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May 28, 2018

Matt Gaudet

Ben Reeves

Andy Shay

Jack Starr

Boston, Massachusetts

Yale - 13, Duke - 11

THE MODERATOR: We have Yale head coach Andy Shay, and student-athletes Jack Starr, Matt Gaudet, and Ben Reeves. This is Yale's first NCAA title in Division I Men's Lacrosse. We'll start with an opening statement from Coach Shay.

ANDY SHAY: I got a lot of stuff to say here, might be a little random here. First of all, just want to recognize that it's Memorial Day, and it's a big deal in our country, obviously, for people that gave their lives for us. Reminded that I live in a country and work at a university that somehow pays me to do that, it's unbelievable.

Credit to Duke University and their incredible coaching staff, incredible players for the incredible season that they had. It was an absolute battle. We jumped out on them, and they grinded, and we responded by grinding. They made it really hard. They made it really, really hard.

I'm really proud of my guys for sticking with it. My guys are just a coach's dream. Really a coach's dream in every sense of the word. It's just unbelievable that they have accomplished this.

I told them last night, you push them and you push them and you push them, and sometimes your season ends in a loss, and you feel like maybe you let them down. Didn't want to let them down, and we didn't lose. So I'm just really happy for them. I'm happy for myself too, of course. But I'm happy for Yale. Yale lacrosse, the alums, all the guys that played for me. All the guys that didn't play for me.

Tom Beckett's going away present. How about that? Vicky Chun's arrival present. So, it's just awesome. That's a random opening statement. Sorry.

Q. Matt, what clicked for you this weekend? 10 goals, and what did you learn throughout your career so far from that guy sitting to your right?
MATT GAUDET: I don't think my ten goals this weekend was attributed to anything I did specifically. I honestly could not thank our offensive guys enough and our Coach. Hate to admit it, but we are talented, we are talented. Hard work has been the framework for our program, and just the weight room every single day, practice every single day. We've been put in these strenuous situations, and our midfielders along with Ben and Jackson, even the defensive side of the ball has just worked incredibly hard.

This weekend I thought that our midfielders and both Ben and Jackson Morrill were able to draw a lot of attention. As soon as I saw the back of my defenders helmet, I just went under him. They'd be able to draw the slide, and I was able to get my lay-ups. I just owe it all to my teammates.

Second question? Was the second question, the guy to my -- like Ben or Coach Shay?

I think from day one Ben really showed me what it's like to be a Yale lacrosse player. I used to really believe that lacrosse was just a talent based game, and then Ben showed me the way, and he showed me it's all about fundamentals. It's about working hard. I can't even express how much I'm going to miss him next year.

I just think him along with the senior class really showed us the way, and showed us what it's like to be a Yale Bulldog.

Q. You had I want to say three or four points coming out of the third quarter to get that going. How important was it for you guys to come out in that third quarter firing? When Duke started to kind of answer, you answered them back in that quarter?
BEN REEVES: Yeah, we came out hot in the third quarter, and we knew Duke was going to come out and respond shortly after, and they did. They pulled it within two, I think. We were able to make a couple plays late in that third quarter to kind of stretch that lead, and thankfully hold on to it. It's just an incredible, incredible experience.

Q. Ben, you have four years of perspective on how far the program has come in the postseason from where it's been. What is your take on the significance of winning this championship?
BEN REEVES: It's incredible for the program. All the guys that came before us that helped build the culture and build the brand that this program is. All the credit to Coach Shay and the rest of the coaching staff. They do a tremendous job every single day getting us ready and building the culture, and just who Yale lacrosse is as a team. It's tough to put into words, but it's also the guy to my right, all credit to him.

Q. Jack, may I ask you a true freshman playing in this title game, what were you thinking before the game?
JACK STARR: Well, it's hard to just treat it as a normal game, but that's really what I had to do. Coach Shay always helps me in kind of staying in the present. I feel like having that next play mentality was really one of the thing that's got us through this. It's phenomenal to play in this, but I owe it to all the upperclassmen and Coach Shay and the coaching staff.

Q. Matt, aside from maybe one of the four halves this weekend you guys scored on at least your first three possessions coming at the start of the game or coming out of the break. What was key to that for you guys? What was it you guys were seeing and what kind of allowed you guys to be that successful in those situations?
MATT GAUDET: I think throughout practice our coaches put so much pressure on us. It's something that Yale's never really been good at up-tempo offense. Our coaches really worked on that this year. The coaching staff really instilled what it's like to promote fast breaks, and 55s, five-v-fives. I think just the hard work we put in this entire year kind of really set the precedent for that. It's incredible, yeah.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Shay.

Q. Across this whole weekend, Matt coming up with the ten goals, like he said, he wants to give credit to the guys around him, understandably so. But what you've seen from him in maybe Albany the other day who keys in on guys like Ben, and then Duke on Ben, and then Matt steps up there?
ANDY SHAY: Yeah, there is no doubt about it. Matt's such a threat inside that he changes your slide game, or if you want to come from the inside, he's going to get open. When he gets open, he's pretty deadly. And Matt, Matt has had an up-and-down year, and he's been challenged, and he got challenged before we left for Foxborough, right before we got on the bus, we had a spicy moment in practice where I told him we needed more out of him, and he responded. So I'm just really proud. Really proud of him.

Q. Just looking back at your year by year, it seems like your program really took off around 2010. I'm wondering if you could take me back to that time, what went into kind of building a successful program, a championship caliber program, and some obstacles or challenges you faced along the way?
ANDY SHAY: Yeah, I mean, it's been -- I would like to think that we've improved really every year. I think the record in '08 and '09 didn't necessarily show it. But emailing with the '08 guys this morning, and that's my first class. It breaks my heart that those guys did and do what these guys do and it didn't work out for them, you know what I mean? You peel back the layers and you'd see the same stuff.

I think that I had to grow up as a coach, and I'd like to think that I did that after probably '09. Stopped concentrating on the opponent. Especially at an Ivy League school when you don't have that many practices, you really shouldn't concentrate on the opponent at all. I started concentrating on ourselves and was able to have kind of that breakout year of first Ivy League title in 2010.

From there, it was kind of maybe I saw the light. The kids, like I said, still try to reinforce the culture. It's the same style of kid, the same type of person, it just got better and better, and they wanted more and more. So here we are.

Q. May I ask about Warner, not only as the face-off wing, but the job he did defensively, I thought he was incredible?
ANDY SHAY: Yeah, it's funny, we match him up on 15, and he was on him quite a bit among other guys. But that kid had been called many times over the course of the last couple weeks unguardable. He's been explosive the last couple weeks. I was a little -- I was discouraged that Tyler wasn't a first-team All-American USILA, I think he's the best D-midi in the country. And I was proud that he was able to cover him like he did and be such a presence in the middle of the field.

He's a phenomenal kid that not a lot of people recruited. He's an ecology and evolutionary biology major, a brilliant kid. He's going to be a doctor, a high-character kid. He just does everything full throttle. So I'm proud that he had the day that he had.

Not knowing, I mean, you watch these guys on film -- I think I was telling you, you watch these guys on film and I'm just like, well, we'll see if Tyler can do it, because this kid's just leaving everybody. Leaving everybody behind, and not Tyler. If we run into him next year, I'm not sure what we're going to do, but for now we were able to cover him.

Q. I wanted to ask you, you mentioned that this is a going away present for Tom.
ANDY SHAY: Who just walked in.

Q. Yeah, I mean, he hired you, and could you talk about your relationship and what it means to give him this National Championship going away present?
ANDY SHAY: He and I have a special relationship. He gave me a shot. It was an outside-the-box hire.

Big, guy, would you agree? At the time (laughing).

He's such an impressive guiding force for me. He's been hard on me. He's challenged me. He's supported me. Really as an athletic director it's been -- he's a huge part of why I behave the way I behave. He's held me accountable.

And I told him after the game, I said in 2013, I'll never forget, we were in my hotel room before the Syracuse game, and we were talking about this kid that we got, Matt Gaudet, and I said, Tom, you're going to finish everything. He's unbelievable. You wait until you see him.

He said, I'm going to have to watch it on TV because I'll be retired by then. He said, You're going to win the National Championship, and I'll be watching it from wherever. I said, You can't leave until we do.

And we lost to Syracuse that next day in the quarterfinals, and I thought we were close then. I thought we could have done it if we won that game.

We were talking last night, and I was just thinking, I really want this tomorrow, just to say we did it. We did it. I appreciate him hiring me. The two biggest scams going are that I tricked my wife to marry me and I tricked him into hiring me. I actually get paid by Yale University to coach these kids. I have a pay stub to prove it. It's unbelievable. I am the luckiest guy in the world.

So, thank you, Tom. Publicly, thank you, for everything.

Q. Ben was just talking so much about how much you meant to him. He said it last game too. How much does he mean to you, not just as a player, but as a person, and what he's done for you as a person?
ANDY SHAY: Yeah, Ben, it's so funny, just about everybody here sees a big and fast and talented lacrosse player. It's like 5% of Ben Reeves. Like you don't even know. He is just such -- his major they call it MCDB, because no one wants to say Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology over and over again. It's such an absurd concept that he's got a 3.9? What's he got? A 3.96? 3.89.

It's so absurd that he's got that major that people go transcend being impressed and go right to jokes.

Like think about that for two seconds. And he came in underrecruited. He's an animal in the weight room. He's developed into this phenomenal player. Everything we tell him, he does.

What people don't know, last year -- he's got a chance. He's absolutely killing USA trials. You were there, Matt. Right? Killing it, right? Fall comes, and Dino's like, if he can make it, great. I don't want you to have to play him. So I talked him out of it, and I said you need to go to tryouts. You have to go. This is Team USA. And he said, "Coach, I'm the captain of this team, I'm staying."

Nobody knew that. People thought he was blowing off the tryout, he was hurt, whatever. Ben Reeves said he was captain of the team and turned down a shot at Team USA. And he had a great shot at playing on Team USA.

He said, "Coach, I'll go next time, it's fine. I'm the captain of this team." For our fall ball. That's un -- are you kidding me? This kid is unbelievable. Never seen anything like it. Like I said, as a student, as a person.

And last year, reluctant leader, doesn't want to be captain. I don't want to be captain. I can't be captain. I can't be captain. Gets captain. Turns into one of the best captain's we've had. It's just -- I don't know. He's the man. I'm going to miss him. I love him dearly. I'm going to miss him.

Q. It's just been kind of a theme for the tournament that the one team seems to have really jumped out in front. I know you couldn't get too comfortable when it was 4-0?
ANDY SHAY: I'm still not comfortable.

Q. It's over, Coach, it's over.
ANDY SHAY: I'm going to chain that to my neck.

Q. Did you at least feel a little bit better about things at that point?
ANDY SHAY: At what point, when we jumped out?

Q. Yeah.
ANDY SHAY: No, no, listen, I wasn't comfortable when we jumped up on Albany. I knew it was going to be a grind. I thought it would be a much closer game. When it was 4-1, I guess it was, is that what the tally was at the time? I felt like it was going to be a grind game. Then in the second half when we got to ten goals I felt like if we could just get one more.

Thought we got some bad bounces in the middle of the field. I was yelling at the refs, I don't normally do that. I'd like to think I don't normally do that. Maybe I do. But it was a bit of an avalanche in the third quarter in terms of time of possession. Our guys to their credit, not necessarily following the plan in the clearing game, but when it started to come back at us, they stuck it out and grinded out this win.

Q. You mentioned the Syracuse quarterfinal. What have you taken away from your other NCAA tournament game experiences over the last several years? And how gratifying is it to see? I know you had some leads in some of those games, how gratifying is it to see your team in this year's tournament push out to a lead and hold teams at bay?
ANDY SHAY: Yeah, there's no doubt about it. When we lost to Maryland in 2015, was it? We had 7-4, or 6-4 lead, whatever that was, late. We turned the ball over here and there and then came back. But we watched Maryland go to the National Championship game, and we felt like we had that -- those seniors were freshmen in that game. We made a lot of that like why can't we be there.

I personally felt like it was a little bit of bad luck in the last couple years, and I would say that maybe we got some better luck this year. I think you need to go injury-free, and you need to get some bounces. Let's be honest. You've got to get a little lucky, and I think we did that. So we've won it a lot, but even so, just every team is different and you just try to process it like hopefully take the next play, and those kids did that.

Q. Coach, I'm going to ask you this again, and I asked you it on Tuesday.
ANDY SHAY: Yes, what's that?

Q. I'm going to ask you the same question I asked you on Tuesday. Saw you guys in Syracuse for that first scrimmage. Seeing you guys now, how would you summarize the season for you guys?
ANDY SHAY: I just got reminded by Steve that I should say Phil, thank you for everything you've done for us this weekend. Jack Hayes, thank you for being the liaison, the committee, John Hart, thank you. And thank you, Harvard for hosting this. Sorry, Chris, what did you say?

Q. Seeing you guys for the first time in the season in February against Syracuse and then now, I asked you this on Tuesday, how would you summarize the season and your seniors in general?
ANDY SHAY: Kind of our thing is we just try to get better every day. It's cliché, but I'd like to think that we did that. We were one of the better teams at the start of the season, and now we're the best team at the end. That to me is mission accomplished. So I'm proud of our guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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