A bittersweet rivalry

Posted at: 04/08/2014 4:19 PM
Updated at: 04/08/2014 6:06 PM
By: Stephen Bond

RIT lacrosse is the number one team in the country. The Tigers will put their undefeated record on the line Wednesday against Nazareth College. 

RIT lacrosse head coach Jack Coon is a four-time All-American goalie. He won a national championship as a player and was inducted into his alma mater’s hall of fame. That would all be with Nazareth, not RIT. 

Not even a year ago, RIT lacrosse coach Jake Coon was preparing his team for the school’s first national championship appearance. Nearly two decades ago, the Tigers coach was playing for a title, wearing enemy colors.

Coach Coon spent four years defending the Golden Flyers net, becoming the school’s all-time saves leader. After graduating, Coon joined Nazareth’s staff as an assistant coach under current head coach Rob Randall.

Jake Coon, RIT Lacrosse Head Coach, said, “We're good friends, we communicate all the time, so yeah it doesn't make things any easier. He gave me my first colligate job, so I'm forever in debt for that.”

Rob Randall, Nazareth Lacrosse Head Coach, said, “He does a great job of coaching those kids up over there and we have a tremendous amount of respect. I mean they play lacrosse the right way, they play it fast, and they play it up tempo.”

Over the past 20 years, the Tigers and Flyers have built an intense rivalry, putting both coaches at a crossroads every time RIT and Nazareth share the same field.

In six attempts, Coach Randall has yet to beat his former protégé. 

Nazareth hosts RIT Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.