Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

The Hilltop’s Other Father and Son

Image Contributor
Scott Urick is Georgetown’s all-time leading goal-scorer with 144 goals.

The Georgetown players huddle during a timeout, their postseason hopes hanging in the balance. The Hoyas have peppered Massachusetts with shots, holding a 20-4 first-quarter advantage over the Minutemen, but they find themselves down 2-1.

Their spirits seem to be wilting under the sun on this warm Saturday afternoon.

Scott Urick speaks first, addressing the offensive issues of the team.

“If you don’t pass the ball, then you are going to see our slow motion offense for 60 minutes,” he yells.

“Hey, we need to keep pushing it on the breaks,” a familiar voice says, finishing Scott’s thought. The transition is flawless, as if they had rehearsed their impromptu speech for days.

“We’ll get our chances, we just need to keep pushing it,” Head Coach Dave Urick, Scott’s father, continues as the timeout ends.

The team breaks the huddle and neither of the two coaches speaks to the other – there’s no need – they have complete trust in each other and simply walk to the opposite ends of the sideline and watch as play resumes.


Georgetown athletics has had its share of father-son duos in recent memory, but none are as intertwined in the fabric of the Hilltop as Dave and Scott Urick. If John Thompson Jr. and John Thompson III are the most recognizable, then Dave and Scott are the most similar. In many ways, they are the same person, just from different generations.

“They can finish each other’s sentences,” says Linda Urick, mother of Scott and wife of Dave. “They can crack each other up. Their chemistry is just remarkable.”

Dave Urick is one of the greatest coaches the lacrosse world has ever seen. While head coach at Hobart, he won 10 consecutive Division III titles before coming to Georgetown, where he took a program that had never experienced a winning season and made it into a perennial national title contender.

Urick is to lacrosse what Naismith was to basketball and Rockne was to football. Not because of his winning, though he’s done plenty of that, but because of his role as an innovator. Many of the rules you see in contemporary lacrosse, like the limit to four long sticks on the field at one time, were invented because of Dave Urick. The man wrote the book on lacrosse – literally; It’s titled “Sports Illustrated Lacrosse: Fundamentals for Winning.”

“In my opinion, Dave Urick is the best lacrosse coach in history,” three-time all-American Greg McCavera (COL ’99) says.

Scott Urick is the undersized son of a legend who, through hard work and determination, turned himself into a Division I player. Never the biggest player on the field, Scott willed himself to become Georgetown’s all-time leading scorer, while helping the Hoyas make the 1999 Final Four. Many people would have been intimidated by the prospect of Scott’s playing experience but it has molded him into a coach who both fits well into Dave’s coaching staff and also complements Dave as a coach.

“They bring their own knowledge to the game,” senior attacker Brendan Cannon says. “They see different things on the field. Sometimes one will start and the other will finish his thought. It comes together real nicely.”

If you close your eyes on the sideline for a minute, you might forget who is who. Their voices are indistinguishable from one another, and their coaching strategies never seem to conflict.

“They have similarities, like how they use a lot of the same expressions and have the same demeanor,” Cannon adds. “They have a similar approach to how to play the game.”


With a minute left in the third quarter, Dave finally loses his calm demeanor. Moments before, Cannon was charged with an unsportsmanlike conduct, giving Massachusetts a one-minute extra-man advantage, and Dave makes his way from the far end of the sideline to the penalty area where Cannon is detained.

“You have got to be freaking kidding me,” he yells at his senior leader. “What did we say about self-inflicted wounds? That’s unacceptable!”

He does not curse, but Cannon gets the message. If Coach yells at you like that, you know you deserved it.


Dave Urick never intended to become a lacrosse coach. In fact, he never intended to become a lacrosse player. An excellent linebacker in high school, he enrolled at SUNY Cortland with the hope of playing football. In the middle of his freshman year, after a successful freshman football season, his roommate, a Long Island native, suggested he play lacrosse in the spring.

“My roommate said, `You should try this.’ So, I played freshman lacrosse and loved the game. I became enamored with it,” Dave says.

After a successful college career as a two-sport athlete, Dave became a high school teacher and football coach, but as fate would have it, he was brought back to lacrosse.

“My college football coach got a hold of me and said that Hobart College is looking for an assistant coach in football and lacrosse, and they needed them right away,” he says. “Getting to Hobart when I did was like being in the right place at the right time. That’s all it was. I go up and interview for a job, and they offer me [the job] on the spot.”

Within a few years, Dave was promoted to be the head coach of both the lacrosse and football teams. He was successful at both, guiding the football team to a 7-2 record in 1977 and helming the lacrosse team to the first of 10 national titles in 1980. To prove he was a jack-of-all-trades, he added one more job title to his resume: squash coach.

“[Hobart] had a faculty-staff tournament every year in the spring,” he recalls. “They had an A-flight, a B-flight and a C-flight. The first year I won the C-flight. Next year I moved up to the B-flight – by then I had been playing almost everyday – and I won it. The next year I moved up to the A-flight and I lost in the championship, and next thing I knew, the athletic director comes up to me and says, `You’re now the head squash coach.'”

In 1990, after his 10th straight Division III national title, he made the decision to come to Georgetown, a place well known for its basketball, not its lacrosse. He had an immediate impact, flipping the team’s 5-8 record from the year before, to an 8-5 mark in his first year.

One of his strengths as a coach, according to both current and former players, is that he is a player’s coach. He is calm and considerate. He does not intimidate his players in the Bobby Knight fashion. He makes his players want to win, rather than fear losing.

“He’s just in general a great guy to play for,” Scott says. “It’s obvious how much his players want to win for him. They’re not afraid of letting him down. They want to make him proud and show him that they want to win as much as he does.”

Cannon, who was the object of Dave’s anger against Massachusetts, agrees with Scott and says that Dave’s outburst that day is an anomaly.

“He’s not a screamer, and there isn’t a kid in the locker room who wouldn’t feel comfortable going to coach and talking about anything,” he says.

Dave may not yell often, but when he does get angry his players understand and know not to make the same mistake again.

“He’s not very confrontational, and to be honest, if he is agitated I don’t want to screw around with him,” Scott says. “It takes a bit to get him to that point, and if he gets there you probably did something to get him to that point.”


Father and son stand there as the extra-man opportunity and the quarter end. Georgetown holds an 8-4 advantage and Dave walks towards the team’s huddle, but before he gets there he turns to Scott.

“Talk to him,” he says, looking toward Cannon, who stands off to the side of the huddle.

Scott walks over and pulls Cannon aside.

“Hey, forget about the penalty. When we get back out there let’s finish it like we know we should. It’s time to put them away,” he says in a way that seems less like a coach to a player and more like teammate to a teammate.


Scott Urick takes the term player’s coach to an extreme. He’s still an active lacrosse player. An attacker for Major League Lacrosse’s New Jersey Pride and only a few years removed from his own playing days on the Hilltop, Scott is a younger voice on the coaching staff that the players can relate to.

“He’s a young guy and same with [assistant coach Matt] Rienzo,” Cannon says. “It’s easier to relate to Scott than Coach sometimes because he’s of a younger generation. Coach is in tune with what’s going on, but having someone younger definitely adds a different element.”

Not only is Scott young, but he is one of the greatest players to don the Georgetown Blue and Gray. The all-time career-leading goal-scorer with 144, he was a two-time captain for the Hoyas who led them to the 1999 Final Four and has played in every game in Pride history. Known for his accurate shot and terrific work ethic, Scott has always out-worked his opponents and was selected to represent the United States in the 2006 World Lacrosse Championships, where he led the team in goals.

“His work ethic is what impresses me the most about his approach to this game,” Dave says. “It’s why he is still playing now.”

The foundation for Scott’s lacrosse career was set at an early age as he followed his father’s teams at Hobart. Scott was able to witness his father at work and get a true understanding of the game and how to coach it. Sometimes, however, he saw a little more than his father would have liked.

“We had a game mid-week against a team that wasn’t particularly strong,” Dave recounts. “We won the game, but we didn’t tear up the field. So Coach Urick gets the team in the locker room, just the players and coaches – I thought. I felt it was time to let them know that maybe we needed to adjust our approach a little bit. The language got a little bit colorful and son-of-a-gun [Scott] is sitting beneath the ping pong table in the locker room. His ears and his eyes are just bugging out. So on the way home that day I had to try to explain to him that maybe his mother doesn’t have to know all that happened that day.”

The incident must not have been too scarring on Scott, because a few years later he agreed to play lacrosse for his father at Georgetown. Not necessarily a blue chip recruit, he was recruited by a few other Division I schools, but there was only one coach he wanted to play for.

“He said to me he wanted to play for the best coach, and because it was Georgetown I was thrilled because it was close so I could see him play,” Scott’s mother Linda says about his decision to play at Georgetown.

His experience playing collegiate lacrosse was different from that of his teammates, however, because he was playing for his father. While most players could call home when things were tough and vent to their parents, Scott could not call and complain to his father about, well, his father. But McCavera says both Uricks were able to balance their two unique relationships.

“They were able to separate the father-son relationship from the coach-athlete better than anyone I’ve ever seen,” says McCavera, one of Scott’s teammates. “Scott was treated no differently than any other player on our team. It was a very unique relationship, and Scott and Mr. and Mrs. Urick handled it about as good as anyone could in that situation. When they were on the field, it was business as usual. Coach Urick was the coach and Scott was the player. When they came off the field, they joked around just like any father and son would do.”

The two separated their relationships so well that Scott rarely calls him dad, choosing to refer to his father by what his teammates and players call Dave: Coach.

“I called him that since before he was my coach,” Scott said. “Everyone calls him that, and I’ve been calling him that since I was probably eight years old.”

After taking Georgetown to the Final Four in 1999 as a captain, Scott earned his degree in 2000 and went to Cornell to pursue a coaching career. After one season, however, Scott made the decision to return to his family and to Georgetown.

“I remember David saying, `I’m thinking of hiring my son, what do you think about it?'” Linda Urick recalls. “I asked Scott, `Do you think you’d ever want to coach at Georgetown?’ And what he said to me a very interesting thing. He said, `I thought it would be much harder to play for my dad and it wasn’t. I can’t believe it would be difficult to coach with him.'”

Scott’s assessment was right, as he immediately made a positive impact coaching the Hoyas’ offense. In his first season at the helm of the attack, Georgetown finished seventh in the nation in scoring, and the Hoyas have finished in the top 20 for scoring offense nationally in four of the last five seasons. Georgetown’s current offensive specialist, Cannon, believes that Scott has helped the team and him personally become better.

“I’ve learned a lot from Scott, and a lot of guys would echo that,” Cannon says. “Right now we’re ranked eighth in the nation in offense so I think that speaks for itself on how good he’s doing his job.”


The game, which once had been firmly in Georgetown’s grasp, is now slipping away. A 4-1 run by the Minutemen has narrowed the score to 9-7, with Georgetown preparing for an extra-man opportunity. Dave talks to the team, while Scott talks to the extra-man unit. Dave walks over to Scott and asks, “Who’s in at midfield?”

“Bronco,” he responds, referring to sophomore Andrew Brancaccio, the team’s top outside scoring threat.

“Okay,” Dave says turning to the extra-man unit. “Beware of the heavy pressure on their ride. Be smart with the ball.”


The trust between Scott and Dave Urick that has been established over their 11 years at Georgetown is apparent in the way the Hoyas’ program is run. Dave oversees the program and looks at the big picture during games, while Scott and Rienzo handle the day-to-day business, dealing with personnel and strategy on game day. If Dave is Eisenhower, then Scott is Patton controlling things on the field.

“I think [Scott and Matt Rienzo] run the show at the offensive and defensive end and they appreciate the latitude, but I’m going to keep my eye on the situation,” Dave says. “I know not all programs have the kind of experience on their staff. What we’re doing at the offensive end of the field, I’ll make a suggestion or two, but that’s mostly Scott’s responsibility. I’m more concerned about the riding, the clearing, some of the bigger team concepts.”

“I think Coach has an awful lot of trust in us,” Scott says. “We do make a lot of the decisions on gameday, and I like to think we’ve done well so far. When there’s one voice that needs to be heard, obviously it is his. He certainly commands that, but he gives us a chance to chime in when it’s appropriate.”

Dave may give his assistant coaches a lot of leverage in decision-making, but if he makes a suggestion they don’t argue, Scott says. Ten national championships and a .752 winning percentage give you the credibility to make changes when you see necessary.

“He’s obviously got some experience, and it’s apparent on many occasions how valuable that is,” Scott says. “He’s rarely wrong. If he says something, my first reaction is that he might be mistaken, but it rarely works out like that.”

Luckily for Georgetown, the two have been right more times then they’ve been wrong, compiling a 111-38 record in their 11 years together at Georgetown. Scott’s teammates, and the players who have played under him and Dave, understand what a special pair the two men are and know what a privilege it is to play with and for them.

“I think it’s a very unique relationship that they have,” McCavera says. “I think all the guys who started with Scottie freshman year saw what a unique relationship they had. It’s a testament to the type of family the Uricks are and the way they handle themselves.”


Dave speaks to the team, congratulating them on their hard-fought 12-8 victory before letting them go visit with their waiting parents and friends. As the team departs, father and son are left next to each other.

“Hey,” Dave says, getting Scott’s attention. “Good work. We got the win.”

The two shake hands and exit the stadium together.

More to Discover