In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, Marist spring athletes, seniors in particular, are facing the hard truth that their seasons and college careers have come to an abrupt end. Though this is a grueling time to be a collegiate student-athlete, there is still much to be done to preserve the futures of these Red Foxes.
Marist Men’s Lacrosse is graduating two stand-out, high impact seniors this year to move forward to bigger and better things in the name of our country.
Captain Joe Tierney and goalkeeper Jake MacGregor recorded impressive statistics on the lacrosse field in their four years at Marist. They are on their way to serve a larger team with larger roles as New York Police officers. Both Tierney and MacGregor completed the written exam in 2019. Applicants who score a certain percentage or higher are put in a lottery and receive a phone call from the respective departments where they will go on to complete agility, psychological, medical and polygraph tests to move forward. Tierney got his call from the New York City Police Department, while MacGregor received his praise from the Suffolk County Police Department on Long Island.
Marist lacrosse is no stranger to having family members represent our country as firefighters or police officers. These two student-athletes have been influenced by their family members throughout childhood into adulthood and are now following along those very same paths.
“My whole life, I’ve wanted to be police officer or firefighter.,” Tierney said. “Whichever one presents itself to me first, I’ll be sure to do my best to run with that career. My father retired as a 33-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department, and a majority of his side of the family either still works for a police force or retired as officers.”
MacGregor is also one of the dozens of Marist men’s lacrosse players to come from a lineage of emergency respondents. His father has answered on both sides of 9-1-1 calls, serving multiple years as both a New York City firefighter and police officer.
“Working in the city is hard enough as it is as an emergency responder,” said MacGregor. “Both the NYFD and NYPD have some of the hardest jobs in the world. The fact that my dad dedicated years of his life to both departments was always such an inspiration for me. That played a lot into my childhood lessons and how I was raised because my Dad always pushed me to have this sense of community so I could learn to put others before myself.”
While the lacrosse season and the seniors’ careers have ended prematurely, both players refuse to let go of what they’ve learned from the program off the field. The lessons learned from coaches, teammates, and even opponents have helped shape them into the men they are still becoming today.
“Marist lacrosse is about more than being a top tier athlete,” MacGregor explained. “It’s more than goals and saves, wins and losses. You learn how to become a better man, a stronger leader, and a resilient teammate when you take part in this program. Those are skills that will help anybody in any occupation but will definitely help me excel on the police force where my entire life will be dedicated to the safety and well-being of others.”
Tierney reflected on his time as a member of the lacrosse program, but specifically what the program did as a unit off the field. He explains that the exercises the team took part in around the Dutchess community and on Marist campus are what really defined what the lacrosse program tries to do with their players.
“This program of course helped me become a player I can be proud of. But more than that I think it’s turned me into a man that everyone can be proud of, hopefully. From the coaches, to the teammates, even to the parents and community as a whole, being a part of this team has taught me the utmost respect and composure. We focus on morals more than most things. Doing the little things right was really part of the M.O. since freshman year. For that I can say I’m pretty damn thankful.”
The Marist Lacrosse program has been sending its players into their career paths as esteemed and reliable young men for years, no matter the pursued field. The players have attributed most of that honor to head coach Keegan Wilkinson and the stern, community-strong program he has continued to build. These athletes leave Marist with a sense of pride in who they’ve become, knowing they spent their past years growing under a program that focused on their well-being as humans just as much as it focused on their abilities as players. The program teaches young men to not be complacent in their progress and these athletes are just two examples of that.
MacGregor is still pursuing his degree in Biology Adolescent Education at Marist and plans on making an official decision in terms of career path after he gets his degree. Having options to choose from is important to his decision-making process. Tierney’s lifelong dream has been to end up in a detective position, but he recognizes that comes with experience and an abundance of knowledge. Until then, he wants to work the streets on New York City for a few years in efforts to, “gain experience and really hone into my ability to be a terrific cop.”