“A Quiet Confidence.” That’s one of the ways Farmingdale head coach Mike Hungerford would describe his team heading into the 2020 season. Coach Hungerford has been a part of Farmingdale’s storied program as a player and now as a head coach. Being a coach for almost 30 years means that Hungerford knows what it takes to win. This year he and the Dalers are looking to get over the hump and win the Nassau County Championship. Read more about coach Hungerford’s long lasting ties to Farmingdale and his views on the 2020 season in a recent interview with the LILJ.
Q. How did you get into coaching lacrosse?
A. I started coaching lacrosse in 1993 as a volunteer assistant on the Farmingdale HS junior varsity. The next year I took a varsity assistant coaching position at Plainview JFK HS under Joe Baccarella, working with the defense and goalies. I have been coaching varsity lacrosse ever since. I have been lucky to have coached with and learned from some all-time greats in Nassau County lacrosse: Bob Hartranft, Buddy Krumenacker, Dennis Bonn, and Joe Baccarella.
Q. What is it like coaching a successful program like Farmingdale?
A. I am very honored to be the coach at Farmingdale. As an alumni who played for Coach Hartranft I am very aware of the tradition of our program. There is an amount of pressure to succeed, to continue the fact that we have averaged 14 wins a year since 1974, to produce excellent players. But I also want our players to have a great experience playing here, to learn life lessons, and to grow into outstanding young men. Those goals transcend wins and losses, but by focusing on those goals winning becomes the by-product.
Q. What are some of the keys to having sustained success year in and year out?
A. I think the keys to our success over many years comes from many things. We have great kids that come from great families who have an outstanding work ethic. We also have had a continuity of coaching that few other schools have had and we have outstanding assistant coaches who are great teachers of the game and who are all professional educators. Men such as Eric Dunne, John Campbell and Ken Garcia are great to work with, while our lower level coaches such as Joe Baccarella, Rob Foley, CJ Leary, and Jeff Rysanek have done a great job as well. Finally, our youth program has improved a lot over the years preparing the kids and getting kids to play at a young age.
Q. What are the goals that you would like to accomplish this season?
A. We return a number of talented players from last year’s 13-4 team. We feel that we are contenders for the Nassau County Championship. But I don’t focus on that. Instead we talk about “winning today” and being “Relentless” every day-about school, family, and lacrosse.
Q. Do you believe that last seasons experience will help the players who are returning this season?
A. Having so many players back from last year will certainly help. I think we all felt we didn’t play or coach our best last year in the semis-and that’s not being disrespectful to Syosset-they outplayed us and deserved to win. Last year we have peaks and valleys all year long, this year if we can stay healthy, I am hoping our experience will help us play more consistent lacrosse all season long. And we have great captains and senior leadership which always helps.
Q. What are some characteristics you would use to describe this years team?
A. I think we have a quiet confidence, and certainly a level of toughness that is hard to find these days. And we are pretty unselfish, no one seems to care who gets the credit. If we can bottle those traits for a whole season, I like our chances. And we have some talented players for sure.