Like many people with military backgrounds, Tom Mayne's personality exudes the traits of a former serviceman — a strong handshake, eye contact and good posture.
Mayne's military background also influences the way he leads his lacrosse teams. In his first season as the boys' lacrosse coach at Susquehannock High School, his players quickly learned what life playing for Mayne would be like.
"He’s definitely brought a new atmosphere to this program," said junior goalie Connor Kernan. "We were in here during the winter at 6 a.m. three days a week for workouts. I think they’ll be very beneficial this year. We had that head start on everybody."
Mayne, who graduated from the Naval Academy in 1991 and was a pilot for 11 years, said he wants his players to adopt a blue-collar mentality to lacrosse and life.
"I believe that if you work harder than another team, that hard work pays off," Mayne said. "I want the kids to buy into that mindset, not just with lacrosse but everything in life. If they can see the results here in lacrosse, maybe they’ll carry that mentality into their lives. It takes a lot to get up at 6 a.m. Doing it is a measure of your devotion and dedication."
Coaching history: Mayne didn't coach last season after he stepped down as Central York's boys' lacrosse coach in 2017.
He coached the Panthers to a 49-23 record in his four seasons, including a District 3 Class 3-A semifinal appearance and an 18-3 mark in his final season.
Mayne, who was a youth coach for nine years before taking over at Central, said stepping down turned out to be the right move. His mother got sick a month after he left Central, and he said even if he had stayed, he wouldn't have been able to coach last season anyway.
"I'm glad how it worked out," he said. "I made a smooth transition to an assistant of mine (Ryan Muller) to take over the team, and I got to say goodbye to the team."
Getting the itch: During his year off, Mayne got the itch to coach again, and he even considered leaving the state entirely.
"During that year off, I said to my wife that I missed it. I didn’t know what to do with myself," Mayne said. "I really didn’t plan on coming here necessarily. I thought I may move out of the state and go to Texas to coach. I had no idea."
However, when he and his wife decided to stay in the area, Mayne turned his sights to the Susquehannock job, which was open after Russ LeBlanc left the program for a job with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Florida.
"When the job came open, it was one that I was most interested in taking," Mayne said. "Russ was concerned about the program when he left with who was going to take over. When I told him I was applying, he was ecstatic. I was the guy he wanted here after I showed interest."
Choosing Susky: What interested Mayne the most about the Susquehannock job was the lacrosse tradition in the area. With lacrosse's rise in York County a new phenomenon, Susquehannock's proximity to Maryland and top athletes led the area, Mayne said, to be the "standard" for lacrosse at the turn of the century.
"As all of us were learning, lacrosse further north, this was the place everybody measured themselves against," Mayne said. "With Russ leaving and the situation they ran into with them not finding a coach, I didn’t want this program to go in the wrong direction. Honestly, I thought I could maybe make it better and keep the program's traditon and give it a breath of fresh air."
Kernan said while the team was disappointed when LeBlanc left, they were also glad Mayne was the person taking over.
"The team loves him," Kernan said. "When we found out coach Mayne’s resume and what he’s done through York County, we were very excited to get him in here."
Season preview: The Warriors are coming off a successful season. They finished fourth in the District 3 2-A playoffs last year and advanced to the state playoffs.
They lost 13 seniors to graduation last year, though, and only return 10 plays from last year's program. Mayne said Kernan, as well as defender Dan Clapp, attack Allen Clapp, attack Gavin Held and midfielder Ben Wilson are expected to be the Warriors' top players this season.
"We have a young team," Mayne said. "We got some guys who played before to come back. We have eight or nine freshmen. I have some quality guys who didn’t see the field much last year, and that’s going to make up our core of our starting group."
Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.