FLG’s Boys Coach, Eric Dunne, is an expert in bringing humor and volume to the sidelines. Dunne also works as a social studies teacher at Farmingdale Senior High School, and coaches the boy’s lacrosse team. When he’s not teaching or coaching, Dunne finds time to spend with family and friends or practicing Jiu-Jitsu. His loud nature and martial arts skills definitely help Coach Dunne run a tight ship. Get to know more about Coach Eric Dunne:
Q: What is your favorite part about coaching the next generation of lacrosse?
A: In my opinion, the best part of coaching is always the relationships you build with the players and watching them develop over time. You’re bound to have some really funny stories and great memories because lacrosse players are a unique breed. I’m lucky enough to coach some amazing young men. I get to watch them become better lacrosse players as well as leaders and role models. That is what gives me the most joy.
Q: What inspired you to begin coaching and stay a part of the lacrosse community post-college?
A: In my sophomore year at UAlbany I tore my ACL, and since I couldn’t play in the summer I had an opportunity to coach with Al Hodish for the Long Island Metro lacrosse club. This is where I met Mike and Corey Winkoff. Corey was in ninth grade at the time and was even smaller and looked more fragile than he does now. I started working with the defensemen who were athletic and talented but hadn’t had some of the position-specific coaching that we got at the collegiate level. Watching them improve over the course of the summer as the techniques clicked and they had those “ah-ha” moments where they really began to understand how to play the position was what got me hooked on coaching. I’ve been doing it ever since.
Q: What was the most valuable lesson you learned about the sport of lacrosse during your time at UAlbany?
A: This is a tough one because my coaches taught me a tremendous amount both on and off the field. In terms of lacrosse, Coach Marr was always big on playing fast and not relaxing on the field. We weren’t supposed to be tight, but rather always engaged in what was going on and making sure we were dialed into the details.
Q: What do you think is the most important skill to have when coaching both sides of the ball?
A: I think when you’re trying to coach both sides of the ball it’s important to be in constant communication with your players because you don’t have the benefit of timeouts and breaks at the end of each quarter. There are so many opportunities to learn in a game and you don’t want to have to try and address them all at the half or after the game.
Q: When you’re not playing or coaching on the field, what’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?
A: My wife and I are both highly social people so there’s a lot of time spent with family and friends, but in terms of hobbies, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has been a large part of my life over the last nine years. I hate running with a passion, so it’s a great work out and definitely good for relieving stress. It’s also been nice to be the athlete again and to learn a new skill set. Helps keep the players in line too.
Q: Are there any particular coaches, former teammates or professional players you keep in mind when coming up with drills or plays?
A: You can always pick up something new from coaches and players at any level. I’m always looking to steal and adapt drills and concepts. Deemer Class has been putting out some great offensive content. I think when we design new drills they come out of breaking down skills or techniques we’ve been struggling with more than replicating another player or coach’s style.
Q: When pressure’s on, what is your go-to pep-talk in the huddle?
A: It depends, you really need to know your players and read the situation. Sometimes it’s a matter of them tightening up. You need to have everyone take a deep breath and settle in. There are other times where it’s a lack of focus and effort. Then they need to be reminded that it’s a game of runs and they need to get that momentum back. Pep-talks are usually more of a pre-game activity and are less PG.
Q: How does coaching the FLG boys teams differ from coaching on the collegiate level at Potsdam or Molloy?
A: Coaching college/varsity is a totally different animal than coaching travel lacrosse. The ability to practice 6 days a week makes game day much easier. Players have a higher skill level and generally a higher lacrosse IQ at the collegiate level, so everything is taught much quicker. There is also the motivation of playing time. This helps athletes compete much harder and the attention to detail becomes that much more important.
Q: How has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted your previous season? How has this changed your outlook on seasons to come?
A: Last season being cancelled to Covid was a huge disappointment. We had 17 seniors on a really talented Farmingdale team. They had a great shot at making a deep run into the playoffs. My heart broke for the players who put a ton of time into it and didn’t get their senior year. We always take advantage of opportunities, and try not to take time together for granted, but this was a real eye-opener. I feel really bad for the 2021 class now that they find themselves in the same position as the 2020’s. They could potentially miss out on a year and a half of high school sports. It has such a detrimental effect on their recruiting process.
Q: Lastly, what do you look forward to most about the upcoming season?
A: It takes a real toll on you mentally when something you love is taken away from you, especially for any athlete that’s been seriously injured. This has now happened to a whole generation of players who have suddenly had something they’ve built their life around taken away. I’m really hoping that the upcoming season can help give a sense of normalcy to a group of young men and women who are trying to overcome some real adversity over the last few months.