YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- Chris Grassi once tore it up on the field for the Yorktown Huskers as a defenseman. Now he patrols the sidelines teaching and mentoring future lacrosse players.
Grassi, who graduated from Yorktown High School in 1995, has been the lacrosse coach at Southbury High School in Connecticut for seven years.
"It's been great," Grassi said. "I've been able to make inroads in our youth program."
Growing up in Yorktown, Grassi started playing lacrosse in 7th grade and quickly discovered his passion. He said the friends he made playing lacrosse remain his closest friends. He said he has fond memories of playing in the Murphy Cup.
"That network is still there," Grassi said. "I'm always bumping into former teammates. I'm often coaching against people I guarded in school. I want my kids to realize that that can be them."
Grassi said he is trying to get his players to appreciate the game and be good players on and off the field.
"I want them to be more responsible and accountable," Grassi said. "I'm always on them about staying on top of their studies and being good members of the community."
Lacrosse teaches the fundamentals of physical system and helps teaches great discipline.
"It can really impact someone's life," Grassi said. "You're going to make a lot of failures early in practice and in life, you have to learn from each one of them. I have players reaching out to me after they graduate and telling me that something I said impacted me."
Since he took over, Southbury has won conference tournaments and and been in state tournaments. Grassi was even named Coach of the Year. Grassi said he is also seeing lacrosse on the rise in the site.
"When I started coaching there were 70 varsity teams," Grassi said. "Now there's 92. There's been a big boom and there's another 5 to 10 teams trying to get varsity recognition."
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