Hometown boy Ryan Liebel named Longmeadow boys lacrosse coach
LONGMEADOW – Ryan Liebel welcomes the expectations. He loves the challenge. And despite his youth, the 25-year-old will start his new job as Longmeadow High School boys lacrosse coach with a plan.
“Hard work, discipline, mental focus,” the Longmeadow native said “To me, a team means a family, a brotherhood. I want to instill that mentality in these kids, to make these kids know a team effort is how you become successful. Winning’s always nice, but it’s the process that’s most important.”
Liebel takes over the Lancers with only one season of varsity coaching under his belt – last year at Belchertown. But Longmeadow athletic director Michael Capotosto isn’t worried about youth or inexperience. He believes Liebel’s playing career, which took him from Longmeadow to Avon Old Farms, Hobart College and the University of Massachusetts, allowed him to learn from some of New England’s most respected coaches at the sport’s highest levels.
“If you can coach, you can coach. Even though he’s young, he’s very mature. He’s going to bring a lot of energy, and he has a wealth of knowledge as far as lacrosse goes,” Capotosto said. “He had great recommendations from (highly respected coaches Ted Garber of Avon and Greg Cannella of UMass). Him being a Longmeadow guy, prep, playing at the D-I level – that’s all experience he can draw from.”
Capotosto noted the high expectations surrounding the program might have thinned the list of applicants, but he said Liebel embraces the Lancers' winning tradition.
Liebel, who helped double Belchertown’s win total from three to six during his lone season, preached the importance of communication with his players and staff. He added he’s been blessed to have several role models to shape his leadership style and give him perspective on how to manage a team.
“We’re going to have a hard-nosed, physical, tough team,” he said. “Preparation and teamwork will be the two biggest reasons we’ll succeed.”