03/27/2013 12:06 PM ET
Former teammates now opposing coaches
Hofstra alums Amplo, Warne will square off Friday
By Eamon McAnaney / SNY.tv
Joe Amplo, now Marquette's head coach, spent 10 years on Hofstra's coaching staff. (Marquette Athletics)

In 2010, Joe Amplo was the best man at Kevin Warne's wedding. On Friday, the former Hofstra teammates will be opposing head coaches for the first time when Warne's Georgetown Hoyas host Amplo's Marquette Golden Eagles.

"I think it will be a cool moment," Amplo said. "We speak almost every day, and I still remember playing against him in high school, so it will be a lot of fun."

"I'm sure there will be a few jokes before the game," Warne said. "We'll think back to our time at Hofstra and look at us now at the top of our profession. Then we'll try to beat the heck out of each other for two hours."

Both men are first-year head coaches at Big East schools. But that's where the similarities end. Warne is charged with trying to lead a once-perennial tournament team back into the postseason for the first time since 2007. Amplo is running a brand new program in Wisconsin, not yet a lacrosse hotbed.

"It was the challenge, that's who I am," Amplo said of taking the position with the Golden Eagles. "I always pride myself on being the underdog and proving who I am, and that's what we can do at Marquette. I knew they were committed here during the interview process and everything they spoke about then has come true."

Warne noted the changes he's had to make at Georgetown.

"The time you spend not on lacrosse has been the biggest adjustment," he said. "You never appreciate that until you sit in the seat. We all have nice, well thought out plans, and sometimes it's like a grenade gets thrown in the room and you spend all your time putting out fires."

Both men were All-Conference defensemen when they played for John Danowski at Hofstra. Danowski, who has 321 career victories to his name, was more than willing to be a reference for the pair.

"These are two blue collar guys who understand from their families what it means to get up early and go to work," he said. "You are talking about Sachem and Ward Melville guys, so they have had their minds expanded not just at the college level but in high school with Joe Cuozzo and Rick Mercurio."

And both still rely heavily on the lessons they learned from Danowski during their time in Hempstead, N.Y.

"It's simple: I want to be an educator, and coach Danowski always told us there are teachable moments every single day," Amplo said. "It's about building relationships. Don't just be their coach, be their teacher."

Warne said of Danowski, "He stressed caring for your players and always be yourself. I'm a Long Island guy, and can be a little loud, but my guys are getting used to that. If I tried to be something that I am not, they would see right through that."

When the Hoyas and Eagles collide on Friday, the coaches' mentor will be following with great interest as his Duke Blue Devils prepare for Harvard in Boston.

"The score is the score," Danowski said. "To me, though, coaching is a higher calling, and those young men on the field Friday will be better people in life for having played for Joe and Kevin. I am just extremely proud of them."

Eamon McAnaney is an on-air host for SNY and a contributor to SNY.tv. Follow him on Twitter @EamonMcAnaney.
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