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Hummer tabbed as new Warwick boys lax coach
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
Since Wayne Hummer graduated from Warwick in 2003, the Warriors’ boys lacrosse program has come a long way.
No longer are they a club sport, as was the case when Hummer played on the Warriors’ inaugural team as a senior, but a top-five team in the Lancaster-Lebanon League.
Now, the 28-year-old is hoping to get them to the next level.
At the Warwick School Board meeting last Tuesday, Oct. 16, Hummer was approved as the Warwick boys’ new coach, succeeding Chris Schmehl, whose contract was not renewed following the 2012 season.
“That peaked my interest (being a former player in the program),” Hummer said, “and when I saw that the position had opened at Warwick, I figured I’d throw my hat in the ring and see what happened.”
Hummer, who is also a volunteer assistant with the Warriors’ wrestling team, was one of several applicants who threw his hat into the ring, and Warwick Athletic Director John Kosydar is excited about having him at the helm of the program.
“I think it’s pretty neat because he was part of that first lacrosse team that was ever here at Warwick when they became a club,” Kosydar said. “I like having that connection of an individual back to the program somehow, some way. I think it’s always good to have an alumni coming back to coach. They just know the area, they know the school and things like that, so that’s helpful. And I really enjoyed having Wayne as part of our wrestling staff. I think he does a great job with the kids with wrestling, so I’m pretty excited because I know he’ll do a good job especially in relating to the kids because I see him do it in the wrestling room all the time.”
Hummer steps into a position that has been surrounded by some controversy over the past two seasons. In a recent Lititz Record Express article, a group of parents led by Warwick Boys Lacrosse Parents Association President Mark Sell assembled in July to address the Warwick School Board to show support for former head coach Chris Schmehl and assistant Gary Minnich. Just one year earlier, the Record Express reported, resident Chuck Biemesderfer indicated that lacrosse parents were showing support for the removal of Schmehl as the Warriors’ head coach. The article explained that much of the controversy over the Warriors’ former skipper was centered around an undisclosed student violation.
Hummer, though, said that he has no concerns about stepping into the position.
“I just have a certain way I like to do things as a coach and every coach kinda hopes that their way is the right way,” he said. “But as far as disciplinary (issues) and things of the sort, I feel like I’ve put together a pretty comprehensive strategy for my players to stay out of trouble. I hold myself to a certain expectation and as a result, I hope they’ll hold themselves to certain expectations where they’re not going to be getting in trouble and we’re not going to have troubles with grades and things like that. That’s a perfect season — no grade issues, no disciplinary issues and no injuries. Obviously, some things happen and we address them as they do. That’s really the best we can do as a coaching staff.”
Hummer certainly did the best he could for the past couple of years while helping as an assistant coach on the Lancaster Mennonite boys lacrosse team with Andrew Korzon, a former teammate at Warwick.
Prior to that, Hummer graduated from Elizabethtown College in 2007 with a degree in communications. There, he wrestled for the Blue Jays for four years, in addition to playing his freshman season as a walk-on with the men’s lacrosse team.
“Once you get into that atmosphere, it’s tough to juggle the full workload from school as well as playing two sports,” Hummer said.
Starting this spring, Hummer will be juggling a Warriors’ roster which graduated eight seniors from the squad that finished 10-8 after suffering a 10-7 loss to top-seeded Hershey in the first-round of the District Three Triple-A playoffs. The biggest of those graduation losses was goalkeeper Jake Watson, who became the first player in program history to be named to the U.S. Lacrosse All-American Team.
“I know there were a number of seniors that were lost, but I think there’s a pretty good core group coming back,” Hummer said. “In general, the area is a little different than when I played where we were learning how to play lacrosse our junior and senior years. The kids coming up now, they’ve been playing for a couple of years so things like fundamentals, stick skills like passing, catching, cradling — a lot of those things they’ve been doing for a couple of years and they have that muscle memory that goes along with learning it at a younger age. So we’re able to focus on more of the elite skills that go along with creating a winning team. The fact that we have that good core group of kids coming back gives me a lot of confidence that we can achieve our goals in the first year.”
Hummer acknowledges that he will have a lot of work to do between now and March when pre-season workouts get underway. He will be trying to get to know the student-athletes on the squad and building a trust factor which is important to success.
But Warwick’s new skipper knows enough about the program to have some early aspirations in mind already.
“My goals for this season are to honestly finish up at the upper end of the L-L League and make the League playoffs,” Hummer said. “Further down the road, I don’t think it’s out of the question to expect that we wouldn’t be able to condition ourselves and drill hard enough to make it to the PIAA Tournament.”
Nearly a decade ago when lacrosse was in its infant stages at Warwick, Hummer and his teammates played with what he described as a “scrappy” style. When he is introduced to his players, Hummer will emphasize to them his philosophy of playing in that same manner and competing with a mental edge.
“Tenacity all around (is how I like to play). When I was a player, I felt like me and my teammates, we were scrappy,” said Hummer, who works at ELA Group and is also currently an assistant with the Warriors’ wrestling team. “We didn’t have the best stick skills, but we fought to the last whistle. As cliché as that sounds, taking a mentality into a competition like that, honestly, it does give you the edge when you get a little tired and your muscles get a little sore and maybe the people with the stick skills don’t have as good of stick skills as they did before — basically because they don’t have that mental edge. Teams that I coach, I usually try to instill a degree of mental toughness that allows them to kinda get past that hurdle come fourth quarter time and we’re able to finish games.”
Asked how much of a gap he believes is separating his Warriors from the likes of Manheim Township and reigning L-L League and District Three champ Ephrata, Hummer said, “That’s one of those questions I can’t really answer until I get in and start working with the student-athletes. There’s a lot more than just skill that goes into becoming a champion and again, it may be a little more of a cliché notion, but I fully believe that what you need to be a champion is the mental toughness required, that if not everything goes your way, like maybe not getting a call in a game … I need to get in and speak with the student-athletes and see where they’re at as far as mental toughness is concerned because to beat the Townships, the Hempfields, the Ephratas, you need to be able to push that out of your mind.”
In roughly five months, they will get back between the white lines against the Townships, Hempfields, and Ephratas, and Hummer can’t wait to get started.
“I’m ecstatic,” Hummer said. “I did meet with (assistant) Mark Galway who’s been keeping the team active and keeping the team going in this time of uncertainty where they didn’t know who the coach was going to be, and talking to him and talking to the president of the parents organization Mark Sell, it’s getting me more and more excited.” More HUMMER, page B-8