DARIEN, Conn. — Chaminade boys lacrosse coach Jack Moran wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
After 44 years and 600 wins with the Flyers, that’s still true.
Moran became the seventh high school lacrosse coach in the country to reach 600 career wins in Chaminade’s 17-7 win at Darien High School on Thursday. The Flyers (6-1) presented their coach with a game ball, posters and red and silver balloons that read ‘600’ after the game.
“Being at Chaminade’s a really special place. I never wanted to be anywhere else,” said Moran, who is the fourth coach in New York to achieve the feat. “The kids are really hard-working, and they’re great kids. Why would I want to do anything else?”
Since 1979, the Chaminade boys lacrosse team is 600-150 under Moran. The Flyers have reached the CHSAA finals 37 times in the Moran era, winning 20 titles.
On the significance of 600 wins, Moran said he thought about his family, the Chaminade administration and everyone who helped him with opportunities to become a coach 44 years ago.
Moran, 70, said he’s still coaching for the kids. In a way, Moran said he sees coaching as another form of teaching, another opportunity to help his players grow.
“I’m big about teaching them, from all the littlest things: how we dress, how we practice, to all the little things that we do,” Moran said. “I’m proud of them for how hard they’ve worked.”
That philosophy has molded generations of Chaminade lacrosse players, including Thomas O’Connell, who played for the Flyers in Moran’s 500th victory, a 13-6 win over St. Anthony’s in 2014.
O’Connell then played college lacrosse at Maryland, where he won a national championship in 2017. Now, he’s an assistant coach on Moran’s coaching staff, a unique connection between the 500- and 600-win milestones.
“You can see these kids wherever they go, especially at the next level, they are excelling because of what they have established here,” O’Connell said. “He’s established this culture that I don’t think you find at many other places.”
A culture that O’Connell rejoined, eager to soak in again. He said he has a different perspective on Moran’s teachings now as a Flyers coach rather than a player.
But the standard hasn’t changed. O’Connell said Moran holds his coaching staff to that expectation of excellence, too.
“Seeing the time he puts in every day with these kids, he’s never about himself, and he’s really good at keeping these guys in check but then also raising them up,” O’Connell said. “It’s a year-round effort.”
To reach 600, Moran and Chaminade crossed state lines to face a No. 10 nationally ranked Darien team that beat the Flyers last year. Interestingly, Darien coach Jeff Brameier is also a member of the exclusive club and has 650 career wins.
Gavin Creo scored five goals with two assists for the Flyers, who never trailed in their widest margin of victory this year.
Nine players scored for Chaminade, and goalie PJ Verdi stopped eight shots. Chaminade’s only blemish remains its season-opening two-goal loss to St. Anthony’s.
“This is a special place. It’s not just another lacrosse program, it’s one of those lacrosse programs,” Creo said. “It’s not always because of the team, but what Coach Moran has built.”
Creo, a senior committed to Richmond, has scored 11 goals with three assists in Chaminade’s last two games. Brendan Reilly, Connor Kuttin and Aidan Lough each added multiple goals in Moran’s milestone day.
“The fact that [Moran’s] there, it’s a reminder to me that I should be grateful for the success he’s able to bring us,” Creo said. “He always knows what to say, and it’s not always necessarily what you want to hear, which I think is the best part about him.”