I was really fortunate to grow up around a lot of great role models and mentors when I was very young, that helped shape me in a lot of different ways. I think it’s really important for athletes to be exposed to people that expand their identity beyond just being an athlete. I think the thing that I’ve learned about modeling values or leadership to young people is it’s also about the ways in which we carry ourselves as coaches and the ways in which we show up and how are we approaching the games, how are we approaching the practices. A.
The best coach I ever played for was definitely my father, Coach Tierney. The reason he’s been so successful in the game of lacrosse and won seven national championships is that he knows how to bring a team together. He knows how to keep individuals from just being individuals on a team and just not allowing the big stars just to take all the energy. He does things like everybody on his teams has to wear the same color socks in practice, in games, same color shoes. Everybody looks the same in practice, everybody wears suits on the bus and the trips. There’s this culture that is built, that there’s a discipline amongst the team that the team comes first.
The other thing that I think he taught me really well through sports is that the last guy in the team, and every part of the team for that matter, whether it’s the equipment manager or trainer or the person maybe at the end of the bench or the manager, they’re all integral parts to the team success. I think from an early age, I learned from him that it was about the team and not about the individual.
The other things I learned from him were just about preparation and the discipline that goes into preparing for the other team. I hear a lot of great leaders, there’s a great book called Make Your Bed by Admiral McRaven from the Navy, and he talks about how he tells young people, if they want to change the world, they should start by getting up every morning and making their bed. I think in large part I learned that at an early age, because if you can’t do the little things well, how are you going to do the big things well as a team?
If you ever see my father at a practice or at a game, afterwards you’ll see him picking up small pieces of trash off the field or getting balls off the end line. It’s those little things that he modeled as a coach that I think his players pick up on and have allowed his teams to be successful and his players to be successful in a lot of ways.