Tony Seaman Wins Florida State Title with Saint Andrew's: 'They Keep Me Alive'


Tony Seaman became the school's head coach prior to the 2015 season.

Playoff success is nothing new to Tony Seaman.

From 1982-2011, Seaman’s teams reached the NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse tournament 19 times. He guided three different schools (Penn, Johns Hopkins, Towson) to the NCAA tournament.

Then, after winning multiple championships as the general manager of Major League Lacrosse’s Denver Outlaws, he became the team’s head coach prior to the 2019 season. Denver played in the championship game in both 2019 and 2020, making it five straight seasons with a title game berth.

The 2021 lacrosse season continued his amazing legacy, but in an entirely different arena. Seaman helped lead Saint Andrew’s School to the Florida Class 1A state championship with a 13-5 victory over St. Edward’s.

“We’ve been close a couple times. This year, we put it all together and did a great job and were successful,” he said. “It’s something to be pleased about. It’s so good when you have so many good people around you.”

After Seaman’s final season at Towson in 2011, he became the general manager for the Outlaws, which was mostly a seasonal position.

He said he and his wife looked into moving to Florida for retirement. When the Outlaws went to Boca Raton one summer to play the Florida Launch, Seaman made the trip and received an inquiry from Saint Andrew’s about coaching the varsity boys’ lacrosse team.

After 30 years of coaching college players and starting that summer working with professional athletes, a high school job was not on Seaman’s radar.

“My thought was, ‘Are you crazy?’” he said. “’To be with parents and kids?’”

Still, Seaman met with the school’s headmaster and took a tour of the school in Boca Raton, which he called the most luxurious and well-landscaped high school he had ever seen in his life. After a day of thought, he said if he could pick a couple professional players to round out his staff and give them an opportunity to work in the school, he would accept the offer. Saint Andrew’s obliged.

Seaman was named the head coach prior to the 2015 season, and he added Charlie Cipriano, who earned a position in the counseling department, and Brendan Gleason, who had already been hired to work in the school’s physical education department, to the staff.

R.J. Dawson — who had been the varsity coach the four seasons prior and an assistant coach for the program before that — was retained as an assistant coach, and he was eager to get to work with Seaman.

“My dream school, partially because I played against one of their defenders at a camp, I always thought Towson State was a really cool spot, and that’s where Coach was,” Dawson said. “I joked with him and said, ‘Coach, you really didn’t recruit me at all.’”

With the Outlaws, Seaman got the opportunity to work with John Grant Jr., Matt Bocklet, Max Adler and Mikie Schlosser — some of the best players in the world. Those relationships, and so many other connections he has in the sport — “It’s not six degrees of separation with anyone with Coach Seaman, it’s one degree,” Dawson said — gave him even more credibility with his new teenage players.

“To have a coach that is super experienced especially at the highest levels, it’s super motivating,” senior captain Corey Frydman said. “His feedback is very inspiring, and his criticism is very helpful and helping players to get to the next level and helping players be the best they can be. He’s been a great mentor.”

Florida sanctioned boys’ high school lacrosse in 2008. Saint Andrew’s, which had won numerous championships throughout the 1980s, 90s and early 2000s, won state championships in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012. While the program remained near the top of the standings for the next seven years, a period that included multiple trips to the semifinals, the team wasn’t able to finish the job.

In 2020, the team was ranked first in the state before the COVID-19 pandemic prematurely ended the season. Dawson said that disappointment fueled the players this spring. Frydman added that not only did the players want to win for themselves, they also wanted to do it for Seaman.

“Every day he would tell us how bad he wants it. Every day he was motivating us to do more and more,” he said. “That’s his goal, to get us as the best players we can be. When I know that, it pushes me to go harder because I know someone like that believes in me, so I have to give back to him for his time, and I have to prove I can do those things. He believes in me, so I have to show him why he should.”

The championship run was almost derailed for a second consecutive season. Despite undergoing a delayed season full of extra safety precautions and protocols — “It’s a new experience to coach with a mask on,” Seaman said — Saint Andrew’s was enjoying a perfect season. Then the team needed to quarantine for 14 days.

Counting down the days, Seaman believed the first day the team would be eligible to return to the field would be the day after the first round of the state playoffs, but since there were seven teams and the first seed earned a bye, his team’s first day back ended up being its first playoff game.

Because of the unique season and the way the team had to overcome adversity, Seaman said this championship season would be one of the most special he ever coached in.

“This was one of my favorite championships,” he said. “I felt so good for these kids. It was a sacrifice for all of them because of the pandemic and the scariness of testing positive. For them to ride through the whole year, this is a very special championship.”

Saint Andrew’s will be without Frydman next year as he graduates and goes on to play at UMass for Greg Cannella, whose father was Seaman’s first boss at Lynbrook High School on Long Island. They shouldn’t expect to be without Seaman, however.

He said he gets asked frequently about how much longer he will be on the sidelines, but he has no intention of leaving any time soon.

“They keep me younger. They keep me alive,” he said. “It’s so much fun to hear them talk about school and dates for the prom and the pandemic and how they’re handling it and who’s coming into school and the college thing.

“It keeps me going. It keeps the blood flowing, and the competitive spirit keeps me younger. I love the relationships. I love the kids. The parents are terrific. That’s been good.”

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