Players garner the majority of attention in National Lacrosse League coverage, with good reason. They make the plays that win and lose games, and that delight the fans. But behind every team is a coaching staff that is critical to its operation and success, and they deserve some notice as well.
For this series, NLL.com sent a questionnaire (loosely based on the Proust Questionnaire) to various head coaches with the goal of learning a little more about the men behind the benches and their backgrounds in the game. It is also a chance to have a bit of fun and learn more about what goes on behind the scenes of an NLL team.
In this edition, we hear from Paul Day of the Philadelphia Wings. Day has won at all levels of lacrosse. As a player, he won Minto Cups with Peterborough and an MILL championship with the Buffalo Bandits. As a coach and manager, he has won multiple NLL, Mann Cup and World Championships. He was named the NLL Coach of the Year in 2004 when he was with the Rochester Knighthawks. In 2020, as the architect of the new Wings, Day was named both Coach and General Manager of the Year awards.
NLL.com: At what age did you start playing lacrosse?
Paul Day: Three years old.
NLL.com: At what age did you start coaching lacrosse?
Paul Day: In my teens. Youth lacrosse and hockey – when I was in high school. I was 24 when I started coaching Jr. A lacrosse.
NLL.com: What are three key attributes you look for in players you want on your team?
Paul Day: Character, talent and a love for the game of lacrosse.
NLL.com: What is your favorite pre-game meal? Is it different when you’re coaching than it was when you were playing?
Paul Day: I eat light before games either way, no favorite.
NLL.com: Who controls the music in the dressing room?
Paul Day: Before he was traded, Trevor Baptiste. We’ll have to see who takes control this season.
NLL.com: Do you like the music that is played in the dressing room?
Paul Day: It’s pretty good, some old some new – some Springsteen which is nice.
NLL.com: How important is winning faceoffs to winning games?
Paul Day: The 30-second clock can make faceoffs not that important, but they are important late in games and at critical times. You get the ball back in 30 but late in a quarter or OT it’s important to have first possession.
NLL.com: Which team in the NLL, current or former, has had the best jerseys?
Paul Day: Portland.
NLL.com: What elements of coaching the team do you delegate to your assistant coaches and what do you prefer to have more control over?
Paul Day: Assistants have full control of their offense/defense.
NLL.com: What is your favorite NLL road trip?
Paul Day: Denver.
NLL.com: At what age do goalies generally reach the peak of their career?
Paul Day: 26-30 (Matt Vinc 40).
NLL.com: Other than lacrosse, what is your favorite sport to watch?
Paul Day: Hockey.
NLL.com: Other than lacrosse, what is your favorite sport to play?
Paul Day: Hockey.
NLL.com: From what country will the first player from outside North America to play regularly in the NLL come?
Paul Day: We’ve already had a few. Gordon Purdie, from Australia, played years in the MILL and in the NLL from 1990 to 2004. There are others. We had a Finnish player in Philadelphia (Joakim Miller); we also had a player in Rochester who was from Australia.
NLL.com: Where would you like to see a world box lacrosse championship played?
Paul Day: Europe again – we enjoyed 2011 in Prague.
NLL.com: Who is the best box lacrosse player of all time?
Paul Day: John Tavares.