John Carrozza, our local MLL/NLL Pro and 2009 National Championship winning defensive midfielder for coach John Desko and the Orange has written another piece for College Crosse. Carrozza transferred after his freshman year from University of Delware to Syracuse and writes about his experience in his most recent piece...
It wasn't until my senior year of high school that I had really considered playing lacrosse at the college level. During the last couple weeks of the regular season, my lacrosse coach at the time (Nick Savastano) approached me about considering playing lacrosse in college. The initial conversation I discarded because I was 18 and knew everything there was to know about life. After talking with my parents and weighing the pros and cons of the situation, I decided to see what types of offers were available to me. Current assistant coach at Army, Ted Georgalas, had coached lacrosse for many years at a rival high school in Westchester County called Mahopac. A local powerhouse, Mahopac has turned out many lacrosse players that have been very productive college players at the Division 1 level. After having a good showing against Mahopac my senior year, Ted asked me if I would mind him calling college coaches for me to enlighten them about my talents. Before I knew it, I got calls from several Division one lacrosse programs and had been offered scholarships by each of those programs. Syracuse, Maryland, Delaware, Loyola, Albany, Drexel and a few others. So now I went from being another piece in the lacrosse world, to a sought after entity.
I found this sequence of events to be a little overwhelming but also a good problem to have. After speaking with these college coaches and learning more about each program, I had narrowed my potential choices down to Syracuse and Delaware. Being a New York kid, I had followed the Orange for years not only in lacrosse, but in football as well. As for Delaware, the only recollection I had of the state was from the movie Wayne’s World. Wayne and Garth have a bit on their TV show when they talk about time travel and comically take their viewers through a slide show of the states in the U.S. with a colorful commentary. When they transition from Texas to Delaware, Wayne shifts from a happy go lucky tone, to a mundane monotone voice and says….. "Imagine being magically whisked away to Delaware. ..Hi, I’m in Delaware?!" Needless to say, I wouldn't let Michael Meyer’s character influence my decision.
With my full financial burden covered and a great opportunity to play football and lacrosse, I decided to take my talents to the UD Fightin’ Blue HensDuring my lacrosse tenure at UD I learned a lot from my Head Coach Bob Shillinglaw and his staff that would help me as a lacrosse player, but more importantly, as a person. Hard work was the essence of what was instilled in me during my time at UD. Since UD was a team on the brink of making the NCAA tournament each year I wanted to work as hard as I could to make an impact as a freshman and help our team make it to the tourney. After a successful freshman campaign and a trip to the first round of the NCAA tournament, I couldn't help but feel like I wanted more out of my college athletic experience. I wanted to compete for a National Championship, plain and simple. As a result, I decided to contact Syracuse coach John Desko and talk to him about the potential for me to join his squad. Something I’ll always remember about Coach Desko is how he always left the door open for me even after I told him I was going to Delaware. I thought that was pretty noble of him to do considering I walked away from his initial offer and he left a lasting impression on me, especially when things didn’t work out for me at UD.
Telling Coach Shillinglaw I wanted to transfer was very hard for me to do, as well as leaving the friends I had made over the course of my freshman year. But, you do what you gotta do. Keep in mind that college athletics are a business, and your decisions to attend a university are essentially a business decision. My take on leaving was more like, "Hey, thanks for everything you’ve done for me. I’m grateful for the opportunity you've given me, but it’s time for me to move on and do what's best for me." With that approach you really don’t leave anything for a coach to harp on as long as you’ve done everything that has been asked of you (running, lifting, going to class, etc). What was best for me was to head north and make my mark as a Syracuse Orange.
For those of you who read this and have doubts about your current situation at a school, I’d advise you to wait it out and see how things unfold. You’d be silly to rush into transferring because of minor flaws at a university due to what you think it should be like. There is no such thing as perfect; nevertheless, there is a place you should be able to call home. If you can’t call your current school home, then go find a home. I’m fortunate enough to say that Syracuse University will always be my home away from home.
Looking back on my career as a college athlete there were ups and downs, but I can honestly say that transferring to Syracuse was a great change of pace for me. Their style of play was more my style and the guys on the team were all characters in their own right, which made for constant comedy on and off the field. These aspects are what I believe are the mark of a great team. So with two Final Four appearances, a 2008 National Championship and another one as a student assistant coach in 2009; I’d say that making the move to Cuse was a good one.