Launch Head Coach Tom Mariano sat for an interview with the team and that has been forwarded to us for publishing.
Thanks to the team for allowing us to publish here!
Year in and year out, Major League Lacrosse becomes more and more competitive. With each team loaded with professional standouts and former collegiate stars, it’s no surprise that the 2016 season ended with seven of the nine clubs tied for first place. The Florida Launch, not one of those seven teams, headed into the off-season with a lot of work to do.
After three seasons at or near the bottom of the table, the Launch brought in a completely new coaching staff to begin the rebuild. There is no shortage of quality coaches on the open market but it was the work ethic and vision possessed by Tom Mariano that let him rise to the top of the coaching search shortlist. Mariano, a former MLL assistant and current NCAA head coach with Pace University, got to work immediately laying the foundation of his plan for the Launch.
To get the inside scoop on the busiest off-season the Launch have ever had, Tom spared no detail in sharing his vision for the team:
How is this team different from past years?
Each year is a different team, it’s a different identity, it’s a different path, it’s a different vision and I think for us going forward for 2017 we want to play as one unit, one locker room, one team that is committed to being the best in everything we do. Competing in every aspect is the biggest thing. We will play a tough, hard-nosed style of lacrosse.
What is your plan for the Florida Launch and how does that play out day to day?
We’re building an MLL championship contender. I think you look at the day to day, we all want to surround ourselves — from the front office, to the coaches, to the players — we want to surround ourselves with people who bring energy, excitement, commitment, and dedication every single day. We might not start playing until April but we need to be working today to get better. I think that’s the key equation for us going forward in building a tremendous locker room that’s going to be successful on and off the field.
You’ve made some big moves since taking over including trading Matt Landis and acquiring a first round draft pick. What goes into decisions like this?
I’m in a constant evaluation every day of the roster. As you prepare the roster, you have to look at the availability of players for practice and games, you have to look and see if they will be able to help the Florida Launch get to the level we need to be at. Talking to the players, you’ll see that they want to be in a locker room with players that are 100% committed to the Launch. Those decisions are made every single day. When opportunities come up to get a high level draft pick and have three in the first ten picks in a tremendous draft class is something, in the short term and long term, that we couldn’t turn down.
The Launch are taking the first three home games on the road around Florida. Why is that?
It’s a chance to showcase the Florida Launch and the game of lacrosse in different parts of Florida and make the best of a situation where the [FAU] stadium wasn’t ready to play in yet. Plain and simple.
Our goal right now going into this — and this is going to be our goal every day — we’re pursuing a championship. We’re pursuing a championship level and brand of lacrosse that people are going to want to see. We have guys that are committed day to day to put a tremendous product on the field that people are going to want to see no matter of where they are from.
For more, visit www.floridalaunchlacrosse.com.