Mike Terranova’s hiring path to Lafayette was unlike the norm—he asked for the job.
“I was at a recruiting tournament in Albany when I bumped into Dave Carr who was in my position at Lafayette last season,” Terranova said. “We were just talking and catching each other up…And then he mentioned that he was going to be the new head coach at Moravian College. As soon as I got back, I sent Coach Rogalski an email…and the rest is history.”
Hailing from Syracuse, New York, Terranova played at SUNY Buffalo. And before Lafayette, he was the inaugural assistant coach at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, a small Division II school. He began at Chestnut Hill College with a team comprised only of freshman.
Fighting through a tough first two seasons, the team became ranked amongst the top lacrosse teams in Division II lacrosse during Terranova’s third year coaching.
So far, he finds a lot of parallels between his experience at Chestnut Hill and at Lafayette. Lafayette has only been able two years to offer athletic scholarships to the last two recruiting classes.
“In a lot of ways this season felt like the second or third seasons I was able to coach at Chestnut Hill,” Terranova said. “[Where] you know everyone is coming back and you see the mistakes that are being made are due to simple details in lack of execution and lack of experience. But you see all this potential that needs to be sharpened and honed. And so there’s a lot of optimism for the future.”
This parallel of experience does more than just provide a perspective on the growth of the program. Terranova feels that it provides him a unique ability to guide the players. He said he has seen this before.
“Certainly this year there were moments when the team was discouraged with their performance,” Terranova said. “And I think, I hope, I was able to offer some perspective on what it would take, what I’ve seen is necessary, to take a team that has some talent to a team that is competitive every time they take the field.”
Nearly eight years into his coaching career Terranova has a wealth of experience, but even he recognizes that there are aspects of his coaching style that need amendment if this team is to continue progressing forward.
“I need to be more demanding of them,” Terranova said. “A lot of the fall was spent relationship building and learning who they were, so I could better relate to them and coach them…Coming into this next season then I am obviously way ahead of where I was last fall, and now I can focus on being more of a presence for this team and demanding more of them as players.”
As the team and the coaching staff progresses and grows over this next year, Terranova believes success is imminent for the Leopards.
“Granted the pool of teams in Division II, to be honest, is not nearly as competitive as Division I sports, especially the Patriot League,” Terranova said. “But, absolutely a realistic expectation would be to be in the Patriot League tournament by this time next year.”
And with Terranova on staff, the team is even closer to reaching that goal.