Just wanted to post a really quick blog to congratulate John Danowski, head coach of the Duke men’s lacrosse team that won a national championship on Monday.
I covered many of John’s teams at Hofstra before I became an NFL reporter. But we go back even farther as John Danowski -- then coaching at C.W. Post (the college I would eventually attend) was a guidance counselor at Wisdom Lane Middle School when I was a sixth-grader there (covering sports, it should be noted, for our school paper, "Words of Wisdom").
I also covered many of the football and lacrosse games played by his son Matt at Farmingdale High School and then at Duke. In fact, Danowski played in one of the best high school games I have ever seen: an 11-10 win by West Genesee in the Class A State boys lacrosse final in 2003. Danowski had the final shot with a few seconds to go in that game but could not score to force an overtime.
A few years later, he and Duke (pre-controversy) were in the national championship game and it ended eerily close to the same way … down by a goal with Danowski taking the final shot.
I still remember bringing that connection up to Matt standing outside the locker room after the final. “It feels like I can’t win that last game no matter what I do,” he told me that day in the tunnels beneath Lincoln Financial Field in Philly.
Matt wasn’t the only one. In John Danowski’s last game with Hofstra, the Pride, which was clearly one of the top two teams in the country, let a big lead slip away against UMass in a quarterfinal game and missed out on the Final Four. Again, no title for a Danowski.
I was reminded of this today when Neil Best wrote about John's victory and about Matt and other former Duke players being on hand to celebrate the first national championship by the Blue Devils in men’s lacrosse.
What’s it have to do with the Giants? Well, besides the fact that Newsday's current Giants beat writer used to cover those guys and a former Newsday Giants beat writer spent this weekend covering those guys, there is another link.
John Danowski’s father was Ed Danowski, quarterback of the Giants in the 1930s. In fact, Danowski quarterbacked the Giants to two of their NFL Championships: 1934 in the famous “Sneakers Game” at the Polo Grounds and in 1938.
It’s been 72 years since a Danowski won a championship. Good for them.