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'He's our family': UNC men's lacrosse head coach Joe Breschi gets 200th win

Matthews battles for ball

UNC junior midfielder Andy Matthews (12) battles for the ball against two St. John's defenders on March 3 at Kenan Stadium.

North Carolina men’s lacrosse head coach Joe Breschi has won a lot of games during his time on the collegiate level. 

From his playing days as a two-time All-ACC defenseman for UNC in 1989 and 1990 to leading his alma mater as the head coach to its first NCAA championship in 25 years in 2016, it's safe to say that Breschi has built quite the lacrosse resume.

Breschi can now mark another milestone off the list, as he won his 200th career game in a climactic 9-8 victory over St. Johns on Saturday. He has spent over 20 years as a college head coach, winning 92 games with Ohio State in 11 seasons, and then reaching his 108th victory in his 10th season as the Tar Heels’ head coach.

“I think it just says that you’re getting older,” Breschi said. “Honestly it's a neat achievement that one day when I’m old and gray, I’ll think back on it, but right now it's about the kids in the locker room.”

Prior to stepping onto the field at Kenan Memorial Stadium for Saturday’s contest, team captain and senior attackman Chris Cloutier gathered the team together and preached to his teammates on the importance of securing this achievement for the man that has meant so much to this group, as well as the UNC program as a whole.

“We made it as a group our goal to get this for him,” Cloutier said. “He’s been so good to us, and no one deserves it more.”

Breschi has traditionally stressed three core values to his all of his teams in the following order: family, academics and lacrosse. If you ask anybody that is affiliated with the UNC men’s lacrosse program, they will all claim the same thing — family always comes first.

“Coach Breschi is like a second father to me," sophomore midfielder William Perry said. "He’s a second father to everyone on our team.” 

Perry had the game-winning score for the Tar Heels with 6.8 seconds left to finalized Breshi’s landmark victory. 

“He has so much faith in us, and we have so much faith in him," Perry said. "And that’s what really brings us together as a real family.”

Breschi’s recipe for success stems from the idea that lacrosse is the last piece to the puzzle. As long as the coaching staff can find players that are willing to work hard and together as a team, the lacrosse part will come along in time.

“I think for us it’s all about bringing in the right people into the program,” Breschi said. “We certainly live the family aspect. These guys love each other, they appreciate each other, and they want to compete and win for one another, and that’s the biggest thing.”

“If you fill that locker room with great kids like that we have — great young men — the sky’s the limit for this program year in and year out.”

Breschi’s philosophy has proven to be winning formula on and off the field. Although conference titles and national championships are always a major goal, the main objective is to work together as a unit. The team works together as brothers to win for their coach.

“He’s our family,” Cloutier said. “He’s always looking out for us. He’s always got our backs whenever we need it, and its special to have someone like that.”


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