Below is an excerpt of their conversation.

Paul Ohanian: When did coaching become a goal of yours?

Tony Resch: It’s a really good question. It’s funny, there weren’t a lot of camps in [the Philadelphia] area. And just the other day, I was driving by a high school with my wife, and I said, ‘That’s the first place that I ever I worked at a summer camp.’ Some older guys asked me to help out the Main Line Lacrosse Camp. And that was the first time I ever had been to a camp, let alone been an instructor, and I just loved it. I love the interaction with the kids. I’m trying to teach them and help them be better players. And so that was really the first thing, and I did a whole bunch of camps after that. And in those days and summers, you could travel around a little bit and hang out with friends and teammates. And so I did that through college. I’ve been in education for 30 years now. But I started out in sales. And I had an opportunity to go back to my old high school, Penn Charter, as basically like an extra assistant. And that was, again, my introduction. I started substitute teaching at that point, and it just kind of dovetailed into coaching. The teacher coach model is one that I really have enjoyed. And so that was my first experience just being an assistant coach. And again, just that opportunity to be around the game and work with young people, I just always had and still to this day, just get energy from that.

Paul Ohanian: What has kept you coaching for as long as you have?

Tony Resch: I would say for me, without question, it’s just relationships and the opportunity to really get to know people and for them to get to know me. It’s been interesting. Obviously, I’m much older now when I’m working with a high school student athlete versus when I started when I was 30 years old, but I still get the same excitement when the season is coming up.

Paul Ohanian: Has your coaching style changed with improvements in technology?

Tony Resch: I think it has changed in a good way. And I think being an educator has helped inform this. When you’ve been around a long time as a teacher and coach working with young people, you get that question 'are our kids different?' My short version is that I don’t think kids are different. I work in an all boys school, and the young guys do a lot of the dumb and smart things that I did at their age. But I do think what has changed is just the life they live, influenced by social media and the Internet. What they have to encounter and work through is very different. But I stayed involved, and through talking to all sorts of different coaches and people with different experiences, I’ve learned to try to meet the students where they are. I do believe fundamentally that coaching on the field is just a different classroom. So yeah, just trying to support young people. I grew up when whatever injuries we had, just rub some dirt on it and get back out there. And you know, that may have been one extreme and, now I think I’m much more aware and supportive. I try to provide what that young person needs and or not so young, right, even at the professional level, I think the awareness of just the all the different parts of what can make a young person best able to accomplish goals. I try to provide whatever creative environment that will do that, along with other coaches that I work with. 


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