Parker Burgess and Tony Lawrence are former Tommie hockey players who have made the transition to their current roles as assistant coaches on the staff of head coach Jeff “Duke” Boeser’s.
They talk about their roles in this Q&A story
Lawrence: "My role as an assistant coach is to support the vision of Duke as our head coach. That manifests itself in many different ways, whether that is providing my opinion on specific in game situations or being in charge of aspects of the team."
Burgess: "As an assistant coach my main role is to be support for Duke, on and off the ice. As recruiting coordinator, I’m also responsible for doing most of our scouting and recruiting. A lot of recruiting involves making contact with prospects and getting them on visits, tours, and starting their applications. It can often be a grind as there are so many good players out there in so many different leagues across North America."
PHOTOS: Top, Tony Lawrence; below, Parker Burgess
Lawrence: "Our core staff that was formed three years ago has an ability to work extremely well together, which has allowed us to focus on improving the program and the players every single day."
Burgess: "Duke does a great job of delegating many responsibilities to his assistant coaches. As an aspiring head coach, I've been given so much valuable experience by Duke that will help me in the future. Duke is a great mentor, and I cannot say enough good things about him as a coach and as a person."
Lawrence: "With my current schedule balancing the business world and coaching, besides hockey-specific development, I try to bring players my perspectives on things they will see out in the "real world." The players utilize me as a resource for things such as interviewing, resumes, and career advice. The key to our program is that we focus on the "student" part of the "student-athlete." The most satisfaction I get as a coach is to watch our players graduate and find careers after graduation."
Burgess: "As a younger assistant coach, I can relate to the guys and some of their questions and struggles they go through on the ice, in the classroom, and around campus."
Lawrence: "As a UST alum, I’m honored to be a part of the men's hockey program. As a player, I don't think I ever appreciated how much work it takes to be a coach. Our staff is out scouting other teams, recruiting players for next season, watching game films, planning items such as travel and equipment orders, all while trying to prepare practice and game-day strategies, and of course actually participating in practice and games.
"If possible, I think that my level of competition has increased since I became a coach, possibly because I don't have a direct physical influence in the game. As a coach I have the ability to help young men reach and exceed goals they never thought possible. Influencing individuals as a player and coach is much different, leading by example as a player manifests itself in working hard and leading on and off the ice; while as a coach, I need to earn the trust of the new players while continuing to expand on relationships with existing players. This means as a coach, I need to learn how to balance treating players as individuals and keeping things consistent across the team as a whole. Each year what that looks like is different as the team dynamics change with graduation and new additions."
Burgess: “They are both very different, but both very rewarding. I got the opportunity to play at both the Division I and Division III level, and feel blessed to have spent two amazing years playing for UST. It was a great privilege to be the captain my senior year and learn a lot about what it takes to be a leader. A lot of those experiences I had as captain have helped me make the transition to coaching.
"The thing that I find most similar is the joy I get from being able to go to the rink and spend time with the team and coaching staff and just being on the ice every day. UST hockey has become a very tight knit family. Not just the current players and staff, but all the alumni as well. Hockey players are very unique and seem to have a tight bond that I believe is unmatched in any sport.
"Another similarity, whether as a player a coach, you always get great pleasure in winning, that never changes. The same goes for losing. Whether as a player or coach, it always stings when you experience defeat. There is the same (if not more) emotional investment in the team. The thing I enjoy about coaching is bringing in freshmen and being able to see their development over four years of college. They develop not only as hockey players but as students and young men.”