Lacrosse Coach Steven Hernandez ’13: Chasing the Ship
by Jacob Rodriguez
With the dawn of the new year approaching and the bearings of the new school year gathered, the Christopher Columbus Varsity Lacrosse Team has taken to the practice field to begin preparation for what will be a long and historical upcoming season. In his second year as Head Coach, Steven Hernandez has placed his team back into regional contention with a regional championship run in the 2021-2022 season for the first time since his graduation in 2013 and holds a current record of 14-6 after his first year in the program. Coach Hernandez is excited for the upcoming season and is absorbed in the current offseason as he gets his players back in competitive shape with the help of his well-rounded and young staff.
Coach Hernandez actually began his Lacrosse career as a student at Columbus when the program was still a club not yet recognized by the FHSAA.
“Morrissey (English Teacher and Lacrosse Coach) started the program as a club in 2002. The Columbus program was a pioneer in getting lacrosse popularized in Dade County being one of the first teams to make the transition from club to FHSAA,” commented Hernandez.
Under the leadership of head coach Jim DeLang in 2008-2009, Coach Hernandez began to learn and grow with the game as an attackman in one of the first FHSAA-recognized Varsity Lacrosse teams in South Florida and Miami-Dade County. In a pioneer program with most of the players being multi-sport athletes – most often football players – this young Columbus Program was renowned for its physicality and rugged approach to the game as the men began to face different and more challenging competition.
“I learned to love the game immediately. It was something I never experienced before from a team sport. I began playing freshman year and just fell in love from those first few months,” said Hernandez, reminiscing on his time as a young player.
After a six-year stint as Head Coach over at Westminster Christian, Coach Hernandez has made a return to the Columbus community as an old face with a new approach to coaching the game and managing the Columbus Lacrosse Program. Despite being one of the younger Head Lacrosse Coaches in the state of Florida, Coach Hernandez’s spry presence on the field and persistence as a leader and mentor has brought the best out of his players and allowed for many real connections to be made.
“My mentality has changed. I’ve become more positive and confident both on the field and off-the-field mainly because of coach’s motivation and drive which has set the standard for the team”, said Ian Schuetze, Columbus Sophomore and second-year player, when asked if Coach Hernandez has had an impact on him personally.
When asked how being a young head coach has worked out in his favor, Coach Hernandez said, “It allows me to really connect with a lot of the kids and be relatable, which goes a long way when trying to build a program. I am an alumni and a young coach and through that I am able to establish trust with my players and have them really buy into the mindset.”
Coach Hernandez and his coaching staff, including founder Coach Morrissey and Coach Jim DeLang, provide the players with their profound wisdom and keen presence. The staff has been making strides in this offseason by preparing the boys for the upcoming approaching varsity season and having them buy into this “mindset.”
With a varsity schedule consisting of nine top 25 opponents in the state of Florida and up to 10 away games dispersed throughout the regular season, the 2022-2023 Varsity Lacrosse team will not only be one of the most traveled teams in the state but also have one of, if not, the hardest schedule in Miami-Dade County. By way of weekly on-field practice and training starting back in September, with the Brothers United offseason program, the players have been getting stronger and preparing themselves mentally for what’s to come.
“We are playing the hardest schedule in school history. We are playing nine top 25 opponents in the state of Florida. The mindset is to expose the players to a higher level of play. Through experiencing and putting them in front of the best opponents, we are gearing up for success,” said Coach Hernandez.
With a plan in mind and a vision in common, Coach Hernandez and his players hope to do justice by their motto, “chase the ship”, as the offseason progresses and the Varsity season nears.
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or what you’re learning to do”, says Columbus Senior and Varsity Captain Jacob Angulo when asked what the words ”chase the ship” mean to him.
Through the constant strive for success and achieving of one’s goals, Coach Hernandez hopes to instill the mentality of “chasing the ship” in each one of his players and help blaze the path for them to become true Explorers and brothers to all.