Stopak Family – 2018 Graduate

“This is a letter of thanks to Woody and the Burning River staff for all the effort the program put into developing my son, both as a player and a person over the past six years.

We started at Burning River when Whit was in sixth grade after playing on another local travel team. The  personal attention the players received to develop their skills and build their competitive athletic abilities convinced me that Burning River was the best travel lacrosse program in Northeast Ohio. When he joined the program, I knew that my son would thrive and reach his goal of playing at the highest level of lacrosse.

During Whit’s freshman year, the coaching staff at BR assisted with his acceptance to the Maverik Showtime camp.  This camp to many people is considered the top recruiting camp in the country.  Whit not only had no problem competing, but stood out at the tournament, and was selected as an all star.  This is when the recruiting process began for our family.  Woody answered every phone call, question or concern we had during this time. He gave us full support and spoke to all of the recruiting coaches interested in Whit on a daily basis.  It is amazing that he does this for every player that has an interest in playing college lacrosse, and still runs a first class organization. Woody truly is an advocate for his players and families.

After Whit committed to Hofstra University, Woody continued to act as a liaison between the coaches and our family.  He also reminded Whit that he needed to continue to maintain his grades and to continue to work on his lacrosse skills. His coaching reaches beyond the sport, and  cultivates building character, discipline, and leadership. To expand,  the players have learned the importance of doing what is right when no one is looking. They learn that their level of success is determined by their level of discipline to give their all  consistently, not just when they feel like it. Finally, leadership is about, making others better as a result of your example and influence.  Woody’s dedication expands beyond his players. He generously holds annual charity tournaments for breast cancer, Cross Out Cancer, as well as the Fisher House tournament which contributes to raising money for a network of military comfort homes where families can stay at no cost while their loved one is receiving medical treatment. Woody also supports the community through sponsorship of school lacrosse programs in the Northeast Ohio region. He never stops working for the families in the program and the community around him. He is a role model for loyalty and dedication.

Burning River is the top tier program in NEO and its results speak for themselves.  Woody started out only as a lacrosse coach for my son and now he is a family friend.”