As a member of the Summit High School Class of 2011 and of the lacrosse team, I feel the need to write about my experience with Coach Kirst.
Fast forward to senior year.
I considered myself an underdog for a starting spot, with fewer years of experience and training than the competition. But Coach Kirst believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself, reaching out regularly in the offseason to check on my progress and continue encouraging me. I have never worked harder than I did that year, and a lot of that drive came from wanting to justify Coach K’s faith in me. I ended up with a starting role and we came within a few crossbar deflections of three-peat, and another Summit championship. Coach Kirst inspired me, as he has with countless others, to break my own expectations, with his infectious enthusiasm and support. Coach proved to me that at the intersection of preparation and belief is success, or as he would call it, “mojo.” And, it’s all about the mojo.
More than his vast accolades on the field and accomplishments in the sport, it will be Coach Kirst’s charisma and attitude that will resonate with me for years to come. He had a way of bringing out the best in his players, both as athletes and as people that made him truly unique. I can say with confidence that he has influenced every person he has coached, which is quite a statement considering he coached everything from Summit Varsity to three youth teams to (probably) the East Hanover bowling team.
Coach Kirst taught everyone what it means to be a Hilltopper; be the best version of yourself, take pride in what you do, believe in yourself, and the believe in the program you represent. It’s this intangible definition that creates an aura of transcendental greatness around the program, this formula for success that fuels a competitive program year after year, a program that he was an integral part in building.
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