Relationship Goals: two lacrosse coaches discuss friendship


Photo by photo used with permission of Chuck Vozas

(From left to right: Former LZHS coach Tim Holden, LZHS Head coach Mike Sutton, former LZHS coach Adam Silverstein, LZHS Asst. coach Chuck Vozas) all dressed in Illinois State lacrosse gear.

“Not every sport and every other coach here at Lake Zurich have what [Sutton and I] have. What makes Mr. Sutton and I really close, it’s that we’ll fight to the death on the field for each other,” Chuck Vozas, assistant lacrosse coach, said.

Both Vozas and Michael Sutton, head lacrosse coach, believe their close relationship benefits how the lacrosse team is coached, since their communication has grown in the years since they first met, Sutton said.

“It’s the best. For example, he’ll send me a text that reads, ‘Hey, I need to handle this thing before practice. I’ll be five minutes late’, and there’s no worry about whether everything is alright because we are so open with each other,” Sutton said. “Little things like that are so seamless and easy to handle because we’ve been coaching together for so long. We can have a 20 second conversation where we can plan an hour and a half practice because we’ve been together for so long.”

As Vozas transitioned from head coach to assistant coach and Sutton moved from assistant coach to head coach prior to last year’s season, the two maintained their close relationship without letting coaching titles and positions to get in the way.

“Coming full circle (going from head coach to assistant coach), I thought it was right that Coach Sutton gets his chance to prove what he already had proven to all of [his close colleagues], that he deserves to be the head coach,” Vozas said. “Even though there’s the role reversal, we treat each other the same, there’s really no titles in our coaching because we trust each other so much. It’s a great complimentary role, because something that Mr. Sutton forgets, I can remind him about, and if there’s something I forget in a game, he’ll come and whisper it in my ear so I can remember. It’s a great tandem.”

Vozas and Sutton have been close friends since they were college roommates at Illinois State University, where they both played on the school lacrosse team. Sutton recruited Vozas to teach here at the high school as well as coach the lacrosse team alongside him. Years later, the two still teach in the special ed department and coach lacrosse together, while maintaining their strong bond.

Sutton and Vozas’ close relationship has led to some moments over the years that the two look back on and laugh about, even if the moments were unexpected.

“In 2013, we were talking about our team’s success. [Vozas] was our head coach, and we were actually champions of the B Division in the Lacrosse Cup. Our record was like 19 wins and 3 losses and we kicked butt all the way to the championship game and had an excellent championship game,” Sutton said. “After the game, the newspaper, the Comcast reporter, is like ‘Can I interview you, Coach?’. He said that to me, thinking I was Coach Vozas and I said, ‘Yeah, of course!’ So I did the interview, and afterwards on TV it’s me answering the interview and it says Coach Vozas on the bottom of the screen. I stole his championship interview, and he’s been jokingly busting my hump about it ever since.”

Moments like these show how tight Vozas and Sutton have become since they first met in college almost 15 years ago, and the two both made it clear that they hope that the good times won’t come to an end anytime soon.

“I couldn’t imagine coaching this team without him. When it eventually comes to an end- because nothing lasts forever- it’ll be a sad day, and I know that if we ever have to coach against each other, it’ll be tough,” Sutton said. “Hopefully we can stick around here together for the next couple years and build on this success.”