Aceshoops.com recently checked in with former Aces manager Matt Lachs '08, state champion, now a Division1 basketball manager at Temple University. Matt shared his thoughts on managing the Owls and provided some insight on making the transition to college.
Q: First off, how's school going?
ML: School is going really well for me. I'm taking four interesting classes and am working towards my degree in Sociology one day at a time.
Q: How did you get involved with Temple basketball?
ML: I actually got involved with Temple basketball because of teammate Lavoy Allen. After we lost to Pennsbury my junior year, I saw Fran Dunphy sitting in the row in front of me after our game. I asked him if he needed a manager for 2008, and he told me he did. I had other contact with Coach Dunphy in the following year, and after he invited me to a practice last season I felt it was right for me. I actually found out I got the job from a friend on my floor who had mentioned me to Coach Dunphy and he told her to tell me to see him about it. The next day I was informed the job was mine.
Q: What is your role and how does it differ with what you did for Lower Merion?
ML: My job differs at Temple from my job at LM because I'm not doing it all myself. We have a full team of managers working together, and we all have different responsibilities. I do ball boy and towel boy work mostly, with some video mixed in. I don't travel, I don't get to sit on the bench until I'm an upperclassman, but it will be something to look forward to later on.
Q: What's the hardest part of being a Division 1 manager? What's the best part?
ML: The hardest part of being a manager is balancing six days of practice and/or games, class, friends and studying. As cliché as it may sound, being involved with a team that goes to playoffs consistently makes it even harder. But since I'll sacrifice two hours of sleep for two points, I'm up for the challenge. The best part of being a manager at Temple is being part of a team with a great and storied history. Temple has consistently been a competitive team with some of the best players and coaches in Philadelphia coming through, and I'm honored to be part of it.
Q: Who have been your biggest managerial influences?
ML: I actually have two. Dan Sarnoff, my immediate predecessor at LM taught me the nuances of the trade of managing basketball. He is a great example of a winner and someone I always can look to as a teacher, mentor and friend. The other big influence is my dad (and number 1 fan), Michael. He was manager at Harriton and taught me that you don't have to wear a uniform to participate in your favorite sport. As a basketball lover, he was always someone who would come to see the team, and teach me the beauty of basketball.
Q: What's it like managing for Ryan Brooks again?
ML: Being back with Brooks is unbelievable. When I joined the team at LM, he took me under his wing and always looked out for me. While I only managed him for the final games of his career, I still enjoyed the relationship we built. When I visited a Temple practice last year, he told the other managers to get to know me, because he was confident I would get the job. When we were walking into practice on my first day, I leaned in and said to him, "Welcome to Chapter 2." I'm glad I have two more years with such a nice and amazing guy.
Q: How would you compare Coach Dunphy and Coach Downer?
ML: It's hard to compare the two because they both have different philosophies for running their programs. Coach Downer runs the show, and Coach Dunphy lets the seniors set the tone. I know that at the high school level, it's harder to let peers lead peers, but in the end both my coaches have reached their desired goals (for Coach Downer a State Championship and for Coach Dunphy a plethora of Ivy League Championships and an Atlantic 10 Championship). Between the two of them, they both are the best their respective conferences have to offer, and are proven winners.
Q: What's the most exciting experience you've had so far at Temple (on or off the court)?
ML: The most exciting experience I had at Temple was actually off the court. After the Phillies won the World Series, I was part of the best party in college. We walked from campus all the way to City Hall, and it was the most fun I had celebrating a championship since I celebrated a State Championship at LM.
Q: What are your biggest managerial accomplishments to date?
ML: My biggest managerial accomplishment was writing a full manual for LM on managing the team. I knew I wasn't going to be around for long and thought it would be helpful to give anyone who succeeds me the proper foundation. I never thought I'd get out from the shadow Dan Sarnoff left for me, and I wanted my successor to make a name for himself by learning how to do it without a mentor.
Q: What's the strangest thing you've ever been asked to do as a manager?
ML: The strangest thing I had to do as a manager was do the book at a lacrosse game last year. I was the videographer for lacrosse last year and I never had experience working the book even in basketball. But because the manager who usually did the book wasn't there, I was asked to do it last minute. I taught myself to do the book for basketball, but I never had to do it for lacrosse, and it was something that I did, but was not something I could have done without learning it first.
Q: What are your post-collegiate goals?
ML: My post-collegiate goals are to go to law school and later becoming District Attorney of Montgomery County.
Q: Do you have any advice for younger students who might be interested in managing?
ML: My advice for any younger students who would like to become a manager is this: during games, have your eyes focused on the game itself, but be mentally ahead of your coach. That, along with a strong drive for success and a commitment to winning and you'll be set not just for the team, but for life in general.
The Matt Lachs File...LMHS Class of 2008...State Champion, 2006...Temple University Class of 2012...College of Liberal Arts, Sociology major...Manager Emeritus of Lower Merion Basketball