WILTON — Steve Pearsall has already given so much to the Wilton High lacrosse programs over his career.
More than two decades spent in the youth lacrosse leagues creating players of the future. Another decade teaching and coaching past and present-day Warriors in quests for league and state titles. And of course, two daughters, Casey and Makenna, who stand tall as two of the best-ever female players in the Wilton girls program.
With one son, rising eighth-grader Liam, on the way, Pearsall now begins the next chapter of his relationship with Wilton lacrosse as the new varsity coach of the boys program.
He is just the fourth head coach in the long and storied history of the Wilton program, following Guy Whitten, Paul McNulty and John Wiseman, who stepped down as the Warriors head coach after the season, following a 10-year-run.
“It’s a great honor,” Pearsall said. “This program has been part of my life for a long time now. I’m passionate about coaching and I’m passionate about this sport.”
Pearsall joined Wiseman’s staff when the latter was hired a decade ago and the continuity of keeping the program going in the same direction was important to those in charge.
“Steve is a great coach. He’s done a phenomenal job in the years he’s been here and the kids absolutely love him,” Wilton athletic director Chris McDougal said.
In fact, there was a point before summer vacation started when the entire Wilton team showed up in McDougal’s office to tell him they backed Pearsall being promoted to take over the top job.
“It wasn’t the reason we hired him, but it was a factor. No question about it,” McDougal said.
Such support touched Pearsall, too.
“It means everything to me. That’s why I do it,” Pearsall said. “To have them support me, it’s a tremendous feeling. It’s not that I want the kids to like me, or want me to be their coach, but to get the kids to buy in and maybe slightly change their outlook or impact the way they go about their lives is important.”
After posting the job in-house, McDougal said he wound up interviewing three candidates for the job.
In the end, Pearsall was the unanimous choice of the search committee.
“We want to keep the program moving forward,” McDougal said.
While he has worked closely with Wiseman over the past decade, Pearsall is his own man and has his own ideas on how to keep Wilton as one of the FCIAC powerhouse programs.
“He knows the direction he wants to take the program,” McDougal said.
When Wiseman stepped down, he told McDougal there was only one man he wanted to coach the program.
“One hundred percent. I was pretty clear and emphatic about that,” Wiseman said. “I thought the most appropriate coach would be Steve Pearsall. It’s a program that means a tremendous amount to me. He knows the kids and he’ll take care of it.”
Pearsall, a native of Long Island who played lacrosse at Notre Dame, moved to Wilton 25 years ago.
He immediately began giving to the town’s young athletes, joining the Wilton Youth Football program before joining the lacrosse program.
He is also one of the people who helped lay down the strong foundation of the Wilton Basketball Association, which has helped turn around the town’s basketball fortunes over the past decade.
“I’ve lived in Wilton longer than I’ve lived anywhere,” Pearsall said. “I’m appreciative of this opportunity, to continue what John and I have done for the last 10 years.”