The Adirondack region boys’ team director Shawn Hennessey is someone who knows about pride in where he comes from. The Shaker High School varsity boys lacrosse coach leads the program he once played for. A 1992 Shaker graduate, Hennessey was an All-League defender twice despite not picking up lacrosse until high school. “I started lacrosse in ninth grade,” Hennessey said. “I didn’t even know what it was until ninth grade.” Before then, however, Hennessey played in the 1991 Empire State Games.
Hennessey played at Herkimer Community College for two years after graduating from Shaker. His team went undefeated and won the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Championship both seasons. Hennessey then moved on to St. Andrews Presbyterian College in 1995 where he was named First Team All Deep South and, finally, to Adelphi University where he was a First Team All-American and made it all the way to the Division II National Championship game.
Hennessey’s coaching career began at Siena College where he was an assistant from 2002-2004. In 2005, he had his reunion with his alma mater, Shaker, taking over as the modified lacrosse coach. From there, he was a varsity assistant in 2006 and, finally, named the head coach in 2007. With Hennessey at the helm, Shaker won six straight Suburban Council titles from 2011-2016 and was a four-time sectional finalist, winning the Section 2 Class A Championship in 2017. Hennessey was also named the section’s coach of the year that season.
Hennessey was a part of the first New York State Regional Championships in 2018. “As being a participant in the Empire State Games back when I played, I thought it was something that was important in our region and it could actually launch us into that next level of competition,” Hennessey said. His abilities as the Shaker high school coach gave him the recognition to be offered the opportunity. “I was approached the first year that it started by the [Christian Brothers Academy] coach Rich Scully and he said ‘these are something that could be a good avenue for our kids, our community and our region to go and compete’ and I was intrigued by it,” Hennessey said. “I met Mike Winkoff, we shook hands, I introduced myself and I said ‘I think what you’re doing is great and I look forward to working with you in the future’ and that’s how I became the director of the Adirondack Region.” He also coached the ’21 and ’22 combined team in that first tournament and became the full-time director after that.
Coming into the 2021 tournament, Hennessey continues to try and push growth in his region. “The goal of anything that we do, especially for our kids in this region, is the exposure for them to get to the next level,” he said. “To have them be able to stand beside kids that are highly recruited or highly recognized in the communities of lacrosse from all over the state and be able to look at them and say ‘the things that you’re doing, I can do as well.’ Basically, bringing our region into that second level and third level and having the kids have that comradery of being able to share something special.”