The lesson is simple. You keep your nose to the grindstone. You keep believing in your culture.

Dave Pietramala is widely regarded as the greatest defensemen in lacrosse history. As a member of the U.S. National Hall of Fame, he’s the only person to have won an NCAA national championship as both a player and coach, and the only person to be named both the NCAA player and coach of the year. Incredible.

Pietramala – "Coach Petro" – recruited me to play under him at Johns Hopkins University in 2005, where we competed in three NCAA national championships, and winning two. Coach taught me how to work hard, compete, be humble, and respectful. He always harped on “the little things” – like keeping a clean locker room, hustling in between reps, being the first in line, and making eye contact. Each of these learned tactics translate into professional sports, business, and relationships.

On the show, we take a drive down memory lane, revisiting learning moments and major adjustments from my freshman year in college. I was fortunate to step onto the field with one of the best senior classes our sport has ever seen, and one that completed an undefeated season, going 16-0.

Coach Petro shares with us his origin story, why he chose to play at Johns Hopkins, and what the one-on-one battles were like with our sport’s greatest player, Gary Gait.

In 1990, Pietramala’s coaching career began, taking his first coaching gig as an assistant coach for Gilman high school. From there, he earned a part-time collegiate assistant coaching position that paid him $3,000. To supplement his lower wage, Pietramala worked at an aluminum extrusion factory from 6am to 2pm. His subsequent coaching positions took him through the University of Pennsylvania, Loyola College, and Cornell, where he was named the NCAA Coach of the Year.

In 2001, Pietramala took the head coaching position at his alma mater, where he’s helped revitalize the Hopkins program. He’s won two national championships, been to seven Final Fours, sixteen NCAA tournaments, and winner of the 2015 Big 10 conference championship.

Other topics from our conversation include:
  • What makes a high performance competitor
  • The importance of feedback
  • Pietramala’s biggest regret
  • Recruiting: what Pietramala is looking for in a young lacrosse player
  • I teach him how to use Twitter

Dave Pietramala

Dave Pietramala

Johns Hopkins Lacrosse Head Coach

Show Notes

6:30 Relationship building
10:10 Recruiting
12:50 Being a good listener
15:15 Harnessing competitive spirit
20:55 Attention to detail
26:50 Biggest regret
30:50 Importance of team
36:40 Building competitive thirst
40:10 Defining competition
45:20 How to achieve success
49:20 Competing against Gary Gait
56:50 Petro's road to Hopkins
65:30 Winning a championship
74:20 Changing to succeed
83:15 Adapting to modern times
91:15 Maintaining and defining success