Boston University assistant coach Mike Silipo is in his third season as the Offensive Coordinator with the Terriers. Silipo has been instrumental in the progression of the BU offense. The former Ithaca College Bomber player and coach also had a two-year stint as an assistant coach at Division 3 Williams College.
Boston University is currently 10-5 and has made the Patriot League Tournament in each of their last three seasons. BU advanced to the conference semifinals in both 2017 and 2018. They have an opportunity to make that 3-in-a-row tonight, as they host Bucknell University in the Patriot League quarterfinals at 7 pm at Nickerson Field. BU defeated Bucknell in their regular season matchup on March 16, 2019, at home, by a score of 13-9.
BU holds a 7-1 at Nickerson Field this season, including a 4-0 record against Patriot League opponents. The Terriers offense has shined at Nickerson this season, averaging 14.38 goals per game in 2019. They are led by the dynamic scoring duo of sophomore Chris Gray and senior James Burr. Gray and Burr led the country, as the top scoring tandem in D1, with 163 points between them.
How long have you been coaching for?
This is my 8th-year coaching college lacrosse.
What was your path into coaching like, and where else have you coached?
I started out at Williams College coaching both football and lacrosse. I was the film coordinator and running backs coach for the football team for 3 years. I was the defensive coordinator my first-year coaching lacrosse at Williams. I took over the offense and became the recruiting coordinator my second year.
I left Williams in January 2014 before my third lacrosse season to head to Ithaca College as the defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator. I ended up coaching the 6-v-6 offense there as well as the ride. I was at Ithaca for 3 seasons until getting the opportunity to come to Boston University as the offensive coordinator. Coach Polley elevated me to the first assistant and recruiting coordinator after my first year after (Stephen) Toomy left for Harvard. I have been in that role for the past two years.
Where did you play high school lacrosse?
I played at the Williston-Northampton School (Easthampton, Mass.)
Where did you play in college?
I played at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY.
Who are some of the most influential coaches in your life, and why?
Renzie Lamb, Jeff Long, Howie Harrison, and Matt Palumb were some of the most influential coaches in my life. Renzie Lamb was a Hall of Fame lacrosse and football coach at Williams College. He was my father’s best man and sister’s Godfather. He was extremely influential in my recruitment to Ithaca College and my development as a college coach. I owe him and Coach Long everything when it comes to the lacrosse world.
Coach Long was my head coach at Ithaca College as a player and I coached with him for the 3 years as his first full-time assistant the program ever had. Howie (Harrison) was my basketball coach in middle school and Matt (Palumb) was my first lacrosse coach. They both taught me how to work hard and pushed me to be great. They did not let me slack for one minute, both on and off the field, which was something I sometimes tried to get away with as a kid. That work ethic stuck with me and I would not have made it under Coach Long without Howie and Palumb.
What makes your school unique from a lacrosse perspective?
Our team culture.
What makes your school unique from a campus perspective?
Boston University owns a 1.2-mile area, which is cut out of Boston and runs directly on Commonwealth Avenue.
What do the majority of players major in?
Business and Communications.
What is your schools strongest/most competitive major?
Business, Engineering, Communications, and Pre-Med.
What about your current team do you like the most?
Our team culture and the student-athletes who live it every day.
How does the coaching staff help the captains lead?
We have captains’ meetings weekly, along with senior meetings with our Head Coach Ryan Polley. They vote on our five pillars every week and that is awarded to different teammates throughout the year. We support them to push our team and the players to encompass our five pillars, which are Family, Compete, Work Ethic, Motor, and Accountability.
What do you look for in an underclassman when it comes to leadership?
We expect out underclassmen leaders to work hard and communicate effectively and fairly. We expect them to hold themselves and their teammates accountable to our 5 pillars, on and off the field.
Does your team have a mantra or slogan you live by? Why?
On offense, we have a mantra of “6 Hands” which means when we score every guy on the field scores. It doesn’t matter if you made the pass that leads to the goal or was a teammate who cleared the ball through, or a teammate who stretched to create the perfect amount of space for your teammate, or as a dodger, or even yourself as an off-ball shooter. Everyone is responsible for a goal no matter how it happens or what the defense throws at us and that includes our teammates who helped us prep all week in practice.
The defense has TOM. (Tough. Organized. Motor) and I am sure Coach Silberlicht, who is our defensive coordinator, could speak more in-depth on their mantra. As a team, we again live within our Pillars. Family. Compete. Work Ethic. Motor. Accountability.
What are your thoughts on the new dive rule?
It is too hard to referee. They need to either have the dive completely without the caveats of diving towards or away from the cage. They can line an area in which you cannot land in, such as what was shown to us at the rules committee meeting at the coach’s convention, or just take it out. Our game is hard enough to referee and already has a lot of subjectivity calls, which can make it hard to referee.
What are your thoughts on the new shot clock?
I love it because it took the subjectivity out of the referee’s hands on whether or not the offense was attacking the cage. I think the time is perfect and I think the 20 seconds to clear over the midline has been a beautiful wrinkle.
How has it changed your style of play? Offensively/Defensively/Clearing
It has not changed what we do offensively. We averaged 49 seconds per possession before the shot clock. Defensively and clearing it hasn’t changed much but our effort to get out and up in the clear to create transition opportunities. We have an experienced and talented attack unit that if they have space or a numbers advantage that we can create great opportunities with our defensive personnel.
How often do your players workout in-season?
We lift as a team twice a week and have a third lift for the guys who don’t play on game day.
How often do your players workout out-of-season?
Out of season, we lift as a team four days a week and that includes strength and conditioning. In season we do our conditioning on the field with the coaching staff.
What are the expectations of your staff for the summer and training?
That our guys follow the packet our strength and conditioning program gives them. As an offensive unit, I do individual write-ups for every guy at the end of the season. These write-ups are things that each guy needs to work on with specific drills that I believe will help them develop the skills we need for them to improve or develop.
How difficult is your team’s running/sprinting program? Can you provide an example?
We fall in line with the energy systems. Lag, Anaerobic, Aerobic. Our coaches and strength and conditioning team has done a fantastic job implementing it and executing it. Our guys have bought in as well to the point they call it self-improve time because they know it is making them better come game day.
What does your program do in regards to nutrition?
We have a nutrition station and a full-time nutritionist who helps our guys with what they should be eating throughout the year, depending on the week or day.
When do you start getting active with recruiting at high school games?
As a coaching staff we will watch some local games if we have time throughout the season, but mostly to watch our local committed student-athletes. Once the season ends we get out and attempt to see all of our committed recruits play with their current high school team.
How many staff members are on the road?
The 3 full-time coaches, Head Coach Ryan Polley, Coach Silberlicht, and myself.
What events do you run on campus and when are they?
We run the Terrier Experience days on July 11 and July 17.
What do you look for when recruiting?
We recruit athletes at every position. We believe we can teach skills, IQ, and other aspects of the game. That is our job and we have a lot of time to work with our players throughout the school year. Athleticism and toughness are the hardest things to coach so we look for that across all positions.
If I am a current Class of 2020 student-athlete who is uncommitted, what advice would you give him?
Keep working hard in the classroom because that will give you more options when you reach the end of your junior season and the start your summer. Keep working hard on your game and realize that there is a college for every level of lacrosse player.
Is September 1st as big of a day as family’s make it out to be in regards to contact and offers?
Personally, I think it is completely overrated. It is exciting for me, however, because I love recruiting and it officially allows me to start communicating with our future players.
How has the process changed for your staff since the new rule has come into effect?
It has changed who and how we contact potential student-athletes. I do think we are still working on what the best practice is for us when it comes to September 1st.
Would you like the recruiting date to move up, stay or move back?
I think the way the rule is, with the first contact date being September 1 of your Junior year, is perfect. It allows us as coaches to only recruit 1 to 2 classes at a time, which allows you to create great relationships which will translate well when the student-athletes get on campus.
If I am a parent who has no knowledge of the scholarship process, how does it work?
Ask great questions because every Division 1 team does it differently. Division 1 lacrosse programs are only allowed a certain amount of scholarships for an entire program, which ranges.
What is the average GPA and board score for your school? Range?
Taking honors, AP, 1B or the most rigorous courses available at your school is important, as well as achieving a test score under the University standards. Boston University also looks at students who are involved in extracurricular activities and interests, have special skills, along with the recommendations from teachers and counselors.
How does your school work with merit or academic money?
BU offers a wide variety of merit scholarships, some scholarships covering full tuition, to recognize high achieving students who go above and beyond. Most awards are for academic achievement.