New Zealand men's national lacrosse coach is now BE girls' assistant coach
Bob Macaluso and Jeff Weiner were bound to meet.
After all, both gentlemen are Long Island natives and when they retired to the Lowcountry, they ended up living in the same condo complex in Mount Pleasant.
“We just bumped into each other, got to know each other and found out we had some things in common,” Macaluso said. “Not only do we both play golf, we both have backgrounds in lacrosse.”
Macaluso still spends a good chunk of his time in Long Island. But when he’s in the Lowcountry, he’s helping out Weiner, who is the head coach of the Bishop England girls’ lacrosse team, which won state titles the past two springs.
Weiner couldn’t have picked a better assistant.
“Although his primary responsibility is the goalies, it’s great to have Bob at practice because he brings a ton of experience in the boys’ game which we have been able to incorporate into the girls’ game, especially on defense,” Weiner said.
Macaluso was a long-time coach at Northport High School in Suffolk County on Long Island. He helped develop nine high-school All-Americans in lacrosse and guided his teams to Suffolk County Final Four playoff appearances in his final 12 years at the school. He had more than 280 career victories and one state title under his belt, as well.
“The standing joke is he now has twice as many state championships with the BE girls’ team than he back on Long Island with his Northport High School boys’ lacrosse team,” Weiner said.
Macaluso also coached football and boys’ volleyball at Northport. But his specialty was lacrosse. The program struggled when he first took over, but it had become one of the best programs in the Empire State by the time he retired.
His impressive resume didn’t stop growing when he retired as a high school coach. In 2012, he was named the third head coach in the history of the New Zealand men’s national lacrosse team that competed in the 2014 Federal International Lacrosse (FIL) World Lacrosse Championships in Denver 2014. His team finished 12th in competition.
How did a Long Island native end up as a coach of the New Zealand national team?
“What happened is one of my former players (Gavin Higgins) went on to have an outstanding career at Limestone College,” Macaluso said. “He went on to work for a major sporting goods company on the West Coast. He eventually met a woman from New Zealand, married her and became head of the national program.”
When Higgins stepped down, Macaluso thought the NZ team would hire someone with more experience.
“But, they were persistent and I finally said OK,” Macaluso said.
Last summer, he was reappointed coach of New Zealand, which will compete in the 2018 FIL World Lacrosse Championships, which will be contested in Israel.
“That will be my swan song,” Macaluso said. “I will be 72 years old. I’ve been blessed. I’ve had an incredible career.”