By Missy Schrott | firstname.lastname@example.org
Coach Joseph Gargiulo is bringing new energy to Bishop Ireton lacrosse as the team prepares for the start of its season this spring.
Gargiulo, 31, assumed the role of varsity boys’ head lacrosse coach on Dec. 15 after B.I. principal Denise Tobin named him the new head coach.
“I love being able to have the opportunity to build something from what’s already at play, to help it grow,” Gargiulo said of the B.I. lacrosse program.
“He’s just so passionate about it,” B.I. Athletic Director Bill Simmons said. “With high school kids, you need that enthusiasm. He understands there’s patience involved in building a program. It takes time. If it was easy, it’d already be done.’’
Last year, the boys’ varsity lacrosse team finished with an overall 2-17 record, leaving significant room for improvement. To bounce back from the losing season, Gargiulo said he would employ different strategies.
“Not to give my secrets away to the other coach,” he began before explaining that he plans to shape a fast-paced, run-and-gun offense with more shots on cage than the other team, balanced by a strong, man-to-man defense.
Gargiulo said the first step for a successful season would be getting a good turnout at team tryouts in February.
“The thing that I’m nervous about is there’s a lot of good, competitive high schools in the area, and we’re gonna have to make some noise to bring more recruits into Bishop Ireton lacrosse,” he said.
Despite tough competitors and B.I.’s past records, Gargiulo said he was excited to compete.
“I am excited to show the WCAC teams that we can still compete with them,” he said. “We have all of the same potential as those other schools. We’re capable of running and playing with any team. The competition is very hard … but like I said, it’s high school kids versus high school kids, so there’s no reason that we can’t compete.”
Leading up to the tryouts, Gargiulo will continue working with B.I.’s lacrosse players in an off-season program that includes weight lifting sessions, stick skill practices and one game per week. Once tryouts hit and he has his team assembled, however, Gargiulo will increase the intensity.
“My coaching style is very high-paced,” he said. “The game has been evolving into a much faster game, and that’s why we’re gonna be running practices at a very high pace – we’ll be either playing a game or practicing five to six days a week starting Feb. 20.”
Although Gargiulo is still building his B.I. coaching staff, so far it includes Brian Dilley, Eric Mann and Grant Consoletti, all former lacrosse players who competed at the collegiate level.
A former player himself, Gargiulo has been coaching since he graduated in 2007 from the University of Delaware, where he played for a year and a half on their Division I lacrosse team. Before coming to Bishop Ireton, he coached at Red Lion Christian Academy in Delaware and Trinity Christian School in Fairfax.
“He wakes up and wants to go play lacrosse,” Simmons said. “The thing about it is that Joe is just so excited, so enthusiastic. He’s got such a passion. He’s an easy guy to warm up to and get excited with for the program.”
Gargiulo said one of the things he is most looking forward to is seeing which players emerge as leaders and watching the team grow.
“I want to see the confidence of my younger players change,” Gargiulo said. “I want to see these young, hesitant guys grow into real confident, type A personalities, with lacrosse giving them confidence.”
“He’s excited to get started, the boys are excited, so I think we’re going [to] get off to a fast start,” Simmons said.
B.I. lacrosse kicks off the season with a March 9 home game against The Potomac School.