St. Margaret’s assistant coach Terry Riordan was a four-time All-American at Johns Hopkins University, the 1995 Attackman of the Year, and the the 1995 Player of the Year. He played Major League Lacrosse, and is the only lacrosse coach in Orange County to have acted in “The Guiding Light” (ask your Mom). The 6-foot-5 lefty scored 180 goals and 60 assists in his four years at Hopkins. Special contributor Jill Fales spent some time getting to know Coach Riordan, and learned that what Riordan likes to talk about these days is his family and his association with St. Margaret’s.
Q: Describe the path that led you to where you are today.
A: Well, first of all thank you for your interest in learning about me and finding my life worth sharing on the website. I’m honored. Where I am today is a blessing. I am married to the woman of my dreams, have a remarkable son and live in arguably the nicest area on the planet. I have a career that affords me the opportunity to live the life I dreamed and give to those who are less fortunate financially. I get to coach great boys at an outstanding school. I get to be around two of the best men I’ve ever known, Coach [Glen] Miles and Coach [Mark] Warren. I got here from God’s grace, the love of my family and maybe a few good decisions on my part.
Who are the people that have influenced you the most in lacrosse, and in life?
My entire family in all aspects of my life. I came from a very close family. A married mother and father and four siblings who loved and supported each other. Athletically, I can’t think of one game either my mother or father wasn’t watching. Most times, my brothers and/or my sisters would be there supporting me. Some of my greatest memories of my formative years were watching my brothers and sisters playing their sports and sharing in the successes. I remember watching my brother Dan pin the #1 ranked wrestler at 167 lbs. Watching my sister’s volleyball games and achieving great team and personal success. I had role models not on TV – they were at the dinner table with me every night. To me being a Riordan was something really big. I felt I had to keep up the tradition of being a hard working, humble and good natured person. I feel that to this very day.
Part of being human is facing hard times or obstacles – what was one of yours and how did you cope, overcome it or learn from it?
Wow, good one. I have to say, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about these things. I mostly think in terms of how fortunate I am relative to others in the world. For instance, my problems are minuscule compared to what’s going on in Kiev, right now. With that said, I have not been without trouble in my life. I just try to focus on the solution to things and not wallow in the issue. Perhaps that’s why Sarah, my wife, calls me the Terminator. I run right through it.
Describe your perfect day.
Successful day with work. A phone call with a bro/sis and/or mom and dad on my way to the field. A St. Margaret’s win against a rival with my son on the sidelines ready for a victory hug. Dinner on my back patio watching the sunset with Sarah and Kel, (my son) Can’t beat that.
Most important thing –
Mom taught you:
Dad taught you:
How to be an honorable man
Coach taught you:
Shoot the ball hard and often
Your wife taught you:
Patience – work in progress
Why St. Margaret’s?
Glen Miles and Mark Warren. I can’t even begin to tell you how much they mean to me. I was lost as a coach and mentor until the day they blessed me with this opportunity to be a part of this special program. I can’t help but get emotional when I think about what they share with me. It’s amazing.
Do you have a motto?
Shoot hard and often. Hey, it works both literally and metaphorically if you think about it.
Favorite memory from Johns Hopkins?
So many. One that stands out: My brother Jim was the ball boy, my mother, father, and sister Kate are in the stands at Homewood Field. I needed five to tie the all time record for goals vs. #1 ranked Virginia. North Carolina is an away game the following week. My family didn’t know if they could get down to that game. We won 24-13 and took the #1 spot from Virginia. I scored 6 in front of 12,000 people. It might as well been in front of Jean, Steve, Katie, Jimmy. That was all that mattered outside of winning the game. I couldn’t miss the net that day. Gives me chills thinking about it.
You have one son? How old is he? Are you a tougher coach or dad?
My son is Kellye and he is 8. Tougher dad or coach? I’m the wrong guy to ask. Kel has seen me both as coach and dad. He says Dad. I don’t know. Best compliment I could get from my son or one of my players; you brought the best out of me and I never doubted you did what you did for me with honesty and respect. Doesn’t get better than that.
Best part of parenting?
Hearing, “I love you, Dad.”
Favorite guilty pleasure?
How has the game of lacrosse changed over the course of your life?
It’s gotten better in some ways, not so much in others. Bigger, faster, stronger players are fun to watch. Unfortunately, specialization has led to slower games. Also, the technology with the sticks has lead to the beauty of defensive stick checks to be all but removed from the game. I would be interested to see the kids nowadays play with an STX laser hi-wall like I did with Ric Beardsley swinging a wrap check on you at full speed. Good luck.
What advice do you have for young lacrosse players in Orange County today?
I’d say, seek out the best instruction. It’s like anything, starting out with your best foot, cementing good habits early will pay dividends down the road. Bad habits are tough to break. As a high school coach, it’s the most difficult part of the job and heart wrenching in many ways. I watch very talented boys hit the wall in their development because of these bad habits. So, instead of gravitating towards the “best” club team, where many bad habits develop, look for the best instruction instead.
Anything else you want to share or add?