The milestone victory that Joe Dietrich achieved in 2011 meant very little in the grand scheme of things.
“I just like watching kids have a good time,” Dietrich said. “That’s more important to me.”
Of course, kids have a better time when they’re winning, so the Smithsburg boys lacrosse had quite a bit of fun during their 12-3 campaign.
The Leopards were the top seed in the Maryland Class 2A-1A West playoffs and reached the region semifinals under Dietrich’s watch, earning the longtime coach The Herald-Mail’s Lacrosse Coach of the Year honor.
Dietrich is a sort of founding father of lacrosse — not only at Smithsburg, but in Washington County. He’s been the coach at Smithsburg since it launched a club program in 1990, the same year Boonsboro and North Hagerstown started club teams.
“Coach is the heart of lacrosse here,” said Cullan Ganley on the night Dietrich won his 200th game. “He is Smithsburg lacrosse.”
Dietrich stayed with the program when it achieved varsity status in 2000. That stability is one reason the Leopards have enjoyed sustained success.
“We’ve been in the region finals several times, won the region in 2003, but it’s gotten tougher for us,” Dietrich said. “The region’s been rearranged and brought in more experienced teams in Carroll County.
“But lacrosse is growing here (in Washington County) as far as grassroots are concerned and that’ll hit us more and more. We’re getting kids as freshmen who are pretty good lacrosse players. It’s a lot easier when guys come in and hit the ground running than trying to reteach things.”
Dietrich has been the wrestling coach for his entire 37-year tenure at Smithsburg. Though he knows the time will soon come when he steps away from coaching, he’s not exactly sure when that time will be.
“I’m looking to chill out at some point, I just don’t know when,” Dietrich said. “It’s really up in the air. It all depends on how things roll.”