CHESHIRE – Former Cheshire lacrosse All-American Mike Devine has been named the new Rams boys lacrosse head coach.
Devine, 26, is a 2010 Cheshire High grad and was a part of the Rams last state title in his senior year. He also was a member of Cheshire 2009 state championship ice hockey squad.
Devine fills the big shoes of Rich Pulisciano, who stepped down in May with a 268-162 overall coaching record and state titles in 2002 and 2010.
“I’m ecstatic,” Devine said. “I’m really excited. No one is going to replace Rich. It’s impossible to do after all he’s done for Cheshire lacrosse and lacrosse in the state. I’m going to try my best. He’s been a big influence on me. As a player, back in the day, he molded me into who i am. It’s an honor or take over for him. I can’t say enough about what he’s done.”
After two years at a prep school, Devine played his junior and senior seasons for Pulisciano at Cheshire. As a senior, he helped the Rams win the SCC regular season and tournament crowns and the Class L Championship. He then played at Eastern Connecticut, where he went on to become the first three-time Division in Honorable Mention All-American in school history. He signed off second in career goals (150) and fifth for points (196) with the Warriors.
Devine is a health and physical education teacher in Stafford Springs. He’s coached Team Connecticut Lacrosse Club for the last seven years. He’s been on Pulisciano’s staff for the last four years. In 2017, Devine was named the US Lacrosse-Connecticut Assistant of the Year in 2017.
“In the last four years I’ve learned a lot,” Devine said. “I’ve learned how to coach and the right and wrong way to do things. It’s been a hands-on internship. When you are with a coach like Rich, you learn a lot of things that you don’t really think about before he says them. I can’t thank him enough for that.”
Devine said coaching has always been a part of his life. His father Jack was a longtime youth hockey coach for the Wonderland Wizards Hockey Organization.
Devine said Cheshire lacrosse is built on relationships with the players that have gone through the program and that’s a tradition he wants to keep strong.
Devine ran Cheshire’s offense as an assistant and described himself as a cooperative coach.
“I hold kids accountable for things on and off the field,” Devine said. “I will put my arm around you and telling you what you did wrong instead of blowing you up. A lot of the kids know my style of coaching in Cheshire. They understand that they will be held accountable on and off the field to the highest standards. That’s what Rich has done and that’s what I want to do. At the end of the day, there’s a lot more important things in this world than lacrosse. But my motto is to leave this program better than I found it. The wins or losses will come, but at the end of the day I want to mold these high school players into better men.”
Devine said he’s still finalizing his staff, but will retain assistants James Sasso and Jim Dempsey.
"Mike was a perfect fit for the position,” Cheshire AD Steve Trifone said. “He brings with him a deep knowledge of the sport as well as the ability to bring the best out of his athletes. He will continue many long standing traditions in Cheshire lacrosse but also adapt his own philosophy within the program. We are excited to have him on board.”
Devine is the sixth coach in program history. The previous coaches included: Arlene Salvati, Jeff Gold, Paul Adams, Mark Ecke and Pulisciano.
Pulisciano was the head coach of Cheshire lacrosse for 21 years.