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Carthage’s Ventiquattros to join Powell coaching Florida lacrosse team

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CARTHAGE — When selecting his lacrosse staff at North Broward Preparatory School, in Coconut Creek, Fla., Casey Powell said he couldn’t think of anyone better than his former high school lacrosse coach, Kirk Ventiquattro.

“When it came to how to run a program, he’s who I think is the greatest to set the tone for us,” Powell said.

Ventiquattro and his son, Mario, are set to join Powell, the newly appointed director of lacrosse at North Broward, as part of his lacrosse staff. Ventiquattro, a longtime coach for the Carthage boys lacrosse team, will be back in time to coach the Comets in the spring. The Florida lacrosse season starts earlier, enabling Ventiquattro to do both.

“I’m real excited about it — I’m going to be like a kid in a candy store,” Ventiquattro said. “I’m 55 years old and I still get to do this stuff. It’s great.”

Ventiquattro said he will retire from teaching at Carthage at the end of January, allowing him to help assist with Powell’s team.

“My retirement begins Jan. 25,” Ventiquattro said. “I’ll be retiring after teaching for 31 1/2 years and two days later I’ll be going to work with the team in Florida at about the time their season starts. I’ll be back in (Carthage) in early March just in time for the spring season.”

Powell, a national star in lacrosse who excelled with Carthage and Syracuse University, hopes that with the Ventiquattros’ assistance, he will be able to develop a stronger lacrosse program at the varsity level. Powell is also head coach of the program.

His plan of attack is simple: “I want to start a feeder system at the elementary level, hire coaches at the middle school, focus on varsity and bring kids in from across the country,” said the 37-year-old Powell, curently an attackman for Major League Lacrosse’s Chesapeake Bayhawks.

Mario Ventiquattro is also an attackman in the MLL, playing for the Ohio Machine.

The Florida boarding school caters to children from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade. Previously, Powell worked as lacrosse director at St. Andrew’s School, another private school in Florida.

“I left the program in good shape. We were state champions two years ago. ... I felt it was the right time to branch off and continue to support Florida lacrosse,” Powell said.

Meanwhile, Ventiquattro sees it as an opportunity to help out a former player as well as work with his son.

“I’ve been able to spend a lot of time doing some (lacrosse) projects with my son Tony the past couple years,” he said. “So now it’s going to be great working with my son Mario and this will give me an opportunity to reunite with Casey.”

Powell, a1994 Carthage graduate, was NCAA Division I Player of the Year for Syracuse University twice in the 1990s. He has played for Major League Lacrosse and the National Lacrosse League. During the 2013 season he accumulated four goals and two assists for the Bayhawks.

“I was one of the first kids in town to carry a stick ... I dreamed big, I wanted to play for Syracuse and I accomplished it because of my work ethic,” Powell said.

He tells upcoming players to “work hard, stay dedicated and dream.”

Powell and the Bayhawks beat the Hamilton Nationals on Saturday in an MLL semifinal game, 13-12, and will play the Charlotte Hounds for the league championship at 3 p.m. today in Philadelphia. ESPN2 will televise the game.

Times Sportswriter Chris Fitz Gerald contributed to this report.

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