Former MIT men’s lacrosse head coach Walter Alessi joins Coaches’ Corner to reflect on 43 years as a coach for the Engineers. Coach Alessi shares his perspective on coaching two sports, memorable moments at MIT and tips for having a long coaching career.
– Head coach of the MIT men’s soccer program from 1975-2006
– 10-time Conference Coach of the Year
– 285 wins and been to the conference tournament 11 times
– 1995 New England Division III Coach of the Year
– 2013 Howdy Myers Man of the Year
– USILA Coach of the Year finalist
– In 1977, MIT won the Marster’s Award as the most improved team in New England
Love what you do
“Love what you do. I loved everything and I loved all the people that I worked with. It was just a pleasure to go to work every day.”
Players always come first
“The players always come first. They’re all individuals and they all have different needs. Not everyone responds to coaching the same way. Treat everybody as you’d like to be treated yourself. Try to get to know each one as personally as you can. Treat them with respect and remember they always come first. Without them, there is no team.
“You don’t always realize when you’re in the moment the impact you have on young men, but you do.”
Balancing life as a lacrosse and soccer coach
“I assured them I’d spend 50 percent of my time in soccer and 50 percent of my time in lacrosse. I had never played or coached soccer prior to MIT. I figured I would last with soccer for a year or two and that would be it. And I just fell in love and not just with the players but with the sport. I really enjoyed it and wound up doing it for 32 years.
“I don’t think I was ever more nervous than the first day of practice in the fall of 1975. I figured if that’s the worst it’s gonna be, then everything is gonna get better.
That was a key, to make sure you had assistant who knew what they were doing. I just kept going to clinics, going to camps, academies…You learn something new every year.
You always can learn.”
Listen to Coach Alessi’s episode here:
In this episode:
0:50 Coach Alessi’s secrets to a long career
5:45 Balancing soccer and lacrosse
12:30 The MIT difference
24:20 Lessons learned along the way
27:45 Memorable moments as a coach
30:00 Future of lacrosse and soccer
34:00 What’s on your bumper sticker?