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  • Burning River Lacrosse - Directors / Coaches

    Burning River Lacrosse's directors / coaches are some of the area’s top college coaches, high school coaches, college players (BR Alumni) and high school players (BR players). Burning River's coaches are focused on the goal of improving our player’s individual / fundamental stick skills, his positional skill set (Attack, Midfield, Defense and Goaltending), and his understanding of team concepts (Transition and Set Piece Offense and Defense) play.  We do this by spending the vast majority of our coaching time teaching techniques and fundamentals in individual or small group sessions.

    Woody Calleri - Founder / Director

    Coach Calleri is in charge of player development for all of Burning River Lacrosse's travel teams. In the past 9 years these teams have seen phenomenal success qualifying for nationals in each of the last six years and winning or reaching the championship game at numerous tournaments. In addition, over 150 of our travel team players have commit to or are playing for over 70 different college programs at all competitive levels (D1, D2, D3, JUCO).

    In 2015 he led the 2019 team to the Pipe City U15 division championship, 2020 team to the 2020 division championship at Irondequit invitational and the 2017 team to the King of the Hill semifinals. In 2014 he led the 2015 team to a 14-4 record and an 5-0 record at the Syracuse Shootout. In 2013 he led the BR Elite team to their second consecutive MVP Tournament Championship, a 5-0 record at the Syracuse Shootout and a 15 game win streak against national competition at recruiting tournaments. In 2010 he led the BR Select team to the US National championship game at the NDP / Dick’s Sporting Goods Tournament of Champions. In 2009, he led the BR Lax U15 team to the championship game at the NDP / Dick's Sporting Goods Atlantic Cup which qualified them for the National Tournament of Champions. In 2008, he led the BR Lax Elite travel team to victory at the NDP / Dick's Sporting Goods Midwest Cup which qualified them for the National Tournament of Champions.  He also led the BR Lax U15 team to the championship game at the NDP / Dick's Sporting Goods Midwest Cup.

    University School - Offensive Coordinator (2010 & 2011)
    In 2011 and 2010 he helped lead the team the Ohio High School State Division 2 Championship game. The 2010 team set school records with 285 goals, 175 assists and a 37.8% shooting percentage (The prior year’s totals were 183 goals, 96 assists, and 23% shooting percentage) and finished the season ranked #2 in Ohio in offense. The 2011 team was the second highest scoring team in school history finishing behind on ly the 2010 team.

    St. Ignatius High School - Head Coach (2006-2009); Defensive Coordinator (2004-2005)
    In 2009 he helped lead the team to the OHSLA Division 1 state quarterfinal (14-5 record). The team was voted #2 in Northern Ohio (NOSLCA poll) and #8 in Ohio (Laxpower ranking). The team recorded its 2nd highest goal total in school history (25 years). 2009 players were honored with 7 All-Region Awards, 3 All-Ohio Awards and 1 All-American award. He was nominated for 2009 NOSLCA “Coach of the Year” award. Prior Year Highlights - 2008 team reached the OHSLA Division 1 state quarterfinals (12-7 record) and was ranked #2 in Northern Ohio and #10 in Ohio (Laxpower ranking). In the 2007, 208 and 2009 the teams had 1 Academic All American, 2 All Americans, 9 All Ohio, 2 Defensive Players of the Year and 20 All Region award recipients. 2008 OHSLA “Man of the Year” award recipient. 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004 MSLCA tournament divisional champion. 2005 Assistant Coach of the Year recipient.

    Other - Ohio High School Lacrosse Association (OHSLA) Executive Committee member (2009, 2008), President, Northern Ohio Scholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association (NOSLCA) (2009, 2008), North Coast Lacrosse Association board member (2008, 2007).

    Don Gries

    Solon High School - Head coach (2013 - present)

    Coach Gries has been coaching High school lacrosse in Cleveland since 1992. First with Cleveland Heights high school from '92 - '98. He then started the high school program at Hawken school in 1999, and started at Solon in 2013.  Coach Gries has won 2 state championships - the first in 1996, and the second in 2002.  In 2013, he Led Solon to the most wins in school history with 14. Coach Gries played his college lacrosse for Yale University.  

    BJ Jenkins

    Hiram College - Head coach (2012 - present)

    Coach Jenkins has coached college lacrosse for over 25 years.  At native of Great Neck (LI) NY, Jenkins was an All-American in both Lacrosse & Football at G.N. North High School as an Attackman & Running Back. Jenkins began his post-secondary playing career at SUNY-Cobleskill prior to transferring to Cortland and was an honorable mention All-American in 1984 and was a two-time All-Region award winner (1984-85). He was also a member of the 1983 & 84 team that competed in the NJCAA Tournament and finished fourth overall. As a student-athlete at SUNY-Cortland, Jenkins played two years of lacrosse and was a member of a team that captured the 1986 and 1987 SUNYAC Championship. In his first season at Cortland, he was named second-team All-SUNYAC as a midfielder.

    After Graduation, Jenkins coached at Lafayette (Pa.) College for four seasons (1989-93) as an offensive coordinator and also coached a player who was named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year during the 1991 season. Jenkins then served as the Head Assistant Coach at Division I Lehigh (Pa.) University, and was the defensive coordinator for four seasons (1994-98). In 1995 and 1996, Jenkins’ defenses ranked as the top and third best defenses in the NCAA and coached two Patriot League Defensive Players of the Year (1995 and 1997). In 1999 Jenkins became the Head Coach at Shenandoah (Va.) University. While at Shenandoah, Jenkins led the Hornets to their most successful season in school history in 2007 with nine overall wins and five wins in the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference. The seven-game improvement was also good for the biggest single-season turnaround in NCAA lacrosse history. The Hornets would also post nine victories the following year during the 2008 season. He was also named the PAC conference coach of the year in 2005. In 2012, Jenkins started the Men’s Lacrosse Program at Hiram College. For the past four years he has lead this new team & is looking forward to building a winning program moving forward.

    Jenkins post-collegiate playing career included being the All-Time leading scorer for the Lehigh Valley Club (1992-1999), 3 year starting attackmen for MAB Paints Club (1989-92), Member of the Philadelphia Wing, MILL (1992), member of Team USA (2001) at the World Championships (Master’s Division) in Perth, Australia.

    Jenkins has been married for 24 years to his wife, Kathryn, and they have a daughter & son – Kayla (21) and Hunter (18).  They reside in Solon, OH.

    P. J. Kavanagh

    Coach Kavanagh has coached lacrosse for over 20 years spanning youth, high school, college and the professional ranks.  Raised in Syracuse, NY, Kavanagh played goalie at Henninger High School and then goalie and LSM while at Division I Colgate University.  After graduation, he served for 10 years as a high school coach before moving to the college level with Plattsburgh State in NY.  During his tenure at Plattsburgh State, first as an assistant then as the head coach, the Cardinals improved dramatically, and in his final three years the Cardinals were recognized among the Top Twenty in Division III.  Kavanagh left Plattsburgh for the opportunity to build a new lacrosse program at the University of Mount Union in Alliance, OH.  In just two years, Kavanagh recruited two strong classes (including several excellent Burning River players!), and he built a quality program featuring an explosive offense and a strong goaltender.  Kavanagh also enjoyed three stints as assistant coach in Major League Lacrosse (MLL); one season with the Bridgeport Barrage and two seasons as the Defensive Coordinator with the Ohio Machine.

    Kavanagh stepped away from college coaching briefly to work more regular hours and spend more time with his family. During that time, he served as Offensive Coordinator with the North Canton varsity program and continues to volunteer as a Committee Member and youth coach with North Canton Youth Lacrosse where he coaches his three sons.

    Returning to the college ranks, Kavanagh is the Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach at the College of Wooster.  In his second season the Fighting Scots concluded the regular season with a 10-6 record (5-3 NCAC) and qualified for the NCAC tournament. The Scots enjoyed their 3rd ranked NCAC win percentage in Wooster history this past spring.

    Jake Kubasta

    Coach Kubasta is the lead coach on our 2019 Team and is in charge of goalie development for all of Burning River Lacrosse's travel teams. In 2015, BR goalies were named Defensive MVP of the state cahmpionship game, Ohio goalie of the year (2x we won that award in 3 years), All American and 1st team all region. He also 2019 team to the Pipe City U15 division championship.

    Coach Kubasta was a 4-year varsity letter winner and Senior Captain at The College of Wooster.

    Jim Scully

    Coach Scully's coaching experience stretches back 26 years after finishing as a player (defense, long-stick midfield) at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ. In 2000, he founded the first middle school team at Hawken School and was involved with coaching U-15 select teams in 2006 and 2008 that competed in national events in Florida and New York respectively. In 2009 he was named head coach for the boys varsity program at Hawken School and has compiled a 39-14 record including a trip to the OHSLA Division II final four in 2009. in 2015 coach Scully was named Ohio Coach of the Year. Scully is in his 18th year as a 7th grade history teacher at Hawken Middle School. He lives in Novelty with his wife Elizabeth and his three children Peter, Hannah, and Ethan.

    Tim Whitehead - Box Lacrosse Coach & Defense Coach

    Coach Whitehead comes to Burning River with extensive experience in both the indoor and outdoor versions of lacrosse.  After growing up playing box lacrosse in Coquitlam, BC, Canada, Whitehead picked up a long pole and played collegiately at Simon Fraser University, highlighted by MCLA final four appearances in 1998 and 1999.  After graduation, he spent 10 years playing box lacrosse in the West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association with the Vancouver Burrards and North Shore Indians, as well as post-collegiate field lacrosse in Vancouver, Seattle, Germany and Switzerland.  Wherever he has found himself in the world, Whitehead has dedicated himself to coaching, with posts at Vancouver College (Canada), The University of Konstanz (Germany) and St. Gallen (Switzerland).  Since moving to the Cleveland area in 2009, Whitehead has played with the Cleveland Lacrosse Club and coached at Kenston High School and John Carroll University before moving to Burning River in 2013.

    By focusing on fundamentals as well as a developing deeper understanding of the game and why we do the things we do, Coach Whitehead has been able to foster great improvement with each team he has coached.  With fundamentals and knowledge in hand, success in the future is easier to attain.   Coach Whitehead lives in Cleveland Heights with his wife of five years, Erin.  

    Former Burning River Players / Assistant Coaches

    Aaron Blossey - Goalie Coach
    Coach Blossey was a 4 year starter at Rocky River. During his time there he twice led his team to the Ohio State Division 2 championship game. In 2013, he was named Ohio Goalie of the Year (Div 2), USLA High School All-American and 1st time All-Ohio. In 2012, he was named Defensive MVP of the Division 2 State Championship Game and 1st time All Ohio. Coach Blossey is now playing his college lacrosse at Wittenberg University.

    Carter Blossey - Goalie Coach
    Carter is a rising junior at Saint Ignatius High School. He is a two year varsity starter as a goalie, 1st team all-Region, two years on Brine Ohio Team, All-star selection for King of the Hill tournament in both 2014 and 2015. In 2015 he led his team to the state of Ohio division 1 semifinals.

    Nate Blue - Defense Coach
    Nate had an outstanding High School career at Medina, where he was one of the top middies in the state (1st team all state) and earned All-American Honors his senior year. Coach Nate Blue is now a Junior at Bellarmine University.

    Alex Brown - Midfield Coach
    Alex is a 4x starter and letterman at Midfield for Solon High School, 2x first team All-Region, All-State, Under Armour Underclass All-American, Peak 200 All-Star and he was selected to play in the Ohio Machine Senior All-Star game. Alex is attending University at Albany to study finance and continue his lacrosse career as a Great Dane.

    Mario Caito - Attack Coach
    Mario is a 3X All-Region, 2X All-State and 2X U.S. Lacrosse All-American Attackmen who graduated from Solon High School in 2015. He will be playing Division One Lacrosse at Canisius College next year. He also competed in the Under Armour Underclass Lacrosse Tournament with the Midwest Regional Team during his summer going into senior year. He started for Solon all 4 years in his high school career and was a Captain his junior and Senior season. He was selected to play in the Ohio Machine Senior All Star Game. Mario has been a part of Burning River for 6 years.

    Stephen Coss - Midfield Coach
    Coach Coss has been working in the Burning River Lacrosse leagues and camps for the past two years. A 2014 graduate of Jackson High School, Coss earned all state honors and will be attending Division 1 Canisius College in the fall of 2014. Steven Coss also played on the Burning River travel teams for 5 years and was a part of the 2013 Elite team which won the MVP recruiting tournament.

    Drew Fox - Defense Coach
    Drew was a 4x varsity defensive letter winner at Solon High School, Solon defensive MVP in 2015, and 2x All Region selection.  He was also selected to play in the Ohio Machine Senior All-Star Game.  He currently plays college lacrosse at Ohio Northern University.  At ONU he was selected as the 2016 Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Freshman of the Year, and also second team All OAC.  He lead ONU with 36 Caused Turnovers, and had 43 Ground Balls.  Ranked second in the OAC, and 30th in the nation in Caused Turnovers. Drew has been with Burning River for 6 years.

    Joe Gravino - Midfield Coach
    Coach Joe Gravino has been coaching in the Burning River leagues and camps for the past six years, and has been coaching travel teams for the past two summers.  Coach Gravino played for Burning River travel teams from 2008-2011.  Coach Gravino was a 4-year varsity letter winner and two-year captain during his high school career at St. Edward, where he earned 2nd team All-Ohio as a junior.  Coach Gravino graduated from Mercyhurst University, where he was on the Division II National Championship runner-up team his freshman year. 

    Vince Gravino - Attack Coach
    Coach Gravino was a 4 year starter at St. Edwards and a 4 year starter at Canisius College. In 2012, he was named a USLA High School All-American and 1st time All-Ohio. He was also selected for the Midwest Under Armour team. In 2013, was named player of the week for the MAAC conference twice, named to the MAAC All-Rookie team, and was MAAC Freshman of the Year Runner-Up. In 2016 Vince was drafted in the 7th round by the Ohio Machine.

    Hogan Harris- Midfield Coach
    Hogan was a 3 year starter and a 4 year letter winner at Medina High School. As a senior he set the single season scoring record and was named All-Conference, All-Region and Academic All-American. He was a 4 year starter and year captain at the University of Mount Union where he graduated as the all-time leading scorer in the history of the program.

    Clarke Jones - Attack Coach
    Clarke Jones is a sophomore lacrosse player at Bates College. Prior to attending Bates, Clarke went to University School where he played four years of varsity lacrosse and three years of varsity hockey. During his high school lacrosse career Clarke received; first team all-state, offensive player of the year, and All-American. During his summers he played for the Burning River travel teams and has worked the past three years as a coach.

    Bryan Karn - Goalie Coach
    Bryan is a 4 year varsity letter winner as a goalie at Solon High School, 3x 1st team all-region winner, 3x all-state, 2x US lacrosse All-American, 2 time captain of Solon High School, and team MVP of Solon his junior year. He was selected to play in the Ohio Machine Senior All Star Game. Bryan is attending the University of Tampa where he will be studying Biology and continuing his lacrosse career.  

    Cameron Marous - Attack Coach
    Cameron Marous was a 4 year varsity starter at attack and 2 year captain for Brecksville Broadview Heights High School. He was All Region Honorable Mention as a sophomore and junior and participated in the Can-Am Showcase All-Star game. He holds the BBHHS record for both career and single season totals of goals assists, and points. Next year Cameron will be attending Ohio Northern University to continue his lacrosse career and major in Business.

    Robert Perez - Attack Coach
    Coach Perez is a junior at Endicott College. Prior to attending Endicott, Bobby went to Rocky River High School where he played four years of varsity hockey and lacrosse. During his high school career, Bobby led his team to back to back state finals appearances while being First Team All-State and First Team All-Region in both seasons. During his first two college seasons the gulls made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament. In 2015, Endicott College won the Commonwealth Coastal Conference Championship.

    Mike Poe - Defense Coach
    Coach Poe played all four years of lacrosse at Rocky River High School. While there he achieved 3 time 1st team all-region awards, 2 first team all-state awards, and position player of the year in 2013. Mike now plays D2 lacrosse at Mercyhurst University and is going into his junior year.

    Gavin Shaner
    - Faceoff Coach
    Coach Shaner is a four year varsity player at West Geauga High School, where he earned 2nd team all state in his junior year as a Face Off Specialist.  Gavin will be a Freshman at Nazareth College this coming fall.

    Michael Vitale- Midfield Coach

    Coach Vitale was a 3 year varsity starter at St. Ignaitus. In his junior year he was named first team all-region. In his senior year he was named first team all-region and Ohio All-American and a Brine All-American. He also was 3 year varsity running back and started as a senior. He is currently attending Siena College where he played in every game as a freshman as a defensive midfielder.

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