Anthony Picano: How a season-ending injury inspired him to become a coach

Sports Writer: Marc Cottage Jr.

Wingate, N.C. – For Wingate men’s lacrosse new Graduate Assistant Anthony “Tasty” Picano, the game of lacrosse has been in Picano’s DNA since a young age. Being a young kid living in Long Island, NY, Lacrosse is played at the highest level for both club 

and high school lacrosse with very high expectations. 

“I’ve been playing lacrosse for about 11 years. I picked up my first lacrosse stick when I was in the 5th grade,” Picano said. 

Picano’s first position in lacrosse was not as a goalie. He started his career as an attackman, then his coach made him switch to defense.

“Funny enough, I started my lacrosse career as an attackman ‘cause I wanted to score all the goals, but I didn’t,” Picano said. “When I was in 8th grade, my middle school

coach took away my short stick and handed me a long pole because I was so much bigger than everyone else.” 

It was not until his freshman year of high school when he volunteered to play goalie during a spring scrimmage before the season where the starter got hurt, and they had no backup. 

“We were doing a spring scrimmage before the season and our goalie got hurt. We didn’t have a backup, so I volunteered to step in and I got shelled,” Picano said. “I ended up getting better and better and falling in love with it.” 

Because high school lacrosse is played at such a high level in Long Island, the expectation for every player is to play at a Division I school. However, Picano took a different direction. 

“I committed to Wingate the summer going into my senior year of high school,” Picano said. “I came to Wingate because of the greatness it had to offer both academically and athletically. I loved what Coach Boyle preached and thought it would be a great opportunity to install in my life.” 

Picano has been through many ups and downs throughout his four years at Wingate which include his junior year season was cut short due to COVID-19 and his season ending injury during his senior year. The tearing of his ACL made him question his future and what his next steps were going to be.

“To be honest, when I got hurt my senior year, I really didn’t know what was next, ” Picano said. “I had so much just running through my mind and I just wanted to do what was best for me. Obviously I was very sad in the beginning because it was my first big injury, plus I wasn’t able to compete and ride out my senior year with my teammates, but as the time went on, I really embraced my new role as a teacher.” 

With the opening of the graduate assistant coaching spot, Picano wanted to stay with the team and return for his 5th year. This time around, he decided that he wanted to change his role and the way he looks at the game. 

“It’s a very cool opportunity that very few have the chance to do and I’m fortunate enough to have that,” Picano said. “Plus it looks great on a resume and gives me great experience both on and off the field for the future. I enjoy being with the players each day and helping them achieve their goals, and also learning from Coach Boyle and Coach Grimwood.” 

As a player, Picano ended his playing career at Wingate with two South Athletic Conference championships and two NCAA Tournament appearances including last year’s run to the Final Four. Picano wants to have the same success and winning mentality as a coach, the same way he and his teammates did while he was a player. 

“I see myself as a coach one day. I enjoy teaching, winning, and growing the game of lacrosse, so whatever opportunity I have, I’m going to go for it,” Picano said.

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