Get To Know the Directors: George Searing and Joe Ancona

Two large parts of the creation of the New York State Regional Championship, George Searing and Joe Ancona, will try and win titles for the Suffolk region boys.

Like many, Searing began his lacrosse career in grade school. “[It was] back when I was in high school, or junior high school at that point, that long ago,” Searing said. “I did not use a wooden stick, I’ll say that.”

He played his high school lacrosse in Seaford and began coaching as his teaching career took off. “I happened to be sitting in the faculty room and the guy who was the head coach at Pace University was a teacher at the high school I was at,” Searing said. “He happened to know that there might be an opening at Yorktown High School. He gave the Yorktown coach a call, he called me and I started coaching at Yorktown pretty much right away.”

Searing moved around the Hudson Valley for a while, making stops in Pleasantville, Beford Hills, Amawalk and Peekskill. He returned to Long Island to raise his family. “My wife and I are both from Long Island,” Searing said. “Our son was young and we decided, given that most of our families are on the Island, it would make a lot of sense to move back.”

Although he won four state championships with Yorktown, it’s a moment from his coaching time on Long Island that really sticks out. “The one that will always stick in my mind is the 2001 New York State Championship team,” Searing said. “[The team] was on a mission to win that state championship for the Acompora family after the tragic loss of their son the year before.”

Searing was a part of the Long Island Showcase and helped to expand it to give more opportunities for young lacrosse players to get exposure. “For a long time, I was doing the Long Island Showcase and I was the president of the Suffolk County Lacrosse Coaches Association,” Searing said. “It just evolved with the Nassau guys and looking for ways for the Long Island players to be seen and be able to play against the better players in the state in the summertime. Since the Empire State Games were eliminated due to budgetary reasons, we thought we could recreate that and have that great event for the lacrosse players in the state, not just on Long Island.”

Searing is looking for signs of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic in this years’ tournament. “I think everyone is looking forward to having a degree of normalcy and get out and be able to compete and, hopefully not have to be overly concerned about medical issues like COVID-19,” Searing said. “I think, right now, this generation of young people needs some positive experiences to gain back some of the things they’ve lost over the last 12, 13 months.”

Ancona didn’t begin playing lacrosse until his junior year of high school but has been able to successfully coach and raise young players. “I was the variety head coach at East Islip from 1987 until 2014,” Ancona said. “I have three kids that went on to play college lacrosse and I felt I had to stop coaching in order to go watch them play, I couldn’t be in two places at once.”

Ancona is back in the coaching game at Plainedge where he’s been since 2019 and takes his core philosophies into every matchup. “My opponents never looked past us,” Ancona said. “I feel that’s happening now at Plainedge. They’d better be prepared because, if they make a mistake, we’re going to try to be as prepared as we can be and maybe we can steal a game or earn a game our opponent took for granted. That has been my philosophy as a coach is to be as prepared as possible and never assume that we’re out of any game.”

Along with Nassau region director Joe Baccarella, Ancona helped to create the Long Island Showcase and, eventually, expand into the New York State Regional Championship. “We wanted to bring the showcase to another level,” Ancona said. “We sat down with  Mike Winkoff and he felt he had the resources and connections for the upper regions in New York State to create the New York State Regional Games.”

This year, Ancona is excited to get pick up where the New York Stae Regionals left off. “We were on a roll there for a while,” Ancona said. “We were in the process of doing our third year and we had tweaked some things from year one and year two and we thought, going into year three, we were going to have some things we didn’t count on happening in years one and two and we were a little smarter going into year three and then we had this year off. Hopefully, we’re going to be as sharp as we were in our analisyzing how things are going to run.”

©2017 New York State Regional Lacrosse Tournament

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