October 12, 2010

Bellarmine Men's Lacrosse Coach Jack McGetrick Dies of Cancer

by Corey McLaughlin | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

Bellarmine men's lacrosse coach Jack McGetrick succumbed to prostate cancer Saturday. He passed away at about 5 a.m., ending a nearly two-year long battle with the disease.

Updated 10.12.10 at 2:22 p.m.

A funeral mass for Jack McGetrick, the Bellarmine men's lacrosse coach who passed away after a nearly two-year battle with cancer, will be at noon Saturday at St. Agnes Church, 1920 Newburg Rd., in Louisville. The university will hold a "a celebration of Jack's life" immediately following the mass at the Amelia Brown Frazier Convocation Hall.

"Jack McGetrick will be sorely missed," said Bellarmine President Joseph J. McGowan. "He was not only loved and revered by his Bellarmine players and family, but across the entire lacrosse community. The courage with which he battled not only cancer but any obstacle he faced should be an inspiration to us all."

*****

Bellarmine University men’s lacrosse coach Jack McGetrick passed away at about 5 a.m. Saturday in Louisville, Ky., after a nearly two-year battle with cancer, the university announced Saturday. He was 60.

McGetrick, Bellarmine’s coach since 2004, had been diagnosed with prostate cancer about two years ago. The cancer had spread to his bones.

Bellarmine sports information director John Spugnardi confirmed the passing. More information will be released by the university as soon as possible.

McGetrick’s battle with cancer inspired fundraising efforts on his behalf, and an outpouring of support among players, coaching peers and others in the lacrosse community as he underwent chemotherapy treatments.

“It’s a great loss for the lacrosse community, no doubt about that,” said Jack Emmer, who coached McGetrick at Cortland and was a close friend. “Jack was greatly respected by his peers, and never once did he say ‘Uncle.’ He never felt sorry for himself and was very tough until the very end even though it was utterly painful for him the last
few weeks.

"I talked him about once a week and he always had his chin up, always was going to win this race. But it finally got to him. He was a real champion, in my opinion, an unheralded guy in the coaching ranks. He was dedicated to the game of lacrosse.”

Despite his condition, McGetrick continued to coach and led Bellarmine to a 9-6 record in 2010. The Knights beat Ohio State, 14-13, in overtime in the final game of their season.

“I intend on beating cancer,” McGetrick told Lacrosse Magazine Online last March. “I can’t say that every day is good, but I haven’t missed a practice or a game. Sometimes I have to really push myself.”

When Hartford, where McGetrick previously coached, played Bellarmine last season, half of the proceeds from the game – $2,362 – were donated to the “Everybody Works for Jack” foundation, which was created to help McGetrick pay for his medical expenses.

Before becoming the first head coach of the Bellarmine program more than six years ago, McGetrick coached Hartford for 11 seasons. He was named the 1997 USILA National Coach of the Year.

“It brought back a lot of fond memories,” McGetrick said of the game that raised money on his behalf. “I had some very good memories there. It was nice to be appreciated after all these years and see old friends. Plus it didn’t hurt winning.”

The Intercollegiate Men’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IMLCA) also had established an emergency fund to help McGetrick. College coaches coordinated clinics in January to raise money.

“Jack McGetrick was a guy that was always in better shape than everybody else, not only as a player, but when coaching,” Emmer, chair of the Coaches Emergency Fund, said in January. “Weight training, running marathons, he had this mentality that he was almost indestructible. His physical fitness level in a sense hurt him, because he was fit as a horse.”

In 1987, McGetrick ran the Boston Marathon, with a sub-three hour finish time. That same year he won the 35-40 year old age division of the Cape Cod Ironman competition.

McGetrick compiled a career college coaching record of 132-115.

Bellarmine unveiled the Jack McGetrick Plaza and Locker Room, dedicated by the school to the coach, when Maryland came to play in Louisville last Februrary.

“He’s one of the most likeable guys you’d ever want to meet,” Pat Meiser, the Director of Athletics at Hartford, told LMO in March. “He’s the most natural coach that I’ve ever been around. He loves the game and loves young people. Anybody who has ever met Jack knows how big his heart is.”

McGetrick is survived by his wife, Lysa, and four children, Trista, Devon, Eamon and Connor.


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