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Published July 31, 2013

Brother Rice lacrosse coach steps down

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Longtime Birmingham Brother Rice lacrosse coach Rob Ambrose has announced his retirement. He ends his career with the Warriors with 16 state titles and one national championship.

Even former Birmingham Brother Rice lacrosse coach Rob Ambrose is a bit taken back when hearing the milestones that were achieved under his watch.

“This is the first time I’ve ever looked back on our accomplishments, because we were always looking forward,” he said. “It’s kind of nice to sit down and be able to look over your shoulder a little bit.”

Ambrose leaves the program after 21 years of coaching, starting in 1983 for two seasons before returning in 1995.

During that time, the Warriors won 16 state titles, eight Midwest titles, 16 Catholic High School League championships and a national title in 2008.

“I just thought about every day and what we needed to do that day to get better. We just took it minute by minute and hour by hour, and took care of the little things,” he said.

Currently, the Warriors hold a streak of being undefeated against teams from Michigan for the last 11 years.

“I never really thought it was possible. It kind of came into play after nine or 10 years. The kids really took it in stride to push themselves and didn’t want to be part of that team to lose that game. It was an underlying pressure, but it was good. It helped the kids get better,” he said. “In an 11-year period, there’s gong to be close games, no matter how good you are.”

Rice won an overtime game this season, and even trailed by three goals in the Division 1 state championship before bouncing back to beat Forest Hills Northern/Eastern 14-10 June 8.

Ambrose said he didn’t know if he’d retire at the state final and made the decision in early July. He said he’s moving on for personal professional reasons. 

“We were very blessed to have a coach that made sure his players were more than just winners on the field,” Brother Rice Principal Michael Segvich said in a prepared statement. “He made sure they were leaders in the community and demanded academic excellence from them, as well. … His entire staff was made up of alumni that wanted to come back and pay it forward to the next generation of students.”

Assistant coach Chris Feldman also announced his retirement. He’s been with the program for 12 years, though Ambrose said it’s being left in good hands with new coach Ajay Chawla.

Chawla has been an assistant under Ambrose for 12 seasons, according to the former coach. He’s also an alumnus, graduating in 1993.

“I think the program is in great shape,” Ambrose said. “There’s really a lot of good kids with the underclassmen. They’re really talented, and I’m very proud that I’m not walking away from something that is broken. They are as strong as ever and the future looks bright.”

As for Ambrose’s future, he hasn’t ruled out coaching again at some point in his life, but there is nothing planned for the near future.

“I have plenty of things to do to keep me busy, but there will definitely be a void for me that I’ll miss because it’s been such a challenge and a lot of fun. I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to do it,” he said. “I’m just going to move on. It’s been a great 21 years of my life. It’s time to turn the page.”

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