After a schoolboy athletic career in Yonkers, NY, Joe Cuozzo attended Cortland State University, where he played football and lacrosse. Mr. Cuozzo trained for a career in physical education, and began teaching at Bay Shore High School on Long Island. After nine years, Joe Cuozzo moved to a new high school in Setauket, NY, and in 1969 began the boys varsity lacrosse program at Ward Melville in competitive Suffolk County. Since those early days the Patriot lacrosse program has become one of the nation’s best. With an average season of eighteen wins and one loss, Cuozzo’s Ward Melville teams won seven New York State championships, 15 Long Island Championships, 31 County Championships and 32 Division championships. His Mount Sinai teams have won one state title and two county championships.
Cuozzo is a Member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, The National High School Coaches Hall of Fame, LI Metropolitan Hall of Fame, Cortland State Hall of Fame, Suffolk County Hall of Fame and was the National High School Athletics Association Sports Coach of The Year. Cuozzo coached the North Team in the first Under Armour All-American game in 2006. Joe Cuozzo has coached 54 High School All-Americans. Patriots are found on the rosters at Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Marist, Siena, Lehigh, Brown, Yale, Tufts, UMBC, Bucknell, Manhattan, Ursinus, Trinity, Roger Williams, Wesleyan and others. Drew Casino (Princeton), Chris Passavia (Maryland), Liam Banks (Syracuse) and Greg Cattrano (Brown) have been professional players. Cuozzo’s former assistants are now head coaches at high schools and colleges around the country. His teams are known for defense, conditioning, unselfish ball-movement, and come-from-behind victories in big games.
In his first year after graduation, Mercurio returned to his high school Alma Mater Brentwood, to coach the JV lacrosse team, posting a record of 27-0-1 over two seasons. In 1977 he came to Sachem to teach physical education and as an assistant football and Junior High School lacrosse coach.
Mercurio was Named Section XI Coach of the Year in 1987, 1995 and 1996. In 1995 he was honored by being selected the United States Lacrosse Coaches’ Association’s Secondary School Coach of the Year. In 1993 he was inducted into the USLCA Century Club, and in the 2004 season he was honored for his 300th win.
Mercurio has led his Sachem teams to a New York State Championship in 1993 and the State final in 1995. They have also compiled an impressive fifteen League/Division I championship seasons, including two county championships and two Long Island championships. His teams have made 21 consecutive playoff appearances.
Mercurio has had the privilege to have coached numerous NCAA All-Americans and positional Players of the Year. They include Div I Player of the Year and Tewaaraton Trophy winner, Doug Shanahan (Hofstra). American East Player of the Year, Luke Daquino (Albany). Div II Players of the Year R.J. Degenfelder (C.W. Post) and Larry Falkman (Southampton). Recent players include Jamie Lovejoy (Rutgers), Corey Harned (Hopkins), Mike Mollot (Maryland), Ryan Schoenig (Princeton), Matt Darak (West Point), Cody Shea (Navy).
Scott Reh, Director of Athletics, Physical Education, Health, Nursing & Grounds, Mt. Sinai School District
Rocky Point High School
All American; first person in history of school
Ray Enners Award Suffolk County Player of the Year
1985: 152 points senior year; New York state record: 99 assists, 53 goals
Rocky Point athlete of the year junior and senior year (only two time winner in schools history)
Part of Three New York State Championship Teams as a Player, Athletic Director and Coach
Rocky Point High School Hall Of Fame
Suffolk County Sports Hall Of Fame
Adelphi University, 1985 - 1989
Full Division I Lacrosse Scholarship
2 year Team Captain, North South College All-Star Game
Posted three consecutive seasons leading the team in assists
Division I Top 10 in Country for points 1988 &89
Third All-time Career Points, Second All-time Career Assists, Fourth All –time Ground Balls