Craig Whipple stepped down as the Irondequoit varsity boys lacrosse coach late Tuesday afternoon, just hours before the team’s home game against Victor.
Whipple, 37, was reluctant to provide details about why he would cut short what would have been his eighth season as Irondequoit’s coach. Irondequoit athletic director Anthony Lipani also hesitated to provide details, but said he has a “tremendous amount of respect for Whipple.”
Irondequoit JV coach Mark Lovett led the Eagles versus Victor. It’s not clear how many assistant Irondequoit coaches will stay in the program.
“Mark will be the coach the rest of the season,” Lipani said.
Lovett is an elementary school teacher in the Rochester School District. Lipani said that Lovett is an Irondequoit graduate who played lacrosse at the high school. This was Lovett’s first season as Irondequoit’s JV coach.
“Obviously, it’s always a difficult transition to a new coach in the middle of the season,” Lipani said. “There are 30 players that are excited to play lacrosse.
“We’re fortunate to have a strong tradition. We have a strong JV and modified program with both the boys and girls. We’ll keep playing lacrosse. There’s a tremendous amount of pride, buy-in and commitment. Our kids take lacrosse very seriously.”
Irondequoit, which had a 2-2 record before its game against Victor, won four Section V titles after Whipple was hired as coach in 2007.
“I’m pursuing an opportunity in box lacrosse,” Whipple said. “It’s a philosophical difference, to tell you the truth.
“I felt I needed to move forward in my life.”
Whipple said he coached nine All-Americans while Irondequoit won 81 games against 24 losses during his time as Irondequoit’s coach.
“It’s tough to build tradition, if you don’t have it,” Lipani said. “We’re moving forward.”