The Miller Place Girls fell under .500 during the 2019 season. With a new era at hand, the team looks to Coach Dan Spallina to make things happen. The Long Island Native has grown up around the world of lacrosse with a playing career that includes two county championships for Rocky Point High School. He graduated from Hofstra University and has accumulated a grand coaching track record since. 2020 will be the Head Coach’s first full year with the team, a year that he hopes to get the program back on track. The 3x Suffolk County Coach of the year has big plans for the Miller Place program in the years to come. The LILJ recently spoke with Coach Spallina on his coaching philosophies and prospects for the 2021 season. Read the full interview below!
Q: How did you get started coaching lacrosse?
A: I started coaching JV at Rocky Point back in 2005 under my brother Joe (current Head Coach at Stony Brook). It was a situation I never saw coming and I really had no intention on coaching girls lacrosse. I was very fortunate to learn from one of the best coaches and have never really looked back. I found myself in one of the best programs on the Island learning under the best coach on the island. It was a win win.
Q: Can you list some of your main coaching philosophies?
A: Some of my main philosophies center around the idea of establishing and practicing a healthy and fun environment to learn and love the game of lacrosse. I believe in outworking and out preparing our opponents. The most successful years I have had in coaching are the years that the team takes to those traits.
Q: How does it feel starting you first season at Miller Place?
A: It feels absolutely amazing. The girls and community have been incredible in welcoming me to the program and I cannot say enough about Mr. Petrie. He is a great guy who knows exactly what it takes to get a team to the next level.
Before taking on this position I did my homework on who was on staff and who I can add. Having Mike Hall and Chris Meyer has been insane for me. Both guys are hard working family men who know what it takes to develop next level athletes. 4/5 staff members on all levels are Miler Place community members and the 5th is the daughter of an outstanding physical education teacher for over 25+ years at Miller Place. Strong community ties is a beautiful thing and it really has paid off in the first couple months on the job.
Q: The team went 7-9 in 2019. How do you plan on improving this record in next season?
A: This years team will be much different. I believe in the girls and I believe in the work that we have put in leading up to this season. We have talent, leadership, depth and lots of untapped potential. It is mine and my staffs job to get the most out of them and show them what it takes to win. Lots of special athletes up and down the roster. Before our little “Coronavirus” break, this team was doing an amazing job of pulling on the same rope in the same direction, and we look forward for that to continue from this year and beyond. We are hungry to prove our preseason rank wrong.
Q: Where do you see the Miller Place Lacrosse Program heading in the years to come?
A: We are young and deep this year, but we aren’t using that as an excuse. Our youth should set us up for long term success and that’s what I want. My first meeting with the girls I explained that I didn’t want to be a one hit wonder (I might have referenced Milli Vanilli). I want long term success that is motivated to achieve more then the year prior! I feel that this year is a pivot year and we can really put this sport in this community on the map.