Bob Scalise starts work at about 8:00 a.m. and rarely finishes before 9:30 p.m. His typical day lasts 14 hours, one that Scalise and the Harvard Department of Athletics have learned to love.
In all, Scalise coaches 112 players on two teams, both at the varsity and junior varsity levels. His varsity squads--women's soccer and men's lacrosse--have seasons which span the academic year. In the past 12 years, Scalise and his teams have accumulated 199 wins for Harvard.
When Scalise was named the head varsity men's lacrosse coach in 1974, he was, at the age of 24, the youngest coach in the Ivy League. Scalise, who also took on the duties of assistant men's soccer coach, had previously been an assistant soccer and lacrosse coach at Brown for three years under Cliff Stevenson.
A 1971 graduate of Brown, Scalise was one of the best collegiate lacrosse players in the country from 1968 to 1971. Three times he was selected to the All-Ivy lacrosse team, and twice he was named All-American and All-New England. He led the nation in scoring in 1970 with 47 goals, and his one-game total of 11 goals against Connecticut in 1971 set a New England record at the time.
"I never played soccer," Scalise says about his other sport. "I mean, I did kick around, but I never played on a team. I learned all about soccer from Coach Stevenson at Brown."
But in 1976, with five years of experience with assistant coach duties both at Brown and at Harvard, Scalise was given the head coaching position at Harvard for the newly formed women's team.
The women's soccer team had the status of a club team in 1976, but the players and the University wanted to change it into a full-time varsity sport.
The transition from coaching men to coaching women was not that tough, Scalise says. "I felt that my role was to teach them how to be a varsity athlete." Scalise says. "That was their goal [too]. They never griped about the conditioning or the practices."
The extra hard work and enthusiasm paid off quickly. Two years later, in 1978, Harvard copped its first Ivy Championship. "It was most rewarding bringing a club team to a varsity Ivy Championship within three years," Scalise says. Since then, there have been two more Ivy Championships, two EAIAW titles, and one New England crown.
Scalise also boasts the record for most wins in women's soccer in the nation, with a 111-38-10 career record (13-8-1 Ivy).
A Higher Authority
The men's lacrosse team, heading into its 13th season under Scalise, is coming off one of its most impressive seasons to date. The Crimson finished with a 9-5 record (4-2 Ivy) last year, good enough for a second place finish in the Ancient Eight.
In 1980, the laxmen finished in first place in the Ivy League with a 5-1 league mark to cop their first Ivy Championship since 1964. They advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament where they were defeated by perennial powerhouse Johns Hopkins.
The men's lacrosse team has already begun practicing for this year's season with unusual night-time practices. Scalise, with only an hour break between soccer and lacrosse practices, oversees the team from 7:30 to 9:30 in the off-season.
The back-to-back practices have the potential to cause problems, but Scalise makes sure not to mix the two sports. "They are two totally different teams," he says.
"I feel that I'm being pulled in different directions," Scalise says about his hectic workload. "First is the sport in season, then the out-of-season sport, recruiting, office work and fundraising--that doesn't leave much time for anything else," he adds.
All the time he spends on the field and in the office limits the time he can spend with his wife of five months, Maura Costin Scalise, who coaches the Harvard women's swim team. "He's the assistant coach for swimming too," she jokes. "I give him all my problems too."
"This year I give the players more time off," Scalise says. "Two years ago I tried working them too hard, but that didn't work."
The combination of two teams, a new wife, and continuous self-evaluation is not an easy task for Bob Scalise. "We have to put everything in perspective, and that can be tough," he says.
It may be tough, but Scalise is on his way to becoming one of the few college coaches with 100 victories--in two sports.