West Genesee's Messere earns 700th win

Mike Messere has, in 34 years on the sidelines at West Genesee, built a legacy as vast as any lacrosse coach in the United States.

And now that legacy includes 700 career wins, the milestone attained Saturday afternoon in front of a large home crowd in Camillus as the Wildcats beat Liverpool 17-4.

As the final seconds ticked off, WG players gave Messere the game ball, and dozens of his former players came onto the field to share in the celebration.

"Seven hundred wins is more than just a number," athletic director Tony Pascale said. "It also stands for everything he has done for the West Genesee community."

For his part, Messere was modest about his big day, saying the wins are as much a tribute to the work done with WG's players from youth programs all the way up to the varsity level.

"I never thought it would last this long," Messere said. "You just go work at it, year by year, and look at the day head. You don't look back."

Yet it's impossible to ignore the numbers attained in Messere's Hall of Fame career. Through Saturday, his teams at West Genesee have gone 700-46, a win percentage of .938, and have won 15 state Class A championships.

Aside from the more than 50 All-Americans Messere has coached, many former WG players have gone on to be great coaches at the high school and college level, including John Desko (Syracuse University), Dan Sheehan (LeMoyne College) and Jeff Tambroni (Cornell University).

The current cast of Wildcats is pretty good, too -- tops in the state rankings all spring. And they had a deep desire to get Messere's milestone out of the way in advance of this Thursday's highly-anticipated duel with Fayetteville-Manlius.

Aside from some early nerves and allowing the game's first goal to Liverpool's Devin Clegg, little went wrong. Ike Hopper's pair of goals in the first quarter put WG in front 2-1, with Jim Marks and Jaron Davie scoring 22 seconds apart later in the period.

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