Scazzero Awaits His Two-Hour Reprieve
Tony Scazzero wanted to be the president of the MCLA. Back in 2008, when he was president-elect waiting for his term to start in '09, he said, "I think this is a great opportunity to put our game out in front of everybody and become a real player in the national scene."
Scazzero has continued his goal of bringing the association into the lacrosse spotlight for the past three years and, after being re-elected last summer, he'll be the MCLA president through the 2015 season. As much as he has enjoyed being the face of the league, he still looks forward to dialing things back, putting a whistle around his neck and heading out to the field where the team he has been coaching since 1978 – Texas A&M – awaits him.
"I give either my daughter or my wife my phone during the games and practices, but that's about the only time the business is separated and the emails and phone calls can wait," Scazzero said. "That's about the only time I stop all that stuff."
It seems only fitting that Scazzero will get his first reprieve from his presidential duties on the first day of action in the MCLA. Tomorrow (Friday), Scazzero's Aggies are making the seven-hour drive to face LSU in the association's version of the Kickoff Classic, with the game starting at 8:30 p.m. ET.
The game likely won't offer much drama. A&M has never lost to the Tigers (although the contests have been closer in two of the last three meetings) and the Aggies have been infused with a strong rookie class that Scazzero expects to jell over the course of the season. Still, Scazzero looks forward to a little simplicity in his life, if only for a couple of hours.
That's not to say he's tired of his 'day job.' It's just that the way things are set up right now, his head coaching gig is a small part of his everyday activities. A big reason for this is Scazzero's belief that the basic operation of a non-varsity team – the nitty-gritty stuff like scheduling, fundraising, travel plans, budgeting – is a useful teaching tool for his players.
"Part of the collegiate experience for our kids here is to learn things," Scazzero said. "They learn how to become good citizens, and we give them a lot of responsibility and just monitor it. They learn a lot about managing things, what business is like and how to run a team."
But there's no doubt that sitting in the MCLA's corner office means tackling some large, time-consuming issues. The biggest one facing Scazzero at this point is setting up an as-close-to-flawless championship experience in Greenville, S.C., this May.
"The challenge this year is getting Greenville set up and ready to go," he said. "They are not a huge lacrosse community even though there is a lot of lacrosse down there."
Scazzero is uniquely qualified to help Greenville. Working for the City of College Station for decades, Scazzero helped attract what he calls, "athletic tourism." He was the director of 17 national softball tournaments, as well as 'Ultimate Frisbee' jamborees and other events, and knows exactly what Greenville needs to deliver the goods.
All that stuff is reserved for business hours, however. When game time rolls around tomorrow night, Scazzero will be immersed in his 120 minutes of solace.