Skip to main content

Hanover Park High School Grad Wins #700 as Mountain Lakes Coach

Jul 18, 2022 04:22PM ● By Steve Sears

Tim Flynn celebrates win #700 with his players (credit: Perry Troisi)

Hanover Park High School graduate and Randolph resident, Tim Flynn, won his record-setting 700th game as head coach of Mountain Lakes High School boy’s lacrosse.

The Mountain Lakes Lakers trounced Pope John by the score of 12-4 on Thursday, April 21, and Flynn joined a realm where very few reign. Mike Messere of West Genessee, New York, is the all-time winningest boy’s lacrosse coach with 846 victories. Flynn is the fourth coach in the nation to attain 700 wins.

Flynn, who has coached at the school since 1979, was first introduced to the sport in eighth grade. “A friend of mine and myself, we actually hitchhiked over to the high school, and he said, ‘This is a sport we're going to play when we're in the spring.’ And I saw my first lacrosse game at Hanover Park High School in 1968, and I immediately fell in love with it. The action and the physicality just looked like fun.”

At that time in the Garden State, only 12 teams existed. Now there are close to 300 that play the sport.

When Flynn was hired in 1979, then head football coach and Athletic Director, the late Doug Wilkins, threw all his support behind Flynn and boy’s lacrosse. “He opened the doors for our program, he gave us all the support in the world,” Flynn recalls. “Not every lacrosse coach coming in gets that tremendous support.” Wilkins was always there with words of encouragement. “The people that take the journey with you are the ones that you remember. It was a lesson Doug taught me a long, long time ago. He said, “After a while, the wins and losses, they're going to fade, and it's the kids that you're dealing with.’ We have an alumni game every five years, and last year we had 173 ex-players come to the game. I never picked up a ground ball or scored a goal. Those kids - those kids and their families - bought in to what we're trying to do. We have, I think, pretty tough standards. I don't think it's an easy place to play. It's very competitive and you have to compete against sometimes your best buddies. But the kids put themselves on the line every single day, every time we go out there.”

Under Flynn’s helm, the Mountain Lakes boy’s lacrosse teams have won 10 Group I state titles, five overall state crowns prior to the beginning of the Tournament of Champions in 2004, and three TOC championships since it began. Flynn, who is also former president of the New Jersey Lacrosse Coaches Association and a former trustee of the New Jersey chapter of US Lacrosse, was also named Star-Ledger New Jersey Coach of the Year in 1987 and 1989, and the New Jersey Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 1988 and 1993. In addition, Flynn received in 1990 the Len Roland Sportsmanship Award, in 1997 the Garden State Games Distinguished Service Award, entered the NJSIAA Hall of Fame in 1995, was inducted in 1998 into the New Jersey chapter of US Lacrosse Hall of Fame, and the Montclair State College Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2009. Finally, in 2012, Flynn as head coach led the US U-19 Team over Finland, 2 – 1, for a Gold Medal Championship at the U-19 World Championships. 

Flynn recognizes the support of many people, especially his family. His daughter, Kim, is a former Mountain Lakes scorekeeper. “She's now a proud mom in Chatham, and I have to play against my grandsons,” Flynn says. “I’ve actually coached against my son in law, who coached at Roxbury, coached at Chatham, and also coached in college. And then, the number one person as far as I’m concerned, is my wife, who is the most supportive person,” says Flynn, 68, of his partner, Betsy. “She gets to know the kids, gets to know the families, makes me look good in terms of reminding me about things that need to get done. She really helps in so many different ways. And I think if you ask anybody in Mountain Lakes, you're going to hear that same thing. All the ex-players love her, and she just contributes so much.”

When asked which team he’s coached is his favorite, Flynn’s answer is lovingly blunt. “It’s always the team I’m coaching right now. It's apples and oranges. You remember certain groups for great things, and you're always striving to make it so that the kids that are right now in the program kind of remember those things, kind of think about them. We have a serious motivational factor here: they buy in, they want to be a part of that tradition. They put up with all the they put up with, all the things we put them through, the parents support it, and it works. To me, every single kid that put on the uniform is part of our family, and we just feel great in honoring the guys that have been here, and we try to honor them every time we take the field.”