Marquette Men’s Lacrosse: Stephen Brundage brings creativity to the Golden Eagle offense

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Assistant Coach Steve Brundage is a former Major League Lacrosse team member of the Chicago Machine and has helped to create an aggressive offensive vibe for the Golden Eagles. Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

While Wisconsin is historically more well known for its baseball, football and basketball, lacrosse has meant as much to Stephen Brundage as the Packers do to folks from Green Bay.

Brundage, who was hired in May as Marquette’s top assistant lacrosse coach, said spreading the game he loved playing is part of the reason that he, coach John Orsen and head coach Joe Amplo came to Milwaukee.

Brundage grew up in Camillus, N.Y., a western suburb of Syracuse, and said Syracuse’s host of legendary lacrosse players served as heroes and icons to him as a youth.

“A lot of the players from my high school, specifically that went on to play collegiately, never left Syracuse and would come back during the summers to coach,” Brundage said. “When I was six or seven years old I would have John Zulberti and Charlie Lockwood, some of the all-time greats at Syracuse coaching me, and they’re the ones who really taught me how to play the game.”

Brundage graduated from the University of Loyola-Maryland where he finished his college career with 88 career goals and 143 career points, twice claiming team MVP honors. He went on to play professionally for the Chicago Machine of Major League Lacrosse before beginning his coaching career at Drexel University.

“I think my status as a former professional player gives me an immediate amount of respect in the eyes of our players, especially the ones that don’t know me,” Brundage said. “We’re obviously trying to teach our kids the fundamentals and Xs and Os of lacrosse, but the ultimate goal is to teach them to compete at the highest level, which is where my experience as a professional helps.”

Amplo, who coached against Brundage’s Loyola-Maryland teams several times, said he had witnessed Brundage’s development into what he called one of the most respected young coaches in the sport.

“He brings a good blue-collar mentality and work ethic, and he believes in the same values I believe in,” Amplo said. “I really like his offensive philosophies as he really brings creativity that is going to serve us well, and he has a great ability to teach the fundamentals of the game.”

Orsen, who played collegiately under Amplo at Hofstra University, said Brundage has a different style than most offensive lacrosse coaches at the Division I level.

“Stephen (Brundage) runs a less conventional style of offense that I think is really tough to defend,” Orsen said. “It’s tricky with a lot of pick and rolls, and it’s a lot like basketball. He’s trying to integrate it as much as possible into our field play.”

Brundage said he, along with Amplo and Orsen, has been busy conducting clinics in Chicago and at Marquette to help develop future prospects and continue to spread the sport.

“We’re doing as much as we can to try to stretch the game, and I think the biggest way to do that is to coach it at the lowest level and get other coaches on board,” Brundage said. “I think that once that happens, better coaches will develop better players, and we will be able to recruit from the state of Wisconsin, which is obviously the ultimate goal.”