Joe Moore has been involved with lacrosse for most of his life.
But this year the former West Windsor-Plainsboro North High School and Syracuse University star will be adapting to something new.
“This will be my fist time as a head coach,” said Moore, who is the new head boys’ lacrosse coach at Princeton Day School. “When I first started to think I wanted to get into coaching it always stemmed from my experience with Chris Sanderson. He was a legend in this area and the world. I played for him at True North and he was a huge influence for me on and off the field.
“He played a key role in me getting into Syracuse and playing at Syracuse. Over the years I’ve though how can I be that kind of role model and influence people the way Chris Sanderson influenced me.”
Sanderson, who was a renown goalie who led the Canadian National Team to the World Championship in 2006 and later played professionally, was the owner of the True North Lacrosse Club and had also taught at the Pennington School. He lost his battle to brain cancer and died at the age of 38 in 2012.
Moore, a West Windsor-Plainsboro North graduate who spent a post-graduate year at Trinity Pawling, was part of a national championship team at Syracuse. In 2009, Syracuse defeated Cornell to win the NCAA title. He went on to play professionally with the Rochester Rattlers of Major League Lacrosse.
Currently, he is the General Manager and Managing Director of Boys Lacrosse at Centercourt in Lawrence. He spent last year as an assistant coach at PDS and now takes over for Rich D’Andrea.
“It’s been great,” Moore said of his pre-season with the Panthers. “I was with them last year as a varsity assistant, so I am not brand new to the players. I talked to the kids about trust and that is a word we have rallied around. They need to trust me and the new coaches on staff. We have had a really strong few weeks. We had a great trip to Florida where we played some Western New England programs.
“This is a good program and a great opportunity for me. Rich D’Andrea has done an amazing job building the program up. He is another guy I have seen as a mentor to myself. This is a huge opportunity and something I am excited about. We’re building on what Rich and before him Rob Tuckman have done.”
PDS was scheduled to open the season on Thursday against Hun. The Panthers finished last season winning their third straight Mercer County title. They had won three straight Prep B state titles before playing in the Prep A tournament last year. Moore will bring a strong lacrosse background to the head coaching position and he’s hoping for a seamless transition.
“At Centercourt and my own personal focus is to give every athlete the opportunity to experience the game and develop within the sport,” Moore said. “Our facility is perfectly located between Princeton and Trenton so we get mix of crowds and abilities.
“It’s been an interesting road for me. I worked in New York City after college and got experience in different industries. My goal by the time I was 30 was to get back home and back into the sport and that is where I am now. It’s nice to relate my experiences to these kids and paint a clear picture of what my career has been like.”
As successful as the program has been the last four years, Moore does not think the goals will change.
“Th goals stay the same for the most part year after year,” Moore said. “Coaches don’t have to identify the goals. They know what to strive for year in and year out.”