By Chris Goldberg
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 12/9/12
Charles Rizzuto has been named the head coach for the new girls’ program at Oyster Bay.
Rizzuto was head boys’ coach at Commack the past two years. He has coached girls’ and boys’ lacrosse for the past eight years; one of his jobs was serving as offensive coordinator for the Briarcliffe College’s men’s team.
Rizzuto was a two- time All Division One Suffolk County attackman at Sachem North who later starred at Pace University where he was named an Inside Lacrosse All-American.
Riizzuto answered these questions:
Question: What is your coaching background?
Rizzuto: “I have been coaching both boys and girls lacrosse at the scholastic and club levels for the past eight years. I started coaching lacrosse at Ossining High School in Westchester, as the volunteer offensive coordinator for their varsity team as I was finishing up my undergraduate degree. Upon moving back home to Long Island I got a job coaching at Walt Whitman as the head 7th grade coach.
“In my time there, I had the unique opportunity of consistently being moved up one level every season, staying with that original group from year to year. On the way home from our last game one season I received a call from Briarcliffe College, asking me if I would be interested in coming in for an interview to become their offensive coordinator. I was very interested so I went in, and was hired. That season we won the conference championship and finished with the second ranked scoring offense in the country.
“Being that I was about to finish my master’s degree in Physical Education following that season I decided I wanted to go back to coaching High School, and there was only one job I really wanted, the Head Varsity job at Commack. Fortunately, Commack hired me and we were able to accomplish a lot of things in my years there. In addition I have coached for the LI Stampede, the Roughriders organization in Oyster Bay, as well as my own travel organization, Anonymous Lacrosse.”
Why did you decide to start the program at Oyster Bay?
Rizzuto: “Well, it wasn’t my decision to start the program, but I can tell you why I decided to take this job. First off, my decision had nothing to do with leaving Commack and everything to do with coming to Oyster Bay. I enjoyed my time at Commack, the administration was supportive, my coaches were enthusiastic and the kids were dedicated.
“When I left, I told the kids I feel like we built a house from the ground up, and I am leaving before we put the roof on. And that is true; watch out for them in the years to come. With that said, I was very excited going through the process here at Oyster Bay. I teach here and I know what kind of kids we have. I know many of the girl’s that play lacrosse and they are great kids. There is a good feeder program in place, and the Athletic Director, Superintendent and Principal are all terrific people. I couldn’t really ask to step into a better situation to build a successful program.
“When I started coaching there were five things I wanted to do. First, I wanted to serve as a feeder for a program, developing the talent at the younger levels for the varsity team, and I did that at Whitman. Next, I wanted to win a college championship, and I did that at Briarcliffe. Third, I wanted to take a program that was down, and turn them over into a successful, respected program, and that process was under way at Commack.
“Even though I left before we finished the job, but I am confident those kids will get it done. Lastly, I wanted to start a program, and win a high school championship. Now that I have the job here at Oyster Bay, there is only one thing on that list left.”
What are your goals – short-term and long-term?
Rizzuto: “My short term goals are simple, build tradition, develop a sense of program top to bottom and create a mindset where success is expected. The program is new, clean slate, and creating tradition and a sense of program is very important. There are many things that I am very eager to implement, but I am also all about allowing the girls to create some of their own traditions. This isn’t my program, it’s ours.
“As far as long term goals go, I want Oyster Bay Girls’ Lacrosse to be considered among the elite girls’ lacrosse programs in the state. If the highest level of on field success you can achieve is state championships, and you do not strive for that, than you are selling your kids short. In addition, I want playing lacrosse here at Oyster Bay to provide more college options for my players.
“Even if they do not choose to play lacrosse at the next level, the simple process of being recruited or watching the college game can introduce a student athlete to a school they may have never heard of before, and that school could wind up being the perfect fit.”
What is your coaching philosophy?
Rizzuto: “My philosophy starts at the root of what a coach’s main responsibility is, remembering why your players are there in the first place. They want to be successful and have fun doing it. I don’t coach because I want to be known as a great coach, I coach to serve the kids that want to play, and help to develop them into mature young adults, with the ability to set goals and put forth the effective effort necessary to achieve them.
“Athletics is a great extension of the school and I expect my players to remember that. I want them to hold themselves accountable for their actions both as a group and as individuals. Being an athlete is much more than mere athletic ability, it is a big part of who you are, it is how you carry yourself everywhere you go.
“As far as lacrosse, I try to put my players in the best situation for them to be successful. I cannot walk into this situation at Oyster Bay thinking I am going to run any particular scheme yet, because I need to see what we have, and what our strengths and weaknesses are first.
“ In my career I have had success playing many different styles of lacrosse, and I will develop our schemes based on what we do well, and work on what we struggle with so we can broaden what we are able to implement. I think I am going to keep everything else a secret for as long as I can.”