Interview with Duke’s Zach Greer

This week we turn our focus slightly from “Ask A Pro” to something a little different. This week we chat with a player who will no doubt become a Pro, but just not yet. This week we speak with Zach Greer. Zach is currently attending and playing lacrosse on a scholarship at Duke University. He also plays Junior A Lacrosse in the summer with the Whitby Warriors. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Zach and his family from the time he was 7 years old. With his brother Bill playing in the NLL, and his sister Kalley having played on a scholarship herself, the Greer family is certainly a dedicated and committed family to our great game. Mom (Irene), and (recently) deceased Dad (Dan) dedicated many, many hours travelling and watching their kids play lacrosse.

GM: At what age did you start playing lacrosse?

ZG: I started playing lacrosse when I was 3 for Whitby Minor Lacrosse.

GM: Who were some of the influential people that helped you learn the game?

ZG: My dad was the biggest influence on my game. He taught me basically everything I know about Lacrosse. I also had a lot of great coaches along the way, without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.

GM: Who was your lacrosse idol when you were younger?

ZG: Gary Gait is one of my lacrosse idols. I started watching him back when he was with the Brooklin Redmen and have looked up to him ever since. He is a great player, a great teacher and has done so much for the game. My brother Bill is my other lacrosse idol. I looked up to him from the minute I picked up a stick, and have been able to learn a lot by watching him and his teams play.

GM: I know a couple of years back your father passed away. Describe his (and your Mom’s) influence and how they helped you in lacrosse.

ZG: My parents have been huge in my success, as they both helped my game in different ways. The support they have given me on and off the floor/field has been a major factor in what I have accomplished. My mom would be at every game and practice if she could and that is something I really appreciate. My dad was a great teacher and did a lot for the physical aspects of my game. He would spend hours out in the backyard helping me with technique and feeding me balls to shoot. However, the most important thing he taught me was game awareness. So much of my success today is built behind the ability to read what is going on around me and to see what is going to happen next.

GM: At what age did you begin to play field lacrosse?

ZG: I started playing field lacrosse around age 10.

GM: With many lacrosse players getting varying scholarships, you pretty much set the bar for young kids by getting one to Duke. How did that all come about?

ZG: In my Midget year with Whitby I was fortunate enough to be called up to the Clarington Green Gaels Jr. B club for the Founders Cup. I ended up having a good tournament and the Coach Brad MacArthur sent my academic information to a friend at Duke. That got the ball rolling with Duke, from there I got to play for Canada in the U-19 World Championships in Baltimore where most of the American coaches got to see me play for the first time.

GM: Give some advice to the kids out there that I know are aspiring to follow in your foot steps.

ZG: Focusing on your academics is the most important thing. Again, my parents have stressed this my entire life and it couldn’t be more true. You could be the best player in the world but without the grades the schools simply can’t get you admitted. The other thing would be to practice with both hands at a young age. To be able to play with both hands would be such a big asset for Canadians wishing to play in the U.S.


GM: So in your first season at Duke, you simply go out and shatter the scoring records and your team falls one game short of a National Championship. Describe that year if you can.

ZG: That year was bitter sweet for me. Losing my dad a few weeks before our first game was really tough, but in the long run I think that had something to do with the season I had. We had a great team that year and I just got to go out and have fun. I would tell myself before each game that you know, “Dad’s watching, he just wants you to go out and play” and being a freshman there wasn’t really any pressure on me to excel. I think that’s when I’m at my best, when I’m relaxed and just having fun. Unfortunately we lost in the finals that year but it was an unbelievable experience.

GM: I know last season was a very difficult one for lacrosse at Duke, and the University as a whole. Throughout the whole ordeal, did you ever debate taking the offer to go elsewhere for the remainder of your collegiate days?

ZG: I did. The only place I really looked seriously at was Cornell. They were one of my choices before I came to Duke. Cornell was great throughout the whole ordeal but in the long run Duke was the place I needed to be.

GM: Correct me if I am wrong, but I have heard reports that not one lacrosse player left to go elsewhere; is that correct?

ZG: That’s true; all the guys stuck it out together.

GM: Not a lot of Canadians get to see a lot of Field Lacrosse in the U.S. Who are some of the players you feel are the best in the game?

ZG: Right now I’m playing with one of the best college players ever in Matt Danowski. He’s been vital to our success over the past couple of years. In the pros right now there’s a bunch of names that come to mind, the Powell Brothers on attack for example, Brodie Merrill on defense is another.

GM: So now that you’ve played Field Lacrosse a few years and Box Lacrosse for most of your life, which game do you prefer?

ZG: I love both games but I’ve got to go with Box.

GM: You had the fortune of playing with Rick Passfield who we did an article on a few weeks back. Give us a few comments about Rick if you can.

ZG: Rick was an unbelievable goalie; he had great skills and a bigger heart. But the thing I’ll remember most about him was the kind of person he was.
He was two years older then me so through the years I was often called up to his teams. He was always the first to come up and make me feel like one of the guys and I’ll never forget that.

GM: What are the plans for this coming summer as far as playing?

ZG: This is my last year of Junior and I want to win a Minto with the Whitby Warriors.

GM: Because of league rules you are ineligible to play in the NLL, do you want to pursue that when you are finished your days at Duke?

ZG: I would love to play professionally when I’m finished at college. Hopefully someday I’ll get another chance to play with my brother.

Fun Questions

GM: Your most memorable moment in lacrosse is..

ZG: Running into Lincoln Financial Field for the final game in 2005 in front of 45,000 people.

GM: The best thing about life at Duke is…

ZG: The weather.

GM: If you could sit and interview any sports person past or present who would it be?

ZG: Number 4 Bobby Orr.

GM: The one thing that many people may not know about Zach Greer is…

ZG: He wants to be a spy or secret agent.

GM: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

ZG: Playing professional lacrosse, hopefully field and box. I also want to help teach the game at some level or another. If I could become a spy that would be awesome too.

GM: Zach, thanks for taking the time to do this.

ZG: Thank You.

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1 Comment

  1. I liked the comment about the academic requirements. For recruiters to even look at an athlete the marks have to be there. It has been my experience in talks with people from american colleges, (Princeton in particular) that if the marks are not there the process will not proceed. Never overlook the academics!!


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