Steve Gartelman

Steve Gartelman, Athletics

Both on and off the field, one of the main goals of many collegiate coaches is to make a difference in the lives of the students they coach. This has been the guiding philosophy for Steve Gartelman, head coach of the Lake Erie College men’s lacrosse team, who has led the Storm to unprecedented success in recent years.

Though he was born in Dunedin, Florida, Steve grew up in Seaford, New York, where he attended Seaford High School on Long Island. He began his college career nearby at St. John’s University in New York City where he competed on the men’s lacrosse team for two years before transferring to Limestone College in South Carolina. At Limestone, Steve was a team captain and a three-year starter in goal for their national championship contender men’s lacrosse program.

Following his graduation from Limestone in 2012, Steve became the graduate assistant for the Lake Erie College men’s lacrosse team, a role that he held through 2014 when he graduated with his Master of Business Administration degree from the Parker MBA program. “I knew that the lacrosse program was growing fast and was full of great talent as well as amazing young men,” he said. “Once I stepped on campus and saw all that LEC has to offer, I knew that I wanted to work here and stay here.”

During Steve’s time as a GA, the men’s lacrosse program reached new heights, going 12-5 in the spring of 2013 and 10-4 in the spring of 2014. The team also earned national rankings for the first time in 2013 when they reached the NCAA Quarter Finals, and earned similar accolades again in 2014 when they also won the ECAC Conference Tournament.

Following these achievements, Steve was hired as the head coach of the program in the summer of 2014 and went on to lead the team to a national ranking as #1 in the nation for D-II for several weeks during the 2014-15 season. The team also defended their title as ECAC Conference Tournament Champions and went on to reach the NCAA Semifinals.  

While he certainly is proud of his team’s accomplishments on the field, one of Steve’s favorite parts of his job is the opportunity to make an impression on young men who are still developing their senses of self. “My goal is to help them become positive influences not just on the LEC community but also on whatever communities they find themselves a part of in the future,” he said. “It is great showing these men what it means to be responsible, motivated and respectful, and how far those values can take you in life.”

Steve is a big proponent of student engagement, arguing that students are more likely to succeed when they can readily gain knowledge and guidance from the faculty and staff on campus. “The men’s lacrosse team knows my door is always open to them,” he said. “They often will come and ask questions about academics and life in general, not just about lacrosse. We preach a balanced lifestyle, and the more we can demonstrate that by balancing our workloads and interacting with all students, the better a job we are doing.”

As his coaching philosophy suggests, Steve’s favorite thing about LEC is the tightly knit community that exists on campus. “I know the names and faces of many of my coworkers as well as the students,” he said. “There’s really an atmosphere of open communication. When the buzz is going around for the latest sporting event, the next guest speaker to make an appearance, or any of the other hundreds of exciting events at LEC, there’s nothing better than that.”

When he isn’t coaching down at Jack Britt Memorial Stadium, Steve’s favorite places on campus are the Dickinson Dining Hall in the Arthur S. Holden Center, where “they do food right,” or the Ritchie Gym, where Steve goes to “work it off.” “I would also say College Hall,” he said. “That’s where it all began!”

Steve advises prospective students to visit the College while school is in session and see what LEC is all about. “There are so many opportunities here to get involved,” he said. “I encourage everyone to meet the people here and experience the friendly atmosphere on campus. If you’re like me, you’ll feel at home right away.”