Source: Sherman Publications

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New lacrosse leader has coaching background

by Gabriel L. Ouzounian

March 16, 2011

Sean Raymor prepares to receive a hard pass during Monday's tryouts. Photo by Gabriel Ouzounian
Lake Orion Boys' Lacrosse is looking at the upcoming season with fresh eyes thanks to new coach Brad Thomas.

A graduate of Central Michigan University, Thomas began coaching almost immediately after he finished playing lacrosse at the school. He said he was happy to be coaching for Lake Orion and that the athletes at the school have proven that they're dedicated to making the season a productive one.

"Jack Burkal, Nick DiPonio, Sam Kana, Grant Glende and Sean Raymor - all returning players- have done a phenomenal job but being very vocal and consistent in their training," said Thomas. "They've showed up every day with a great attitude, and that has really fosters a nice atmosphere for the team.

"The maturity of this group of guys is excellent."

Thomas said one of the team's greatest challenges for the season would be getting used to him as the new coach. He detailed how coaches inherently have different play styles, philosophies and trends,

He believes once the connection is made, the team will truly excel.

"It's a give and take thing, and once we get a good feel for each other, things will take off," said Thomas. "But there will definitely be bumps in the road along the way - there's no getting around that."

Besides his relationship with the team, Thomas has been doing his homework on Lake Orion's rivals including Oxford and Clarkston. Besides these classic opponents, he said Troy Athens would provide a good measure of how far the team has grown.

"Oxford and Clarkston are our classic rivals, and those will always be great games to look forward to, but Troy Athens will serve as a very good measuring stick for the guys," said Thomas. "They're one of the top teams in the state, consistently, and all I can say is that we're all looking forward to our game with them."

Thomas has been coaching lacrosse for three years, two of those years at CMU where they managed to make playoffs both years. He played the sport for four years at Eastern Michigan University for one year, finishing the remainder at CMU. He said he felt the situation that allowed him to coach for the university was "unique."

"They had a coach lined up and ready to go, but he fell through at the last second," said Thomas. "They asked me 'will you do it, can you coach,' and I just went for it."

Thomas's father is currently a football coach at South Lyon High School.

Thomas is a special education teacher in Lapeer.