BY Jordan Banks
On Thurs., Sept. 19, the Sacred Heart men’s lacrosse team and head coach Jon Basti hired Chris Doctor to join the Pioneers’ staff as an assistant coach for the upcoming season. Doctor has had an impressive coaching resume leading up to his new tenure at Sacred Heart.
From 2010-2017, he was an assistant coach and offensive assistant at Penn State University. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach at Lafayette College. Doctor played college lacrosse at Rutgers University. Along with playing, he worked with the club lacrosse team and helped coach the athletes as well.
“I’ve been playing [lacrosse]since the first or second grade,” said Doctor. “My dad was a coach for 40 years at the high school I went to. He was sort of my role model and inspiration to pursue lacrosse and coaching as well.”
Doctor not only learned from his father but from other coaches at the different universities he’s been with along the way.
“I’ve learned a lot from different coaches. At Lafayette, I was grateful for the freedom. Coach Mangan trusting me and my knowledge of the game, and it allowed me to learn from my mistakes,” said Doctor. “At Penn State, coach Dan Tambroni, who was arguably one of the best coaches in the game, was very organized and meticulous. He brought ultimate focus and energy and I try to follow him in his footsteps.”
When it came time to finding a coaching job at Sacred Heart, Doctor did not have much trouble finding coach Jon Basti.
“We found each other,” said Doctor. “I had been living in Fairfield, Connecticut for the last two years, and have been friends with coach Basti for the last 12 years. At Lafayette College, it was both our first years there during the 2007-2008 season. We were both assistant coaches. When he left for the University of Hartford, we’ve always stayed in touch and as fate would have it, here we are.”
After one of their phone calls with each other, coach Basti brought Doctor in for an interview for the assistant coaching job.
“I wanted to make sure he was interested,” said Basti.
During the interview, Basti and Doctor talked about the state of the program along with where they hope to be in the coming years. Basti then offered Doctor the position.
“I didn’t even get the full sentence out of my mouth when I asked him to be an assistant coach. He was so fired up,” said Basti. “He coached at a level we all aspire to get to, and knowing the person he is, I knew he would love our guys.”
With several years of coaching in the Big 10 Conference at Penn State, Basti knew what bringing in someone who knows what the big stage is like would provide to the program.
“In a conference like the Big 10, there’s a lot of demand for everyone,” said Basti. “Coach Doc shows the player and the coaching side of the game, and that hasn’t just made the players better but the coaching staff better as well.”
Doctor added that along with team comraderie and overall success, his main focus is on academics. The team’s overall grade point average (GPA) is the highest among all of the sports teams at Sacred Heart. Doctor also looks at lacrosse as a chance to make an impact both on and off the field.
“Lacrosse is also about building relationships and making sure kids enjoy their experience,” said Doctor. “I want to be that role model figure that these kids look up too.”