Jensen Beach HC Brent Mahieu Remembers His Assistant Coach & Friend Rob Kavovit

 

Unlike most of Rob Kavovit’s Syracuse or Yorktown lacrosse former teammates and friends, I didn’t know Kavo as a lacrosse player.  I came from the hockey world (I’ve skated since I was 2.5 years old).  I had some knowledge of both box and the field game having played some as a youth up North, but I played college hockey in New Haven while Kavo was in Central NY continuing to build his iconic lax career.  I first met Kavo in 2013 when he came onboard to coach lacrosse here at Jensen Beach High School.  I had joined then head coach Matt Sofarelli the year prior, and later took over the program in 2016.  Kavo and I continued to coach together both at the high school and youth levels until his passing.

At first, I had no idea who Rob Kavovit was in the lax world, and to be honest, he couldn’t have cared less.  Kavo was absolutely cool being a Husband & Dad, a physical therapist, a member of the Stuart, FL, community and a fellow coach.  He’d share lacrosse knowledge and stories with me as much as stories and updates about his family and children.  We’d talk about the zip-line he’d put in the yard at his house for his sons Landry & Luke, or about how their puppy kept eating the kids’ socks, as well as lacrosse X’s & O’s.  Kavo would always ask about my family and I his.  He would always check-in with the players at practices and games to see how they were; Let them know they mattered to him.  He loved them, they knew it, and they loved him.  The Coach Kavo I was fortunate enough to know was a human being first and everything else after.  In the words of our goalie coach John Sullivan “If the world had more Rob Kavovit’s in it, it would be a much better place”.  Amen to that Coach Sully.

Together with the other great men I had the honor to coach with in 2016 – Coach Joe Cuozzo, Coach John Sullivan (referenced earlier), and Coach Tim Teahan – our high school program won the 2016 FHSAA District 23-A Championship.  I recall after winning that year’s District Championship, Kavo explaining to the boys’ at our next practice just how special their teammate relationships really were and how lacrosse was a tool that brings people together.  He was talking from the heart.  He always did to our players.  Whether it was while coaching alongside Kavo here at the High School, or with the local U10 rec lacrosse team he coached, he was always about the game and its larger meaning to the players.

Kavo’s numerous lacrosse titles have been well documented (3-time NY High School State Champion, 3-time NCAA D1 Men’s College Lacrosse All-American, 1995 NCAA D1 Men’s College Lacrosse National Champion).  I know he was proud of all of them, however, I also witnessed Kavo take pride in 2 titles I feel he also held most dear:  Husband and Father.  He adored his wife Marion, and I know he is eternally grateful to her for sharing her life with his, and for giving them their sons Landry and Luke.

In 2019, Kavo told me he was going to pull back a bit from the high school so he could spend more time with Landry and Luke as they were getting older and had also begun their own love of lacrosse so Kavo wanted to start coaching them.  He cut back on his coaching time at the High School coming to a practice or 2 every week and almost every game thereafter.  At the same time, I was fortunate enough to begin a local rec lacrosse program here in Stuart, FL, and “Coach Kavo” (as Rob was known here at Jensen Beach HS) became “Coach Rob” amongst his son’s Stuart Lacrosse U10.  I watched Coach Rob in his glory coaching the game he loved to his 2 precious little boys and the teammates he hoped would become their life-long friends just as Kavo and Paul Carcaterra were since their earliest days in Yorktown, NY.  And that’s quintessential Kavo to me: The humble, stud lacrosse player who flat out loved the game, but knew it was the people involved in it that made it special to each of us.  It wasn’t the Wins or Losses for Coach Kavo or Coach Rob.  It was the experience.  It was the brotherhood.  The friendships.  The spending time doing something you love alongside someone else who loves that same thing and loves you.

I thank the Creator for allowing Kavo to have been a part of my journey, our fellow coach’s journeys, and all of our players’ journeys.  It has been my distinct honor to have been a part of his.  We love you Kavo and until we meet again: 15ForLife!

The 15ForLife Foundation will work to shed the shame and embarrassment around depression and mental illness by equipping younger generations with the tools needed to ask for an accept help.

 

-Brent Mahieu

Jensen Beach High School Boys’ Lacrosse – Head Coach

Stuart Lacrosse – President & Boys’ Lacrosse Director

FCA Travel Lacrosse – Boys’ High School Coach

 

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