Posted on December 11, 2012 · Posted in Blog, Question and Answer

Baseball Coach - Pete LotusCoach Lotus, you’re a St. Laurence (StL) alum, your baseball program is consistently ranked in the top ten in the state and you’ve been awarded, “High School Coach of the Year,” an unprecedented four times.  What do you believe makes your program and StL Athletics unique?

All of St. Laurence’s coaches are extremely dedicated.  They’re here because they have a passion for their sport and for youth development.  I attribute a lot of our team’s success to my incredible coaching staff and the other dedicated people around our program.

I also think we have unique kids.  One of my favorite quotes is, “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there,” by John Wooden.  Our kids have character.  They believe in our program and take great pride in their school, the team and in each other.  And, because of that, they’re willing to put in the work, both in-season and off.  I think that’s key.  They hold each other to a very high standard.   In turn, I do the same.

My philosophy is that preparation and accountability are essential to success.  By the time the game comes around, our kids are ready and know what to do.  Everyone has ownership and input in making decisions.  We don’t have captains.  All of our kids are captains and we are in it together.

Football Coach - Harold BlackmonCoach Blackmon, St. Laurence is in its 50th year of varsity athletics in the Chicago Catholic High School Athletic League (CCL); what opportunities do you think this deep history in a highly competitive league offers student-athletes?  What inspired you to come to St. Laurence to coach?

I played high school football in the CCL before earning a scholarship to Northwestern.  Having played in this league, I have great respect for it and its history of success and rivalries.  Given the high level of competition and expectations, it pushes student-athletes to rise to be their best.

Since I retired from the NFL and started coaching, it’s been a dream of mine to be a head coach in the CCL.  I bring with me to St. Laurence my experience as a player as well as a coach at the college level.  My philosophy focuses on hard work, dedication, accountability and perseverance.  I tell my kids if they work hard for me, I will work hard for them.  StL has a proud history in football and my goal is to restore it to its rightful place as a leader in the league and in the state of Illinois.

It sounds like Coach Lotus and Blackmon have a shared philosophy focused on dedication, preparation and accountability both on the field and off.  Mr. Chandler, how do you think StL Athletics helps prepare students for college?  For life?

At StL, we stress leadership in everything we do.  We want students who want to be here, get involved and make a commitment.  We believe that’s what true leadership is all about.  The foundation of our athletic program is based on a common passion for youth development, a love of high school sports and knowledge that participating in athletics teaches invaluable skills that prepare our students for the challenges of life.

With 14 sports offered at the varsity and club levels, nearly 70% of our students participate in one sport and almost half of these compete in more than one.  Whether they go on to play at the college level or not, through sports our kids discover their strengths, learn to manage team dynamics, develop time management skills and gain self-confidence.  These essential skills will have a lasting impact in college and beyond.