When Michael Rupolo of East Patchogue, N.Y. received a US Lacrosse Youth Award in 2018, there was no doubt that he was a worthy recipient. 

The letters of recommendation and comments of support submitted on his behalf made it clear that he was a deserving candidate, with the type of above-and-beyond commitment that the award is designed to honor.

“Coach Rupolo has shown me a whole different side of lacrosse, and what a great lacrosse coach is like. He makes sure that the coaches are focused on the love of lacrosse and not the win.” 

“When you focus on making the team love lacrosse, you will get the best out of every player and you don’t have to scream at anyone. He made me love lacrosse again.”

“Coach Mike is a man of integrity who promotes a sense of unity, coherence and solidarity between teammates and families.”

During the summer of 2018, Rupolo organized a trip for his girls’ club team – Rapid Fire Team 91 – to visit the US Lacrosse headquarters in Maryland and practice at Tierney Field. Afterwards, he shared the reason for the trip and his appreciation with members of the US Lacrosse staff.

“I wanted to strip away the madness of youth sports, the upcoming stress of recruitment, and instill in the girls the importance of the sport’s history, the quality of the people who have built US Lacrosse, and the significance of the lessons I’m trying to teach them now for later in life,” Rupolo said. “This trip was game changing for our families.”
Through the years, Rupolo has coached both boys’ and girls’ teams in the Bellport Youth Lacrosse Association, and regardless of age or gender, his focus has remained consistent: maximizing the quality of the playing experience for the participants.

The current pandemic scenario has been a unique challenge for Rupolo, who continues to coach Team 91. His 16-year-old daughter, Bella, is a member of the team.

“We’ve not practicing or congregating, but we use Zoom sessions to keep all the players plugged in,” he said. “We’re trying to keep morale up. We know we are going to play again. We just don’t know when.”

Perhaps you know a youth coach that displays similar traits of dedication and devotion? Or perhaps you or a member of your family plays for this type of a coach. 

Taking just a few minutes to submit an online nomination on their behalf can help shine the spotlight on these deserving youth lacrosse contributors. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s a great way to show your appreciation for a coach, official, or program leader that makes a difference. 

Nominate A Deserving Candidate Today

For Rupolo, the best part of receiving the US Lacrosse Youth Award was the scrapbook that his players prepared for him as part of the ceremony. The book included copies of all the nomination letters that the players and their families submitted on his behalf.

“I had no idea that I was being nominated, so the award was a real surprise,” Rupolo said. “But when you see their comments in writing, that’s the real deal. That was special.”