Long-time St. Paul’s coach is coming out of retirement to lead his alma mater
by Gary Adornato
Rick Brocato, who stepped down as the head lacrosse coach at St. Paul’s School in 2017 after 17 seasons and 241 wins (most in school history), has been named the new boys’ lacrosse head coach at Towson High School, his alma mater. He replaces Shawn Burke, who led the Generals for three seasons.
Brocato, who is still a middle school science teacher at St. Paul’s, spent 25 years coaching with the Crusaders over two stints (1995-1999 and 2005-2017). He led the Crusaders into the playoffs of the MSA/MIAA A Conference, widely regarded as the nation’s best high school lacrosse conference, 15 times and won a championship in 2010. He also coached 47 All-Americans and three Kelly Award winners at the Brooklandville school.
Since retiring, Brocato has remained close to the game. In addition to coaching at camps and clinics, as well as helping the middle school programs at St. Paul’s, he has co-hosted the Kooper’s Tavern VSN LaxCast the last two years, a gig he plans to continue, along with co-hosts Mac Kennedy and Ron Klausner.
“I was not looking for this, but I could not say no to my alma mater,” said Brocato. “ I’ve been very happy in retirement doing some lacrosse projects, and enjoying my music passion. That being said, this is an opportunity I could not turn my back on.”
Brocato met his wife Tracey in 1979 while both were students at Towson and they have been married for 32 years and they have two children. That connection played a role in his decision to lead the Generals.
“Our years (my wife Tracey and I) at Towson were among the best times of our lives. It was a special place and time for us, so having the opportunity to come full circle is pretty extraordinary. I have a passion for Towson High School and the lacrosse program. Besides meeting Tracey there, Coach (Randy) Dase is the primary reason I pursued the path of being a teacher-coach. He has and continues to be such a great role model and guiding force for me, and I am extremely grateful for that relationship. I actually talked to him quite a bit through this process and we both agreed it just felt right.”
The “process” included discussions with both St. Paul’s and Towson, figuring out Brocato could continue fulfill his duties at St. Paul’s, while freeing up the required time to run a high school program at Towson.
“I am ever so thankful for both St. Paul’s and Towson, to work with me through this unique situation,” Brocato explained. “I plan on remaining as a teacher at St. Paul’s for the rest of my career. I’ve been there for almost thirty years now and will be forever grateful to be a Crusader. I am both honored and humbled to be able to lead two of the states most storied high school lacrosse programs, public and private. It really is overwhelming.”
That Brocato has decided to return to the sidelines is not a shock. He clearly remained open to the possibility prior to his final season with the Crusaders.
“I am not sure what the next chapter is yet, but I am looking forward to watching my son Jack from the stands during his senior season in 2018 and visiting our daughter in college a little more, while exploring new opportunities,” he told VSN at the time.
The competitor in Brocato is anxious to take on this challenge.
“Coach Shawn Burke did an outstanding job leading the Generals these past few seasons,” said Brocato. “He generated excitement in reconnecting the alumni, like me, back to the school and lacrosse program. We worked pretty closely together on building that, so I hope to keep that growing.
“Looking forward, I know the team graduated a terrific senior class, but it sounds like the cupboard is not bare by any stretch of the imagination. I’m sure it will be a learning curve, for both me and the players, but I’m excited to get to know them all and coach them up. Hopefully, I’ll be able to draw on a strong coaching staff, and bring in a few surprises to keep Towson competing well. Go Generals.”