March 15, 2010

Cancer-Worn McGetrick Enjoys Hartford Return

by Chris R. Vaccaro | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

Bellarmine men's lacrosse coach Jack McGetrick, battling prostate cancer that has spread to his bones, was triumphant Saturday in his return to Hartford, where he coached for 11 years.

For 11 years, Jack McGetrick roamed the sidelines as the head coach at the University of Hartford, and then he was on to bigger and better things.

Classified as a part-time head coach -- with full-time responsibilities -- McGetrick, who was a teacher at nearby Somers High School in Somers, Conn., wanted to be a full-time paid head coach at a Division I lacrosse program. Hartford could not afford that at the time.

So, McGetrick, now 60, became the first head coach of the new program at Bellarmine University six years ago and hasn’t looked back. Saturday marked a momentous occasion, as McGetrick’s Bellarmine team played Hartford for the first time.

While things have progressed on the lacrosse field for McGetrick and the much-improved Knights, what’s more important is the battle the coach faces in life.

About 15 months ago, McGetrick was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The third and most severe dose of chemotherapy has wiped him clean of both good and bad cells throughout his bones.

For McGetrick, who is Hartford’s all-time leader in career victories with 87 and was the NCAA Division I Coach of the Year in 1997, this war against cancer is just another form of competition, something he thrives on.

“I intend on beating cancer,” he says. “I can’t say that every day is good, but I haven’t missed a practice or a game. Sometimes I have to really push myself.”

It’s striking that a former marathon runner and fitness freak could encounter such an unhealthy condition, but if any man should fight the most difficult fight, it’s McGetrick. He’s also, “one of the most likeable guys you’d ever want to meet,” said Pat Meiser, the Director of Athletics at Hartford. “He’s the most natural coach that I’ve ever been around. He loves the game and loves young people. Anybody who has ever met Jack knows how big his heart is.”

Half of the proceeds from the Hartford-Bellarmine game – $2,362 – were donated to the “Everybody Works for Jack” foundation, which was created to help McGetrick pay for his medical expenses. For him, it was a perfect weekend.

“It brought back a lot of fond memories,” he said. “I had some very good memories there. It was nice to be appreciated after all these years and see old friends. Plus it didn’t hurt winning.”

Bellarmine’s (4-3) Sean Doyle scored two goals in the final 3:39 of the game to give the Knights an 8-7 win over Hartford (1-4) for McGetrick, who intends on leading the program to top 20 status before he retires.
America East Notes

Jordan McBride
is on fire for Stony Brook, scoring 21 goals in four games. He had a game-high seven against Delaware in a 16-12 road win for the Seawolves… Binghamton’s 15 goals against Marist are the most the school has scored since 2006. The Bearcats beat Marist, 15-9. It was the first time in school history that three players scored a hat trick in the same game. Jeff Rurey and Matt Springer scored four, while Steve Carlson had three… UMBC dropped to 1-4 after a 10-5 loss to Princeton, but Kyle Wimer improved on his 24-game point streak… Geoff Worley may have recorded five points (3g, 2a) against the Virginia Military Institute in Vermont’s 12-8 win this weekend, but the Catamounts are going to have their hands full when they travel to play No. 1 Virginia on Tuesday... Albany dropped to 0-5 after losing to Ohio State, 11-6.

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