MJ: Wehrum, Randall Are Still Like Family
For the two hours that Paul Wehrum stood on the sidelines yesterday as the coach of the Union men’s lacrosse team, the coach in the other box – Nazareth skipper Rob Randall – was the opposition. It was just the second time since Wehrum has known Randall that the relationship wasn’t familial.
The two go back to the mid-1980s, when Randall played for Wehrum’s powerhouse Herkimer squads. “Robby Randall was one of the best attackmen I’ve coached in my life,” said Wehrum. “Just really tough.”
Randall left Herkimer and played his final two seasons at Nazareth, helping turn the nascent team into a Division III powerhouse before taking over as coach 11 years ago. In 2008, Randall’s Nazareth team beat Wehrum’s Union squad, 15-5, in the first meeting between the coaches. Yesterday, the first round of the NCAA tournament, Wehrum was the victor, 15-7. The Dutchmen now advance to play Tufts in the second round.
When the game was over, the two coaches resumed a friendship that has been molded over the years.
“My son’s name is Brett and his younger son’s name is Brett,” said Wehrum. “We exchange Christmas cards every year. I became very close to Robby’s mom and dad.”
Wehrum also learned a little military etiquette from Randall’s father, who passed away last year.
“I told Mr. Randall once, ‘There’s nothing like being an ex-Marine,’” said Wehrum, whose brother is a Marine. “’There’s no such thing as an ex-Marine. Once a Marine, always a Marine,’ he said back to me. My brother would have slapped me upside the head.”
Although happy about the win, it was a disappointing day for Union junior Taylor Galbraith. The only Rochester player on the Dutchmen roster, Galbraith, a defensive middie who scored a goal yesterday, injured his knee in the third quarter and is likely out for the game against Tufts on Saturday.
“His mom and dad, aunts and uncles, 15 people in all were there,” said Wehrum, who calls Gailbraith one of his best players. “And it happened right in front of the stands. He’s devastated physically, but he’s going to be with us in Boston.”
Galbraith recently found out that he has been accepted to study in the prestigious London School of Economics next year.
“As bad as it is, and the length of time it is going to take him to rehab the whole thing, he’s got a very bright future for himself,” said Wehrum. “The parents and I know that; we can look forward because we’re older and see the big picture. But it’s a tough one.”