After seven seasons, 86 victories, two FCIAC championships and numerous postseason appearances, Alex Lerchen has stepped down as coach of the Greenwich High School girls ice hockey team.
Lerchen, who was hired as coach of the Cardinals in 2014, recently informed Greenwich Athletic Director Gus Lindine of his resignation – a difficult decision that he pondered for a while. Lerchen is employed by the Greenwich Public Schools system and works at Western Middle School. He is currently attending Manhattanville College, where he is pursuing a Masters Degree in Physical Education.
“It had been weighing on me for most of the summer,” Lerchen said. “I had to make a choice, because I’m back in graduate school and I needed to increase my course load this year for both semesters. Last year, I juggled teaching, coaching and grad school, but it wouldn’t be possible this year. It was a tough decision.”
Greenwich posted a 5-13-1 record during Lerchen’s first season at the helm (2014-2015 season), as the team rebuilt and established its identity. The Cardinals improved to 11-9 during the 2015-2016 season, then won their first FCIAC championship in 2017. During the 2016-2017 season, Greenwich went 15-4-5, defeated Darien for the FCIAC title and advanced to the semifinal-round of the state tournament, where it lost to Hamden.
“That FCIAC title game against Darien was the best game I’ve ever been a part of as a player and a coach,” said Lerchen, who guided GHS to a 2-0 win in that 2016 championship matchup. “It was such a memorable moment.”
The 2017-2018 season saw Greenwich’s girls hockey team top New Canaan, 4-1, for its second straight FCIAC championship. In Greenwich’s 16-7 2018-2019 season, Lerchen helped lead the squad to the FCIAC final, where they lost to New Canaan. The Cards also advanced to the state tournament quarterfinals. The next season (2019-2020), Greenwich made it to both the FCIAC and state tournament semifinals and this past season, the Cards finished 7-5-2 advanced to the FCIAC Tournament semifinals.
Lerchen’s coaching record at Greenwich was 86-45-12.
“It was a great experience to be a part of the Greenwich hockey community,” Lerchen said. “Being familiar with the Greenwich Public School system led me to seek a career in teaching in Greenwich Public Schools. Teaching and coaching is what I love to do, it’s what I was born to do.”
Lerchen enjoyed coaching the many athletes that skated for the Greenwich girls hockey team.
“I will definitely miss working with the team day in and day out,” he said. “They made it all worthwhile. Seeing the group develop and grow as a team each year was the best part about coaching this program. I was always lucky to have had not only hockey players who wanted to learn and work hard, but also great people. These athletes did a lot in the community and took their academics seriously and our bound to do great things in this world. I was incredibly lucky to coach great athletes.”
He is grateful the support Lindine and the Greenwich athletic department showed him during his coaching tenure.
“We had all the support in the world from the athletic department from Gus himself who is a great guy, a great leader, to his help in the office, giving us whatever we needed,” Lerchen said. “I’d like to thank the parents for their help and support and being a part of the Greenwich hockey community. The Greenwich Athletic Foundation and Greenwich Old Timers Athletic Association supported us and so did the staff at Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink.”
Mike Erensen was an assistant coach during all seven of Lerchen’s seasons with the team.
“I owe him a great deal, we had a great rapport together,” Lerchen said of Erensen. “He gives his all to the program and I was lucky to have him on the coaching staff all seven years.”
Indeed, Lerchen will miss coaching in the FCIAC and everything involved with guiding a team.
“I’ll miss being with the team and getting to know them as people not just as athletes. I’ll miss the camaraderie with the other coaches from the FCIAC. We had a good bond, enjoyed each other’s company and we considered each other good friends. Jamie Tropsa (Darien’s coach) coached me as a kid and to coach against him was an honor. I’ll miss seeing the former players come back and watch our games. It was a great experience and I’m going to miss it a great deal.”
Categories: Greenwich High
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