By: Wells Dusenbury
After a year away from the sidelines, legendary lacrosse coach Jeff Goldberg is coming back. The former St. Andrew's head coach has agreed to become the Associate Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator for St. Thomas Aquinas this upcoming season.
"At this point in my career, I just want to connect with young players and have an impact on their performance," Goldberg said.
Goldberg served as St. Andrew's head lacrosse coach for 17 seasons before the school parted ways with him on August 20, 2010. During his tenure at St. Andrew's, Goldberg won 14 state titles and left as Florida's all-time leader in career wins. The man who's number two on that list is Terry Crowley, St. Thomas Aquinas' head coach.
"The year I've taken off, I've had a lot of time to figure out what my next move is and he's the guy I felt enamored by," said Goldberg. "If I was to be an assistant coach and to work for someone, it would be with him."
Goldberg and Crowley certainly have a long history together. The two have known each other for 25 years, dating back to their days in Long Island. When Goldberg moved down to Florida in 1991, he ended up sharing an apartment with Crowley as well. Since then, the two have coached together on Team Florida and Florida Extreme.
"When St. Andrew's let him go, I said, 'the door is always open,'" Crowley said.
Now on the Raiders' staff, Goldberg will have to make the transition from having full control of a team, to just running a portion of a team, something he hasn't done since he was the Associate Head Coach at St. Andrew's in 1993. But despite having such a successful track record as a head coach and having a very hands-on approach, Goldberg isn't worried about co-existing with Crowley.
"He's the guy who would allow me to do my job without getting offended by my work ethic and the way I coach," said Goldberg.
"That's the big question," Crowley said laughing. "How can two big egos handle one little sideline?"
"Our personalities work well together...I'm lucky to have him on board."
While some might be surprised to see Goldberg taking an assistant position, the former St. Andrew's head coach has no intentions of staying away from the spotlight for too long.
"I would like to be a head coach next year and will aggressively look for that," Goldberg said.
Crowley acknowledges he probably won't have he luxury of Goldberg long term.
"I'll have probably only have him for a year, because everybody and their mother is going to want him," said Crowley.
In the meantime, Goldberg is fully up to the task at hand with the Raiders. St. Thomas Aquinas finished last year 15-3 with a trip to the state quarterfinals, but look to go farther in 2012. The Raiders kick off the season on February 21st against American Heritage-Plantation, but it'll be their regular season finale that will have everyone buzzing: an April 13th match-up at St. Andrew's.
"It'll be the first time I've been back since I left August 20th," said Goldberg, who admits he'll carry a lot of emotion into the game. "I'm going to be proud because I never lost the connection between the players and the parents, so it's a win-win situation for me."
While a victory would clearly be sweet for Goldberg after being forced out, he won't define his post-St. Andrew's career solely on the outcome of the game.
"I want to win, but at the end of the day, there still people I have a lot of admiration for and have a connection with."
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