Morning Jac: Torrisi Does Lacrosse Proud
Adam Torrisi, an assistant at Montclair State since 2003 and the interim head coach for the Red Hawks last year, was informed not too long ago that he would not be the next head coach at MSU. After being a finalist for the position, Torrisi was given the dreaded, "We're moving in a different direction" euphemism as he was shown the gate at the northern New Jersey school.
Coaches come and coaches go. There's really nothing new to this story, in that respect. Every institution and athletic director has the obligation to do what it feel is best for itself, and I'm sure that is the case at Montclair. Still, when one digs a little deeper, the lacrosse community as a whole should be rooting for Torrisi in his future endeavors.
When he assumed the interim role last year, Torrisi did so in the wake of the death of John Greco, who passed away suddenly at the age of 33 after coaching the Red Hawks for seven years. As outlined in a story I wrote last winter, Torrisi and Greco were best friends, and when Montclair athletic director Holly Gera approached Torrisi to be the interim head coach, the answer came quickly.
"It was really tough to think about lacrosse, but at the same time it sort of filled the void for me to take over for him," said Torrisi back in February. "It was almost like, 'Hey, I get to dedicate this to my best friend.' That meant a lot to me. Once the opportunity was put in front of me, there was really no question."
Perhaps if he was more aware of the bloodless nature of coaching hires, Torrisi might have demanded a stipulation that he would be the next head coach. Or maybe he could have held the university hostage for a larger salary or some other residual benefit. He certainly had the leverage at that point in the process considering his history with the program and the players. However, instead of holding his alma mater over a barrel in a time of need, he stepped up for the student-athletes who needed him and sacrificed his time in memory of a friend.
We may never know why Torrisi didn't get the job. Gera, the Montclair AD, refused to take my call recently, instead instructing her secretary to field my questions about the situation. Maybe Torrisi didn't have the experience the school was looking for. Perhaps there was an obstacle that made his hiring untenable or the application pool provided a more accomplished coach to fill the void. In Gera's defense, there are certainly potentially understandable reasons why Torrisi may have not been the right pick. With the massive promise that Montclair holds, the school will get a great coach who will continue the legacy started by Greco and continued by Torrisi, who led the program to an NCAA tourney berth in '11.
With that said, there is no getting past the stark contrast between Torrisi's willingness to stand tall and tackle a tough situation as opposed to the smallish silence coming from the Montclair athletic department. It is Torrisi's nobility shown during the entire process that makes him shine for our sport. He didn't want this blog written on his behalf; he just wanted to coach lacrosse and teach his kids. This, alas, is the plight of the "small time" collegiate coach. There's no limelight, no riches and certainly no guarantees. There is only the opportunity to do the right thing.
Torrisi did that.
"I guess nothing lasts forever," he wrote in an email. "I am certainly not done coaching, so I look forward to what is next."
So do I. Some team will be much better for having Adam Torrisi on its staff.