(CSLInsider.com) Steven Brooks has accomplished more in lacrosse than most players dream of, but he isn’t done.
After leading Syracuse to a national championship in 2008 as a senior, when he was a First-Team All-American and recipient of the Lt. Donald C. MacLaughlin, Jr. Award as the nation’s top midfielder, Brooks played Major League Lacrosse.
However, following two seasons with the Chicago Machine, he was traded to the Chesapeake Bayhawks last month. Before he begins his first season as a Bayhawk, he will embark on his first season as head coach of the Glenbrook South boys lacrosse team – something he has targeted since graduating from college.
“From the get go, my main goal was to come back to the state of Illinois and try and become a head coach to build a program teaching kids my philosophy and hopefully give them the opportunity I had when I was in high school,” said Brooks, who served as an assistant coach at Libertyville, his alma mater, last season. “Libertyville was a great experience for me, but I wanted to be able to run my own program, so when GBS knocked on my door about the opportunity, I couldn’t pass it up.”
While Brooks figures to have a long playing career ahead of him, he also is focused on making Glenbrook South a powerhouse. The Titans won the state title while Brooks was in high school and he’s hoping to return the squad back to prominence, but not before he can hopefully attract future Titans to the sport.
“I would like to build a feeder program that builds into the high school like the New Trier and Loyola do,” Brooks said. “I truly believe that great lacrosse programs are built with the youth. So right now I’m trying to get my foot in the door with the park district trying to figure something out where I could start a junior Titans league. Therefore I can help out the youth, guiding them into the right direction and eventually build a system where they can get back like when they won state in 2000.”
Conference foe New Trier has had a stranglehold on the state championship, winning the last six years, but Brooks isn’t intimidated. High level Division I college lacrosse rosters are dominated by student-athletes from the East coast, and as a rare Midwest transplant, Brooks made sure he proved himself.
“I’ve always liked being the underdog,” said Brooks, who finished with 101 career points at Syracuse and 86 ground balls. “I grew up being the underdog in lacrosse and had an opportunity to go to Syracuse and did whatever I could to make sure I excelled at the highest level. I’ll preach on these kids the same thing. I want to get them prepared. The New Trier and Loyola guys play lacrosse just like we play lacrosse. It just boils down to confidence and being able to believe in each other. It’s the simplicity of ground balls win championships.”
Much of Brooks’ blueprint for team success was inspired by a couple former coaches, one with New Trier ties, so it’s not a surprise he has drawn upon his Central Suburban League counterpart’s state championship string.
“(Libertyville)Coach Schoney is a good friend of mine who helped teach me in lacrosse,” Brooks said. “John Combs is one of my bosses and he used to coach at New Trier as well. They’ve helped me out making sure I go down the right path and do the right things. They’ve been a tremendous help for me and I just want to be able to follow in those footsteps of building a program like New Trier.”
Less than a month into his first regular season as a head coach, Brooks is finding out how different running a team can be, but he feels good about the start.
“You take a different role when you become a head coach,” Brooks said. “You deal with parents, the kids and all the hard work most people don’t see behind the scenes. (GBS Athletic Director) Steve Rockrohr is a great guy and has helped me out tremendously. The big thing for us is that he’s a big frontrunner for lacrosse becoming a state sport. All his support means a lot to us because he sticks his neck out for us when most people don’t care about lacrosse.
“Coming into a new program, it’s very tough because you’ve got to get to know the kids faces, who they are, what their personality is and what they can do on the field. My main thing right now is making sure these kids grow from boys to adults and helping them become good student-athletes.”