Mike Messere: Approaching history he never expected

West Genesee boys' lacrosse coach is approaching a national coaching wins record.

West Genesee boys' lacrosse coach is approaching a national coaching wins record. Photo by Herm Card.

— “I saw that and knew I wanted to play lacrosse,” he said, before crediting Lou Ancello, his lacrosse coach, as a major inspiration for him and his career.

Messere’s career to this point is nothing short of legendary, although he will dispute that. Outside of lacrosse, Messere has a family – a wife, a son and a daughter -- and tends to his horse farm that he says has horses that are 30 years old. His daughter was big into riding horses as a child, which prompted him to start the farm.

He has a sense of humor about it, as well.

“We don’t produce anything buy hay,” he said with a chuckle, “because hay is for horses.”

The numbers don’t lie. Messere has been at the helm for 15 New York State Championships, with the first coming in 1981 over Yorktown and the most recent happening in 2008 over Syosset. Coincidentally, the span from 2008 to the present is the longest gap in his career without a state title. His career numbers suggest he is a lacrosse coaching prodigy, another thing he’s reluctant to admit.

“I don’t see myself as a legend,” he said. “When I started coaching I never thought I’d get this far because these are things you don’t plan. I guess I’m just fortunate everything has fallen into place.”

Messere thinks of himself as an educator first and lacrosse coach second. Since he took over, West Genny has seen 56 high school All-Americans come through the program. On top of that staggering statistic, 96 of his players have gone on to earn collegiate All-American status. Because of the time-consuming nature of being a lacrosse coach, Messere had to give up coaching the wrestling team in 1980.

And Messere considers each and every kid that comes through his program a member of something much greater.

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