A pair of former Yorktown Athletic Club (YAC) lacrosse players will now continue to lead youth lacrosse in the region they learned to play. Jim Lindsay and Brian Kuczma are two of the four directors that will try to lead the Hudson Valley boys to victory in the 2021 New York Regional Lacrosse Championships.
After his time at the YAC, Lindsay played for Lakeland/Panas high school. He went to the University at Albany where he would begin his coaching career. “After I graduated from Albany, I stayed for a couple of years and coached with Scott Marr,” Lindsay said. “When I decided I wanted to get into education, I came back home and, as I was getting my master’s degree I was a volunteer assistant at the high school I currently coach at.”
That high school is his alma mater, Lakeland. “It’s nostalgic,” Lindsay said. “To be able to teach and coach at the school I went through, it brings your life full circle. It makes you feel good that you can give back to the kids who are coming through the program and try to help them achieve the goals that I had when I was their age.”
Coaching at Lakeland has helped Lindsay form bonds he won’t forget. “[It’s about] the relationships you build with the kids,” Lindsay said. “It’s not really about the wins and losses. It’s about getting to know the kids as individuals and seeing them grow up into successful adults and go on to get married and have kids. That’s really the rewarding part of coaching.”
At the New York State Regionals, Lindsay hopes to continue to strengthen relationships. “I would most look forward to getting back out on a field and being able to coach kids,” Lindsay said. “Building relationships, getting to know some of these kids and getting back to a sense of normalcy will be nice.”
Kuczma began his lacrosse journey at the YAC at age 10, continuing to play there through high school where he played for one of the premier lacrosse programs in the region, Yorktown High School. He then moved on to play at Johns Hopkins University where he was a two-time All-American defenseman. Kuczma played Major League Lacrosse (MLL) for the Philadelphia Barrage and Boston Cannons.
Kuczma also began coaching shortly after graduating. “My brother was coaching Horace Greeley when I graduated college in 1997,” Kuczma said. “He became the head coach in 1998 and I came on as his assistant and ever since then, I’ve stuck with it.”
He eventually moved on to the Putnam Valley High School to teach and ended building a program. “I ended up getting my degree and teaching license and, in 2000, Putnam Valley opened up a brand new high school and it was an opportunity for me to start my career as a teacher,” Kuczma said. “Part of me being hired there was to help start the [lacrosse] program at the high school level.”
Kuczma’s teams were competitive right from the start and success came quickly. “In our second year as a varsity program in 2004, [we won] the section and [went] to the state semifinals,” Kuczma said. “After that, [we had] back-to-back state semifinals appearances in 2009 and 2010.”
In the 2021 New York State Regionals, Kuczma is excited about a full tournament. “[I hope to] see all the regions compete,” Kuczma said. “Last year with COVID and the travel restrictions, it was pretty much just the upstate. Getting Long Island back involved is going to be huge.”