New lacrosse coach brings international perspective

Chronicle Staff

Mark Haddad replaced Dan Usaj as varsity lacrosse coach late last week. Haddad has played for and coached several teams in his native Australia.

He was a member of two second-place Australian national teams at the world championships in 1982 and 1986. Haddad also won a national championship playing for the Victorian state team. He won three state championships playing for various clubs in Melbourne.

As a coach, Haddad has won two state championships, in Victoria and Melbourne, and he served as a special assistant and scout for the 2006 Australian national team. He has experience with younger players from his three years coaching the under-17 state team in Victoria.

“He has a broad perspective on what it takes to play the sport well,” said Athletic Director Audrius Barzdukas. “In the interview he talked about teaching kids and he was just a natural fit.”

Usaj led the team to its first ever Pacific Coast Lacrosse Association title and a trip to the state semifinals in 2004, just two years after the founding of the lacrosse program at Harvard-Westlake. However, the team was unable to defend its PCLA championship and missed state playoffs in 2005.

A lack of experience doomed the team to a losing start in 2006, and their strong finish wasn’t enough to get the team into the PCLA playoffs.

Haddad, who has been teaching the game for almost two decades, will have a large group of seniors to work with, including Garret Lee ‘07 and Ethan Mantel ’07.

“Hopefully he’ll do a good job. I think the lacrosse team needs a fresh new start,” Lee said.