Coffee & Doughnuts with Joe Breschi

February 22, 2017

By Paul McMullen

pmcmullen@CatholicReview.org

Joe Breschi, a Towson native and the men’s lacrosse coach at the University of North Carolina (2016 NCAA champions), sits down with the Catholic Review.

CR: What, and where, are your Catholic roots?

BRESCHI: My mom is from an Irish-Catholic family in New York, my dad from an Italian-Catholic one in Maryland. My older brother Dave and I were altar servers at Immaculate Conception in Towson. I attended the parish school there, then Loyola Blakefield before heading to Chapel Hill (where he was an All-American defenseman). Ironically, when I coached Ohio State, our parish was Immaculate Conception. In Chapel Hill, my wife Julie and I attend St. Thomas More, where our four daughters (Samantha, Abby, Lucy and Emily) have gone to the parish school.

CR: What did you take from your time in Catholic schools?

BRESCHI: The importance of God being present in my life and in my family on a daily basis. As a youngster I thought God was only with me at Sunday Mass. Growing in my faith, I try very hard to have God be a part of my life every day. I attend Mass several times a week and attempt to build my relationship with God by having conversations with him, about how I can better serve him and become a better Christian. I ask him to be active in my family’s life and my workplace, and guide me in mentoring the young men of Carolina lacrosse. God is all-knowing and everywhere. My hope is that my journey with the Lord continues to grow stronger and is everlasting.

CR: Describe a time when you most relied on your faith.

BRESCHI: Without a doubt, my faith was most challenged when I lost Michael, our 3½-year-old son, in a tragic accident in Columbus, Ohio, in 2004. Although my faith was tested, God has bigger plans for me, my family and our journey in life and faith. I have come to realize, through my faith in God, that Michael is in a better place than all of us. I know he’s in heaven waiting for the rest of his family to see him again in paradise. I live every day looking forward to that incredible reunion with Michael. I also know he is watching over his sisters every day of their lives.

CR: Your NCAA champs used several starters from Calvert Hall.  Is it hard to rely on your high school archrival?

BRESCHI: I’m Switzerland when it comes to recruiting. It doesn’t matter whether the young men are from Loyola, Calvert Hall or someplace else, if they’re good character guys and solid students, I would love to have them in our program. I’m extremely proud of what we accomplished together in 2016, and happy for the young men who poured their heart and soul into the season, for one another. We created memories for a lifetime, but what’s important is who they become over their four years at UNC. None of us are defined by the championships we win, but by the men we become, as sons, husbands and fathers.

CR: Favorite saint?

BRESCHI: St. Michael the Archangel, leader of all angels and the army of God. St Jude, patron of lost causes, is a close second; I wear him around my neck. A friend gave that medal to me at Michael’s funeral. St. Jude is the one to call upon when all else fails; his help often comes at the last moment.



Courtesy University of North Carolina Athletics