Park City’s new lacrosse coach Michael Persky is looking to continue the club’s winning tradition
As the new head coach for the Park City High School boys lacrosse team, Michael Persky understands that he’s taking over a dominant program and only wants to make it greater.
After spending last season as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator for the Miners, Persky was promoted to lead the team after former head coach Brian Bilzi left the program to take care of his ailing mother, according to Persky. On a bigger note, lacrosse enters its first season as a state sanctioned sport with UHSSA. The Miners are in Class 5A and will compete in Region 8.
“Obviously, every coach wants to do better than the previous coach, but what’s awesome for me is that Brian has left the program in tremendous shape,” Persky said. “Bilzi gave me the chance to become involved with lacrosse here in Park City. … I’m just honored to be able to take something that he made great and hopefully continue the winning tradition that was started long before I came here.”
Persky has extensive knowledge of lacrosse, being a part of the game since he was in high school at the Roxbury Latin School in Massachusetts. He then played DI lacrosse in the Ivy League at Brown for three years.
After briefly giving the sport up, Persky, 56, got involved once again when he began coaching his oldest kid while they lived in Connecticut.
“I have about 19 years of coaching experience, but I started off like every other parent does by making every mistake possible,” Persky said with a laugh. “I love all things lacrosse has done for me, and I love to be able to give back. Coaching is just an extension of what lacrosse has given me so I think that’s part of why I love it so much.”
After his kids graduated high school, Persky became the defensive coordinator at St. Luke’s in New Canaan, Connecticut, a private, secular, co-educational day school. Persky spent a portion of his tenure under legendary coach Andy Towers, who formerly coached Dartmouth and current head coach of team Chaos of the Premier Lacrosse League.
But everything changed when Persky and his wife were sitting in their Connecticut home, wondering why they were living in a place where they had to travel to do everything they wanted.
“It was a total whirlwind tour of where to move, especially considering we visited the Carolinas, Texas; Arizona, before settling on Park City,” Persky said. “Since my wife and I moved here a year ago, every day gets better and the people are great. We were nervous about becoming part of the community without kids, but the experience has been tremendous. … And being the lacrosse coach is just a bonus.”
Persky is quick to point out that he’s just an extension of the previous regime.“There’s definitely a lot of pressure after winning the club state championship last year, but I think it’s something we are all excited about,” Persky said. “We’re going to emphasize in practice that we have to be the best team we play all year long in practice. … We will continue to build on the work ethic that previously existed here.”
With this being his second season in the program after spending last year as defensive coordinator, Persky has surrounded himself with prominent names in Park City lacrosse to help ease the transition.
James Meyers, who preceded Bilzi, is back as a volunteer assistant while Greg Bauer, father of Miners football and lacrosse star Dylan Bauer, is also volunteering in the offseason.
Steve Chen, a returning assistant who’s been involved with the youth program for many years, Ryan Walton, an assistant who coached many of the boys during the summer, and Jim Bedell, who’s heading the freshmen/sophomore team, round out his coaching staff.
One change Persky does look to make is in developing younger players.“I helped develop this model while in Connecticut, but I really want to build a program that starts from the youth level that goes all the way through high school,” Persky said. “I’ve already been in contact with the Park City youth program to start this process. … And we’ve already done a coaches clinic where we shared with them our curriculum and expectations. I want to continue the success of the program but one that serves the community in a great way.”
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Dave Hanscom announced last month he was retiring as volunteer race director of the Wasatch Citizens Series after 30 years in the position.