After five years of dedication, hard work and progress, Keith Detelj, Head Coach of the New Paltz Women’s Lacrosse Team, has decided to resign from his current position and continue his coaching career at Kennesaw State University down in Georgia.
In the two seasons prior to Detelj’s arrival, the Lady Hawks were only able to win a total of six games. Since then, the team has continuously been able to beat their previous season’s record, finally landing them a spot in the postseason 2019 SUNYAC tournament. Last year, for the first time in the program’s history, the Hawks beat their longtime rival, SUNY Oneonta, 13-12. Sights are now set on beating Cortland, reigning SUNYAC champs, in this upcoming spring 2022 season.
“The future, especially from what I saw from the fall until now, and with some of the new recruits we have coming in, there’s just this resiliency and scrappiness and chippiness in what the girls want to accomplish,” says Detelj. “That doesn’t go away, whether a coach is there or not, so I’m just looking for bigger and better things from this team.”
Detelj, who played lacrosse at Marist College and also coached at Nassau Community College, says that he is deeply going to miss the unique athletic community — or as he sees it, family — here at New Paltz.
“The type of people that make up the student athlete community here are just amazing. They never leave anyone behind; if somebody is having a rough day, somebody else steps up. If somebody is having trouble with something, the next person wants to help them with it,” says Detelj, fondly. “I always thought of our players as not really competing against each other, but completing each other in some way, and it’s why I’ve been here so long. It’s what I’m gonna miss the most.”
Hawks’ Athletic Director, Renee Bostic, has only known Coach Detelj since her arrival to New Paltz this past summer, but speaks highly of his character and his success with the program.
“I thought he was a good coach. He has very good pedigree, and he’s done a good job turning the program around,” says Bostic. “We’re excited to have the opportunity for another person to come in and put their stamp on the program. But right now, our focus is trying to find someone to lead the ship and keep pushing forward.”
As of now, there have been no announcements made by the athletic department as to who is going to lead our Lady Hawks this upcoming season. Due to his immense impact on the program, Detelj’s shoes are going to be difficult to fill, but no one will ever be able to fully replace him, especially with how loved and respected he was by his players.
“As the girls grew as players, I grew as a coach and found out what worked and what didn’t work,” says Detelj. “It was really, really fun to watch and be a part of, and it will forever be encased in my memory as an awesome experience. I’m extremely grateful for the learning experience, for my players, colleagues and administration. They’ve opened doors for me, and I’m very lucky to have been surrounded by people who do that for me.”
Regardless of who takes his place, our girls are going into the 2022 season excited, hungry for competition and ready to continue progressing and getting better as a team.