New Sheriff in Town: Coach Scott Bartush
This spring season, the Hopkins Boys Lacrosse program is undergoing many major changes as players welcome new Head Coach Scott Bartush.
This spring season, the Hopkins Boys Lacrosse program is undergoing many major changes as players welcome new Head Coach Scott Bartush. Prior to his position on the Hill, Bartush coached at Fairfeld Ludlowe High School, where he was CT Class L Assistant Coach of the Year in 2015, and helped bring the team to CIAC Class L Quarterfnals.
“I began coaching right out of college when I moved back to Connecticut from Boston, where I went to college at Endicott.” Bartush said. “My coach from high school, Chris Parisi, knew I was coming home, and contacted me asking if I wanted to coach with him.”
His goal as a coach is to be passionate like Parisi. “[Parisi] really personally changed me...by introducing me to the sport and helping me realize what I wanted to do so I looked up to him and wanted to be like him to other kids,” said Bartush.
Bartush strives to be “a player’s coach” to whom his team can turn for help on and of the field. He understands that “every player is different, and to get results, you need to connect with them and learn how they react to diferent types of coaching.” Stephen Mettler ’17 said, “I think he’s good at utilizing our strengths and weaknesses; he puts us in the right place to perform at our best.”
This year, Bartush aims to play a faster-paced game, prioritizing the movement of the ball and off-ball players to create openings and opportunities for dodges and shots. “While there is a place in the game for isolation plays, you can’t be a one-trick pony, you have to have other working pieces in there to play a successful game,” Bartush said. Douglas Guilford ’19 refected on the system as a whole: “It’s a much more complex system than we are used to, and it has shown to be effective on the feld.” However, the new playbook is just one of the strategic changes Bartush is making to the team. “I want to get [the team] playing at a faster speed and tempo [...] Games should be easy; it needs to be the practices that are hard.”
Bartush has encountered many challenges in his new position, like having only eleven varsity players return from last year’s team; however, he says the biggest obstacle was “putting in a whole new system with only three weeks before our frst game.” He has introduced a new playbook and perspective of gameplay to the team. “It’s tough because the teams we play have been using the same plays for years, and we’ve only been running ours for a month,” Bartush stated.
Bartush’s effort does not go unnoticed by players and assistant coaches. Guilford said, “He holds us accountable 100% for making mistakes, and he’s extremely confdent in our team and what we are able to do.” This positive reinforcement gives the Hilltoppers confidence to play at their best. Assistant Coach Adam Sperling said, “He’s got great energy and the boys seem to be working hard to implement the systems that he’s putting into place.” Chris Sherk ’18 said, “Coach’s passion for the boys lax squadron is inspiring and contagious. His positive energy is the perfect remedy after a tough loss or a difcult day in the classroom.”
The Hilltoppers face smaller numbers and many other obstacles this year, but “It’s all uphill from here,” said Bartush. He plans to restart clinics and the box lacrosse team during the of seasons to keep stick skills sharp, to maintain the cohesiveness and camaraderie of the team, and to build chemistry among the boys. The team is constantly building and adapting, and, under Bartush’s leadership, the Hilltoppers are en route to more success.