Q&A with Cherry Creek (CO) Head Coach Bryan Perry

In 2002, Bryan Perry landed his dream job when he accepted the position of head boys' lacrosse coach at his alma mater Cherry Creek High School in suburban Denver. After years of working up the ranks, a self-proclaimed "labor of love", Perry has since led Cherry Creek to three Colorado state titles and national prominence.

In this week's high school Q&A feature, LaxPower's Adam Warner talks with Perry about his team's impressive '10 title run, his plans on how to get Cherry Creek on the same level as teams like West Islip and Haverford School, plus why he believes lacrosse is currently booming in the Centennial State.

How would you define your coaching philosophy?
"As you grow older in this type of position, I think your philosophy changes a bit. Earlier in my career I was a disciplinarian. We are still demanding of the guys, but we try to instill the value that it's their team, not our team. There are too many sports where the coach becomes too much of what's going on. We've been successful lately by saying: ‘The coaches will be there next year, but you guys only get this year. Get the most out of it, because it's your year.' It's been helpful for us. We put the responsibility on the players, where it should be."

Do you have any interesting superstitions or habits as a coach?
"I never watch the opening face-off. I always think it will be bad luck. I just can't put myself to watch it."

What do you find most rewarding about being a lacrosse coach?
"It's most rewarding because of all the relationships going back 15 years with players, coaches and friends. It's rewarding to see the kids become young men – and some of them are now working with us. I now have a number of people who have been a big part of my life and it's really neat to look back on."

What are your overall goals as a coach? With a number of state titles already earned, what else is there left to accomplish?
"We still have a lot on the table as far as how far we can go as a program. My responsibility is to oversee the entire program and guide it. State titles are great, and that's our primary goal, but we have a lot left to do in order to establish ourselves as a nationally prominent program. When I look at teams like West Islip, Haverford School and Loyola-Blakefield, we have a long way to go to get to that level, but there's no reason why we shouldn't. It's all about community and for the coaching staff to take that challenge on. It's a lot of work, but it's where we should be directing ourselves."

Can you summarize the ‘10 championship season for me and talk about your road to the title?
"2010 was a phenomenal year for us. The kids bought in 100 percent to what we asked them to do. Any time you get that, you will be pretty darn successful. They were unselfish, team-oriented and just a great group to be around. I think they played as close to their potential as they possibly could."

How do you follow up in ‘11? What's the key to maintaining focus and keeping all eyes on the prize?
"It's hard. We won back-to-back titles from '05 to '06, and '06 was a dogfight. Every team we played, it was a big game for them, and they played hard all the time. The toughest part is that you somehow have to honor but erase that memory. Now we have to face some tough league games and we could very possibly lose one, two or three games, but we can still win them all, too. The key is to use the same values as before, and the kids are working hard on improving and taking the steps in the right direction. The expectations are much higher, but so far they're doing a good job."

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