IHS lacrosse coach Frank Welch

Frank graduated from IHS three years later, and he took his game to Ithaca College.  After graduating from IC, Frank worked as an assistant coach for the Bombers before taking over the Little Red program.  43 years later, Welch has decided that the time has come to leave his coaching position. 

Welch told me,  “I knew at the beginning of the season that this would be it, and at sectionals I was talking to some guys I have coached against for many years, and I told them ‘It’s time.’” 

Welch had already been the Little Red’s coach for many years when I took over this column in 1992, and on more than one occasion I tracked him down to talk about his teams. He would always make time to help his players get the recognition they deserved, and I was always amazed that Frank knew virtually everything every player had ever done. He had been watching them and helping them develop their lacrosse game since they started in the youth leagues, and he worked on assembling the building blocks of his teams well before they got to the varsity level. He knew his own team, he knew the opponents, and he knew how to adjust his game plan from season to season, game to game and play to play.  He sent countless players to all levels of collegiate lacrosse, and Ithaca College’s Jeff Long – who has known Welch for four decades, if not longer – told me in an interview earlier this year, “…the players coming out of Frank Welch’s program have a great lacrosse IQ.  Frank challenges them to be bigger, stronger and faster, and he provides a great foundation.”  

Another coach who knows a thing or two about lacrosse – Hall of Fame coach Richie Moran – said, “Frank has done a remarkable job over the years.  His contributions to the game are extensive, and he has done a great job in preparing his players for the future.  Athletically, academically, his players are prepared.” 

Frank appreciates the accolades, and he’s grateful to the coaches that put their time into helping him over the years.  “I appreciate Jeff Long’s kind words,” Frank stated.  “He’s one of the greatest players ever, and he’s a great coach too.”  He mentioned Tommy Carmean, who is now coaching at Guilford in North Carolina, and he appreciates the guidance from Tommy Harkness, whose father, Ned, was the legendary lacrosse and hockey coach at Cornell.  Frank recalls the times the elder Harkness showed up, and he says, “It was like God coming down from the hills!” 

No conversation about Welch’s development as a coach would be complete without mentioning the two men he considers his primary mentors.  “It was Bob and Terry Cullen that got me started,” Welch offered.

Frank was forthcoming in conveying that he hopes that his assistant, Pat Hovey, is seriously considered as his successor.  “I hope he gets it,” Welch said.  “The kids love him, and he deserves it.” 

I also asked Frank if he planned to play in any senior leagues or tournaments, and he said, “I haven’t lost a step in 20 years, but then again, 20 years ago I could barely move.” 

• • •

I’d like to congratulate the Little Red girl’s lacrosse team on taking down Corning twice this season (after having not beaten them in nine years) and winning the Sectional championship.  Senior midfielder Danielle Hemley (who will play at SUNY Brockport next year) told me, “When we beat Corning on their home field, we knew going into the Sectional final that we could beat them again.  We put it all out there.”

Her mother, Diane, added, “This was Danielle’s fourth year on varsity, and after 3 years of heartbreak, beating Corning was very emotional.  It was well-deserved.” 

• • •

Those who have planned to buy Richie Moran’s autobiography will have another chance, as he will be doing a book signing from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday at the Cornell Bookstore. 

(1) comment

Scotty Rude

CONGRATS Frank !!!!!

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