The Rivers boys’ lacrosse program has produced more than 20 Division I college lacrosse players since Justin Walker took over as head coach in 2003. One of the most decorated of this group is Mark Goodrich ’07, who is now in his first season as head coach at Milton Academy. Goodrich returned to Waterman Field with his Milton Academy team on April 8 and gave the Red Wings a great game, but Rivers emerged with a 9-6 victory.
“It was a fun experience to be back at Rivers and I was happy with how our team played. It was a good step for us,” Goodrich said.
“It filled me with a tremendous sense of pride at the outset, but even more so after the game was done, when I saw how good a job he'd done in such a short period of time,” Walker said. “His boys played hard, and seemed to have a great attitude and approach to the game. I know some of that is due to Mark’s leadership.”
During his career at Rivers, Goodrich tallied more than 300 points for the Red Wings and helped them to a 31-15 record over his four years. He went on to play at Johns Hopkins University, where he played in the 2008 NCAA Championship game and helped the Blue Jays to a 53-26 record during his career. However, it was his one season spent on the sideline recovering from an Achilles tendon injury that set the stage for his coaching career.
“I always saw myself as a coach, which is part of the reason I wanted to go to Hopkins in the first place,” Goodrich said. “Besides being the Mecca of lacrosse, I knew it would give me the education and the connections I would need to get into the world of coaching. That season I missed with my injury was when I started to think more like a coach instead of a player.”
“Mark had a passion for the game, and a good intuitive grasp of all facets of it,” Walker said of Goodrich, whom he coached from a young age with the Top Gun Fighting Clams club program prior to his time at Rivers. “But what I would say was the biggest intangible that Mark possessed, and that all coaches need, is an innate ability to get teammates to follow his lead. Mark had a charisma, some call it an ‘it factor,’ in which other players were drawn to him. The best coaches, like all leaders in various sectors, are always made better when they have this.”
Goodrich’s career in lacrosse first took him out to Mountain Vista High School in Denver, Colorado where he was an assistant coach for one year before returning to Massachusetts as the head coach at Dexter Southfield School in 2014. After two years at Dexter, Goodrich joined the staff at Medfield High School as an assistant coach, helping them to the 2016 Massachusetts State Championship.
Through all of this, Goodrich has also been a key member of the team at 3D New England Lacrosse where he works with former Rivers teammates Tim Bigelow ’06 and Peter Sessa ’06.
During his time at Rivers, Mark was a three-sport captain and All-Independent School League recipient for his roles on the varsity football, basketball, and lacrosse teams. He was the 2007 recipient of the James A. Navoni ’70 Athletic Prize as the top athlete in the senior class and the Ferris Thomsen Jr. Award as the most outstanding member of the boys’ lacrosse team.