Darien’s Brameier becomes Connecticut’s winningest boys lacrosse coach
DARIEN — Dating back to 2015, the Darien lacrosse program has won 35 games in a row. In that time, it’s won two FCIAC and state titles. Overall, its won the last three state crowns, and 12 since 1997.
These numbers are all, obviously, extremely impressive.
As in, 552 wins as a coach.
That number — which is now 553, and counting — is good enough for the Connecticut state record.
HIGHLIGHTS: 34th year as coach ... Started program in 1981 ... 553 wins top sin Connecticut ... Won first state title in 1997, 12 state titles total ... Has won three straight FCIAC titles ... 35 consecutive wins dating back to 2015 ... Currently ranked No. 2 in Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse poll
Brameier passed former New Canaan coach Howard Benedict for the Connecticut record, and currently sits at seventh all-time in the nation.
“The bottom line is, it’s a testament to the program and the people that have come through the program,” Brameier said. “I don’t really see it as an individual accomplishment as much as where we’ve built the program from top to bottom. We have a great youth program, we have a great athletic program at Darien High School.
“All those things, plus all the athletes that have played for me and all the coaches that have worked for me have played huge roles in achieving this number of wins.”
While Brameier remains the steady presence on the sideline, it’s the individual classes year in and year out that bear the load of continuing the Darien legacy.
“It definitely is something they think of every year,” Brameier said. “When they start the next season the new captains realize their role is to continue on a tradition of excellence, and the players that are part of those teams — nobody wants to be the year that we didn’t achieve our goals and expectations, which obviously comes with a lot of pressure and a lot of hype.”
One of those players was Mark Evanchick.
The defenseman — who played on the varsity team all four of his years in Darien, earning All-American honors in his senior year and a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania, where he is currently a freshman — said Brameier’s ability to connect to each individual class is what sets him apart.
“He bonds so well with each class,” said Evanchick, a two-time Hearst Connecticut Media Boys Lacrosse MVP and the 2016 HCM Male Athlete of the Year. “He finds the little things to bring the teams closer together. He really thinks about family on that team. It’s amazing, and I don’t think anywhere in the country can replicate it.”
As of now, the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse National Rankings back up Evanchick’s praise.
Darien sits at No. 2 in the poll, behind only Hill Academy of Ontario — making Darien the top-ranked American team.
That kind of sustained success doesn’t happen overnight. Brameier has been at the helm of the Darien program since its inception in 1984.
By his own account, Darien had to take its lumps as it battled to gain notoriety in the state with the titans of the time — New Canaan and Wilton.
Current Wilton coach John Wiseman was a player on the Warriors team at that time, and saw the relationship between his coach — Guy Whitten — and a young Brameier develop.
“He applied himself, and I think he learned a lot from Coach Whitten and others around,” Wiseman said. “He’s a smart guy who adapts and learns, and he’s built a great program. His record speaks for itself.”
Wiseman — who is in his ninth year as head of the program and has two state championships to his name — has had the rare opportunity to see not just what Darien and Brameier have been able to do in the recent past, but how far he’s come.
“He’s got a great formula,” Wiseman said. “A great town and environment that’s supportive, a very strong youth program, he surrounds himself with strong assistants, and he’s created that. He’s the grand architect and a lot of that comes from his focus and discipline, and therefore you get consistency.”
That work ethic, and Brameier’s ability to ingrain it into his players, is what sticks out in the mind of Evanchick.
“He taught us what it was to work hard,” Evanchick said. “He tries to instill that college into his teams and players. ... he’s always pushed his players to the max. He knows how to get his players to do what they need to do to win the game. He’s an outstanding mentor, he’s fair with everyone and he’s an unbelievable coach.”
While the record is nice, it just reaffirms what Evanchick, and the rest of the Darien lacrosse community, already believes.
“He’s the greatest of all time in Connecticut,” Evanchick said. “And now it’s official.”