Thursday, April 28, 2011

4 years flies by

I still remember the day. Just finished my first marathon- complete exhaustion, but energized from the accomplishment. Received a note along with a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma society from coach earlier in the week wishing us well. You could always count on Sennett. A lot has changed over the past 4 years for me. He has been on my mind a lot lately during lacrosse season- trying to remember what he tried to teach me as know it all teenager and what I would give to hear some of his wisdom now. Hope in the time that has passed that the I have been able to live up to the motto that I am just now starting to understand its impact- Count on me.

Thanks coach.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Sometimes we forget how much we miss Coach. You go around and live life just like he would want, "Miss me, but let me go". That is what I thought of and is what I think of every time I hear something about Coach.

How can we not miss him? He affected so many people. You see people that you met at his funeral or at a random game after his death or you see an old team mate and you can't help but start sharing memories about him.

But the thing that I can never forget or let go is the wisdom that he gave us all. Everyone remembers "Count On Me". Many of the teammates that I see still wear the arm bands that are a constant reminders. Another quote that I remember and really had an effect on me is "An aggressive mistake is better than a passive failure."

This meant to me that you have to do everything that you do with the same passion that Coach did every day of your life. You have to run through the line. Finish in the corners. Say "one more", or pass it to the guy who says it. All of these things are what I saw and realized in the game. But how often do we forget this when we are looking at our normal life?

I skip class, take naps when I should be doing work, I slack off at work. Looking back and remembering what coach said I realize that he would challenge me to be better. Thinking, now that a new day is ahead, how can I make a better tomorrow?

I have to make myself better, live out "Count on Me" and "make an aggressive mistake, not a passive failure." This is my little challenge for all of us. How can we make our lives better? How can we live "count on me" and how can me make that "aggressive mistake"?

Tomorrow's a new day, you have a clean slate. I challenge all of us to make it a better day than the one before.

We miss you Coach, but there are some things that you would never want us to let go.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rest In Peace

"All the wrongs made right" - Rest in peace Coach... and enjoy the show!
-Loyal Player

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Great Times Remembered

I first came to St Louis in '93 from Long Island to pursue schooling in Chiropractic. I quickly met Steel from playing Attack alongside him on The St Louis Men's Club Team and we were instant pals. I helped him coach at DeSmet along with Midfield great Tom Coons and had a blast doing it. It was fun to be a part of then a new and building program which has because of him and his tremendous work ethic turned into a perennial power in the Midwest.
We used to go out to his place out on Highway T where he lived with Rich "Hannibal" Lechter. Barbecued Pork Steaks were a regularity and watching some VHS tapes of NCAA Championship games including the '89 Championship between Hopkins/Syracuse and my HS teammates Matt Panetta and Pat McCabe going against each other. Some times he would have another friend or two come over, including a football offensive lineman from ND who at the time was blocking for Joe Montana and showed us the shotgun that Joe gave him engraved and all.
Steel was the one that gave me my "lacrosse nickname" in St Louis: He was always so interested in where I came from and would ask details about it, only to find out that it was the most west town on Long Island right next to Queens. Once he heard that, from that point on it was : "Queens" and in The St Louis lacrosse arena that name has stuck as anyone from that team still calls me.
It is so great to see how 1 single man has influenced the lives of so many others in such a positive way.
Steel, I only hope that I could live my life in such a fun, caring, good, and meaningful way as you did and that I can raise my children as such.
Thank you for all that you have done.
You are truly missed,
Your Friend,
(Rob Arnone)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A New Way of Honoring Mike

Mike's friends from Brother Rice started the Mike Sennett "Count on Me" Memorial Scholarship a year or so ago. Their goal is to have the scholarship fully endowed in three years. To assist them in achieving their goal, the Brother Rice Lacrosse Alumni are making the annual alumni game the Mike "Steel" Sennett Memorial Alumni Lacrosse game in his honor. The event will be held on June 7th, 2009 at Brother Rice High School, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. If you would like to attend, please contact Renee Lynch at to RSVP or to donate if you can't make it. A more detailed flyer will be available on the Brother Rice website shortly. This is the 1st of what we plan on being an annual event to remember Mike and all that he meant to us. I think it's right up his alley...guys playing lacrosse enjoying some good food, friends, and drink!

Hope to see you all there!

Chris Cote'
Rice '86

Thursday, April 30, 2009

My angel and hero. I love you baby

I have never posted on this blog before and I have actually never looked at it until this month. I have wanted to look and read what people have written about Mikey for the longest time but I have never brought myself to actually do so. I had a special relationship with Mike. He was not only my uncle, but he was a role model, a big brother, a mentor and a best friend. I have been avoiding reading these posts mainly because I did not feel like crying. I feel now that I am ready to share with you, whoever reads this, my stories and memories of mike. I can remember so many things that mike did through for me and with me through his years that it’s hard to pick just one to share. One of the reasons I loved being around him so much was because he was like a big brother to me, when he would visit I remember him rolling up in his car from the airport and me running out to the car to see him. He would step out of the car with brief case and spit bottle in hand, grab me and kiss me and every time he came I looked forward to that, even though it was such a small gesture it meant so much to me. When we would be lounging around on Sunday or Saturday mornings, he would watch movies and play games and I remember he would always have to patience to play all day and would put himself at my level. Whenever he came home we would go to national coney island on woodward and chow on coney dogs and chilly cheese fries (he often picked them up on his way to our house from the airport as well) when we would visit in saint Louis, we would go out to eat then as tradition go to Oberwies for ice cream after our meal no matter how full we were. These are just the little traditions and memories that I, as well as my family held with Mike. It is hard to believe he is gone but it is amazing to see how he still has such an influence in so many peoples lives still to this day. I never knew how many people my uncle helped and how much he had done for so many people. He truly was an amazing man and everyone who had the chance to meet him I know was blessed by the experience for he really was so remarkable. Something so hard goes straight to the soul; it seems impossible to get over and my heart is left with a big hole. I'm trying to be happy, wearing a smile; but I'm dying inside. The world seems to be fading, and I just want to run and hide. Everywhere I go I see your face, and realize how much I miss you; and on the day you died a piece of me died too. I could talk all day about Mike and tell stories but I am going to leave here with a passage from one of my favorite songs .. What Hurts the Most by Rascal Flatts:

Sunny days seem to hurt the most
I wear the pain like a heavy coat
I feel you everywhere I go
I see your smile, I see your face
I hear you laughing in the rain
I still cant believe your gone

It aint fair you died too young
Like a story that had just begun
But death tore the pages all away
God knows how I miss you
All the hell that ive been through
Just knowing no one could take your place
Sometimes I wonder who you’d be today

Would you see the world, would you chase your dreams
Settle down with a family
I wonder what would you name your babies
Some days the skies so blue
I feel like I can talk to you
I know it might sound crazy

*Mikey I miss you so much you would never know. I think about you everyday and remember all the memories that we made. I know your in a better place and as much as it hurts that your not still here I know you still are. I love you and cant wait to see you some day.

All my love always and forever,
Count on me forever… even when it seems too hard.

RIP angel
Rachel Sennett

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I woke up yesterday and immediately put on the state champs of 1996 hat that Coach Sennett gave me one afternoon before practice senior year. I thought it was cool then, but now it simply means everything. As I walked around the campus of Mizzou, I was overcome with the amount of players whom I had played against in high school, not even from DeSmet, coming up to me and telling a story they had about Sennett. It is amazing the amount of respect he has from everyone from the DeSmet community, the lacrosse community, and the rest of the world for that matter.

Like others, Coach felt like a second father to me. 2 years ago I sat as a freshman in my dorm room at Wittenberg University. Not happy with how the season had been going and more or less not happy with my coach, I called Sennett. I simply asked his advice on what I should do. The conversation lasted just over an hour as I sat there and listened to every single word he was saying. Little did I know this would be the last time I talked to him. I took his advice, confronting my coach and quickly finding myself on the field again, playing like I did for him.

I can remember the phone call from my mother delivering the news of his passing. Coincidentally, I was on a bus on the way to play our last game of the season. I can remember having to wake up Reinberg, Birner, and Gerber, all the while in tears not knowing what else to say. I can remember having to call Spencer Hampton and telling him too. But we all knew he was there with us, watching over us and was by our side. It brought us closer together than ever before.

If the world had just a pinch of the character that Coach had, this would be a better place. I know that there is no way I would be the man I am today without the character I built at DeSmet, and most importantly the care, generosity, and passion of Coach Sennett in my life. I can only hope that I live my life with him as my model for success.

Count on me Coach, I will always miss you.

Jim Bunten 06'

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Godbless #40

I can't even believe that it has already been two years. Like everyone else, Coach Steel made an enormous impact on my life and future. In my case he completely turned mine around; he picked me up, dusted me off, and threw me back in. When my father moved out early freshman year at DeSmet, Coach stepped right in. When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, he and the whole team rallied around us. He tought me and everyone how to be tough... real tough because that was his motto- give life everything you got.

For four years he was there for me, pushed me to be my best in everything. He tought me everything I know about how to be a real man, friend, leader, teammate, son, sibling, and brother in Christ.

Because of him, Chris Goudy, the whole DeSmet Jesuit administration, I can say that my teammates and I are men for others, men to count on. I am so honored and lucky to have had that experience, and to be able to live with his values for rest of my life.

Thank you again Coach. Godbless #40,

Spencer K Hampton, DeSmet Jesuit '06

An Irish Blessng
May the road rise to
meet you
May the wind be
always at your back
May the sun shine
warm upon your face
May the rains fall
soft upon your fields
And until we meet
May God hold you in the palm of
His hand.

Monday, April 27, 2009

still cant believe he's gone

well the date is here again this year, i recieved a nice letter about mike's brother rice "count on me scholarship" as i'm sure many have , and i was so pleased at how well the fund has done , but not surprised at all. this time of year cant come for me without reflection on mike and how he touched us all. i'm sure he is on a very important mission for our Lord and i understand that, cant help but still miss him.
phil hunt 4/27/09

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I'm Sure Mike is Celebrating

It's hard to believe that it has been over a year since Mike left us, and I know that his loss still weighs heavily on all of us. I was reading last week, and I saw some news that will hopefully will bring a smile to everyone's face:

"The only team in the STX/Inside Lacrosse preseason top 25 that went through their season without a loss, the Warriors of Brother Rice are the 2008 STX/Inside Lacrosse national champions."

Im sure that Mike is looking down on us with a huge smile, knowing that his beloved alma mater, Brother Rice, is the top-ranked high school lacrosse program in the country after completing a 23-0 season that culminated in yet another Michigan state championship.

Here is a link to the article:

I hope that everyone is well, and everyone has a safe and enjoyable summer. Take care.

-Beau Barnett
Class of '97

Monday, April 28, 2008

In our hearts

It has been a year since Mike has left us. Sometimes it feels like a long time and sometimes it feels like yesterday. I have thought about writing so many times, but today just seemed to be the right time.
I think often about how things would have been, but also think about how things are today because of Mike's presence in our lives. Even though he left us too early, he will always be a part of our lives. He gave so much to us: faith, happiness, love, kindness, laughter, his friends and family, his love to my daughter.
From my heart, Susie Haltenhof (Amber's Mom)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Coaching is not easy

Walking back onto the familiar grounds of DeSmet Jesuit High day after day, it remains unfamiliar to look over to the varisty and not being able to hear or see you. I am trying my best to be a man for these kids as you were for me. It isn't easy, it's frustrating as you know. I can only hope I can be a bit like you so they can catch a glimpse of the man that taught me how to play. The game lives on in me and I will never forget you. It's not possible. The important thing I try never to forget is that it's not about being the best but putting out the best effort you have day in and day out; to give 100% just like you taught us. (sometimes I forget...and losing is definitely never going to be manageable, but I'll try) I know that you are always smiling down on all of us right after you finish making the angels run some rips.
DeSmet may never know another like you again. Count on me coach. I still miss you.

-Ferris '04

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Missing Mike

I was happy to see a few posted comments lately about Mike. Over the past year I am certain that there hasn’t been a day that I haven’t thought about him or his impact in my life. Here are a few pictures that I have found in the past few months that are of Mike in a much different way than most of you remember him. I knew Mike as a firefighter, financial mentor and friend.

Thanks Mike for everything.

Mike Thiemann

Saturday, April 19, 2008

1 year later

I have never posted on this blog but i can remember endless nights where i would stay up and read everyone's thoughts of coach. I was personally there in Indiana when coach died and recieved the news from Coach Goudy when he simply said..."he didnt make it." As the one year anniversary of that day looms near i cannot help but think of coach sennett every single day. it hurts to look at the prayer card that i still have from last year that is in my money clip and read the "miss me - but let me go" prayer that is on it. When i do read it though i am filled with so many different emotions that i cant even desribe. It pains me to say that i never knew what coach sennett really meant to me until he was gone and i had to live life without him. he taught me so many things that, as life unfolds, i am seeing really mkae sense. His game was not just lacrosse and we all know that. Coach put every cell of energy into making us better kids and to hopefully grow us into men. i see his example everyday. I dont think words could, or will, ever describe how much i mis coach sennett on a daily basis. every single aspect of coach i miss and i wish he was there to hug me when i visited practice and came to games to see how our team was doing. i also am truly sorry for the future players at desmet that they never knew coach sennett, but also encourage players to listen to coach goudy, because in my opinion, he is coach's best living example. Coach Sennett, i was always a little afraid of you but never, ever did i not respect and love you for what you gave me. I can never personally thank you enough for your impact on my life. This past year has seemed unreal and one i would want you to be here for, but I will take an extra angel lookinfg over me. Thanks for everything and I miss you.

-Ted Klein

1 year later

Friday, April 18, 2008

My Angel

Hey everyone. I had the unique perspective of having mike in my life from day 1. I'm Johnny, his oldest nephew. I hadn't looked at this website until today, mostly because I didn't feel like crying. Well I'm sitting in the airport, waiting for a delayed flight and decided it was about time. So now im posting my memory, with happy tears in my eyes.
Mike hooked me up with my first lacrosse stick, a busted pealing white brine shaft, and a savage head with a traditional string job, when I was in 6th grade. I also got a "bucket helmet" anyone who has been around the game knows how ugly those relics are. Well from that day I was hooked. Anyway my memory of Mike happened in Barbados. We had gathered the whole family together to celebrate my grandparents anniversary. I had snuck a couple of sticks down in my duffle bag. Well I busted those bad boys out and asked Mikey to play a little. I was about 14 and I toss Mikey the ball. No Problem. Then Mike throws it back, and by throw I mean launch at what seemed like a 1,000,000,000 mph. I just looked at him as the ball went bay and said "really?" haha mikey just laughed and we went and got the ball together. We continued to play catch after we found the ball, and Mike refused to slow down the passes. I was frustrated at him then, but looking back on it, that was the best thing he could have done. Growing up with Mikey's rocket passes made for an easy transition into my future role as a defenseman. I remember going to tryouts and not caring about getting hit by a shot, since mikey had been doing it for so long. He really taught me a fundamental lessons. They're not gonna slow down their shot because u get in the way. He also taught me not to drink out of his "Ice Tea" bottles.
Mike was a great mentor, and he is the reason I came to St. Louis. I play lacrosse at Fontbonne, thanks in great part to Mikey's influence. To all his boys, u guys got lucky, u had a great coach and a legend teach you the game, to all his friends (the old guys) haha, I wish I could have seen Mikey in his prime at Notre Dame.
My personal feelings about Mikey's moving on are, #1 I know he is in heaven and he is waiting for all of us with a big half crooked smile,and #2 I KNOW he s putting together the perfect field, so that when we all join him, we will have a kick ass field to play on.
Mikey, I love u, I miss you, and I hope u will always look down on me and smile, proud that you can call me your nephew. Mike you taught me everything I would ever need to know,and you are all the role model I will ever need. (Don't worry, u too Dad) :-)
Count On Me, forever
-Johnny Sennett

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

1 Man

To the world Mike Sennett was one man, but the many individuals Mike Sennett was the world.

Ed Hendry

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Message from Tom

I went to high school with Mike in Michigan and lost touch with him many, many
years ago. I just heard the tragic news about Mike but am heartened (and awed)
by how many lives he touched in such a positive way.

I wanted to tell one quick story about Mike from almost 20 years ago. For those
that played for Mike over the years, they may not have known how hard Mike
worked to be a lacrosse player and what a good player he became.

Mike and I had played on a state championship team together in high school in
1986. My memories of Mike was that he was someone who just loved the game and
worked so hard to get better. He was always one of the last to leave the field
and was always working on something to improve his game. Some others had more
natural talent than Mike, but no one was going to outwork or out-hustle him.

Mike and I both went on from Brother Rice High School to play lacrosse in
college. It was a big step back then, because all of the spots on the college
teams were filled by kids who had been playing lacrosse on the east coast --
kids who had been playing the game since they were quite young. Mike and I both
picked up the sport in high school and worked hard to learn the game.

Mike and I were home from college one summer -- I believe it was the summer of
1988 -- playing in a lacrosse league at Cranbrook in Michigan. Coach Bill
Tierney, the head coach from Princeton University, would come through Michigan
each summer to have a lacrosse camp in the area and always brought with him some
great college players to help coach the camps. One of those players was Dave
Pietramala, widely considered to be the greatest defenseman to ever play the
game (he is now the Johns Hopkins head lacrosse coach). In the evenings that
summer those of us who were trying to play college lacrosse from the Michigan
area would get together to scrimmage at night. This time some of the coaches
from the camp decided to join in, included Dave Pietramala, who was about to
enter his senior year at Johns Hopkins (he would go on to become NCAA Player of
the Year that year).

I had played against Dave in college that year and knew how dominating he was.
He could take over a lacrosse game from the defensive end of the field --
something I had not seen before in college lacrosse. Well that night Dave was
having fun -- taking the ball away from every one and running down and scoring
multiple goals. It as a complete mismatch -- the greatest defenseman ever to
play the game, at the prime of his game, versus a bunch of high school and
college kids from Michigan, most of whom had only started playing the game in
the last few years. When most attackmen caught the ball and Dave was covering
them, they passed it along to the next person as quickly as possible.

Well, then Mike checked into the scrimmage. The first time Mike touched the
ball (he was playing attack on the wing) he charged right at the mighty Dave
Pietramala, drove him up high above the goal line extended, and then did a quick
inside roll and fired the ball at the goal. Before anyone knew what happened,
the ball went past the goalie's ear into the net for a goal. Everyone just
dropped their sticks and went crazy. Dave was shocked and a little embarrassed
-- he never thought he could get beat for a goal by some kid from Michigan,
nonetheless someone a couple years younger than him. It took enormous guts of
Mike to try that move against the greatest defenseman in the land.

It is said that no one beat Dave Pietramala during a college lacrosse game the
entire year in 1989. Well, the summer before that season, in a scrimmage at
Cranbrook, Mike scored (one-on-one) against the greatest defenseman to ever play
the game.

In reading this blog about Mike, it seems like that is how he lived his life --
without fear.

I am proud to have known him.

Tom Barnds

Monday, May 7, 2007

Be Humble

Over the six years that I have known Coach Mike Sennett, I have had the pleasure to have him in my life. So many memories fill my head when his name comes into my head. I’ll start with lacrosse practice. When we would practice Vo-tech I would walk to the field and see his black Yukon, that meant coach was here and it would remind me why I was on that field. He would change from his suit to his famous orange shorts or his Notre Dame shorts, and his penny. At practice he would have his orange kryptolite shaft with a brine cyber head, and for some reason that was the lightest stick I have ever picked up in my life. These are some objects that reminded me of Coach.
During practice one time were doing some clears and we needed a middie on the flied and it was suppose to be Mcmanus, and he wasn’t paying attention. Coach yells, “Mcmanus get your thumb out of your ass!!!” I was trying hard not to laugh because I would be the next one to be yelled at because Coach was a little distraught at the time.
During at certain game I have never seen that man happier at a game. It was the year 2002, semi-final game DeSmet vs. Rochurst. We conquered a huge victory that game with a score of something like 14-6 I can’t remember off the top of my head. It was a big game since we only beat them in double overtime earlier in the season. I have never seen Coach Sennett jump as high as he did when we did back to back fast break goals. At the end of the game he had a grin from ear to ear smiling at us, not just because we defeated Rochurst, but because we used everything that he taught us in that game.
Our next game was against MICDS for the finals at Ladue field (I miss that perfect grass field) Every time we came in at quarter and at half-time we were winning, Coach told us to be humble, the words have stuck in my head ever since that game. For us not to be arrogant during that game was the most important thought. If we got bigheaded the game could have turned around, but it didn’t we went on to win with a score of 12-7, that’s off the top of my head. Again Coach was proud of what he has taught us and what we have done with what we had learned.
One more lacrosse memory was Febuary of 2003, I didn’t want to do it but I had to and that was to make the call to Coach Sennett and Goudy that I had tore my ACL and was out the entire season. I attended practice everyday or as much as I could have on or off crutches and Coach was happy and appreciative to see my integrity towards interest of being part of the team. Later coach asks me if I still wanted to be on the team and roster, I responded with yes.
My post lacrosse years I would attend DeSmet Lacrosse games. After the games I would either go to the sidelines or meet Coach Sennett and Goudy to congratulate on their victory. When I would see Coach Sennett I would reach out my hand for a hand shake. He would look me in the eyes and give me a hug. He would continue asking me questions on how my life is going, how my team is, how school is going, and how my family is doing. He was happy to know everything is doing great. I got an email from Northwestern Mutual that was inquiring my interest in a summer internship. It said that Mike Sennett had requested that they look into me to see if I was interested. I appreciate him doing that and always looking out for his friends.
This last week has been hard on me and the many people that have filled his life. It was grateful to see the many old faces and some new ones. Mike’s mom was one of the nicest ladies that I have met; she came up to me and gave me a hug at the wake and the funeral. I had never met her before but it seemed like I had knew her my whole life. I talked to her and she couldn’t believe how many people there were when she turned looked behind her at the new Cathedral. The last thing I told her was, “Thank you and your family’s decision on letting Mike be buried in St. Louis.”
Mike you will be remebered in my heart and many others, we thank you for everything you have done for us.

Nick Zeiser
#34 ‘03
Count on Me

Sunday, May 6, 2007

It was God, not me.

I hesitate to share the sorrow I am most taken with right now, b/c I feel selfish and inadequate in the shadow of our dear friend who was neither. My husband needs Mike, I need Mike – my kids need him – I wonder who will fill the role he played, who will be my husband’s spiritual coach. I loved his unwillingness to gloss things over or beat around the bush. My mother-in-law and I often discuss the ease with which we can communicate with somebody by whether or not they “get it.” Mike “got it.” I could leave the disclaimers behind with him and just say what was on my heart and he reciprocated with his whole heart. We often had deep conversations about the love of Christ and the responsibility to share and develop that love with my children. We talked about marriage, parenting, accountability, love, trust, doubt and so much more.

We shared so many of the most important milestones in our life with Mike – he was there when Buzz and I first started dating, for our marriage, for the births of our children, their birthday parties, and later, he became part of our family. I was so proud on Thursday when I found out that Mike and Amber had become engaged – I was literally beaming with joy. Amber is my cousin – Mike, one of our very best friends – both had been in our wedding. Mike, of course, had laid the impossibly heavy burden of his impending engagement to Amber on me and my husband (and a slew of others, apparently!) on Easter Sunday. I love to talk - keeping this secret was unimaginable, but I did it! So, when the news came of their engagement, I just about hit the ceiling with excitement. Not being as humble as Mike, I was proud to exclaim that I had set Mike and Amber up about a year and a half ago. Mike was a gift to me and to my family…yet another new family for Mike. Yet another branch of the “Mike Sennett fan club.”

My heart is aching for my husband (who he dragged to retreats without ever losing patience) and my son, Louie (who broke my heart as he sobbed in Buzz’s arms while we processed out of church Thursday), my daughters Bonnie, Sarah and Anna (they had quite a “thing” for each other – a shared “feisty-ness”). He loved them so much and they loved him – even though it wasn’t a love marked by anything extraordinary – they loved him simply and purely – in the same way they love me and Buzz – without effort.

Those of you who knew Mike are familiar with his uncanny ability to show up when he was “just in the neighborhood” which did not necessarily qualify that time as opportune for me, a busy mother of four busy kids – so, like Mike, who was comfortable in almost any situation, I was also comfortable saying, “Alright Mike, it’s me and you, Buzz is on a fire call, get busy.” And thus I would assign Mike a task – on one occasion, I asked Mike to read a bedtime story to the kids. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the image of him lying on the bed with them piled all around him. He seemed perfectly comfortable – but, afterward, when the kids were all tucked in, he shared with me what a milestone that had been for him. I can’t remember the exact words, but he told me that he had always been afraid of reading to kids at bedtime – he was nervous about doing it “right.” But, I love it that he made sure that I knew it was a big deal for him – I am honored that we could help him clear that hurdle.

It will take time for me to quit thinking of “what could have been.” I wanted to have an engagement party for Mike and Amber, participate in what would have surely been one of the most beautiful weddings, hear him read flawlessly to his own children…and so much more.

Mike contemplated things that some men wouldn’t – after he and Amber had been dating a while and it was clear that he was “smitten” (his words to my husband), he called and wanted to know what had ever prompted me to set them up. We concluded together that it was God, not me.

Tina Eckelkamp
Washington, MO

Friday, May 4, 2007

Mike's Boys

This is a final note, specially done to update the many great people from around the world who have visited this site or came into St. Louis to celebrate the life that is Mike Sennett. Your pictures and posts are amazing and are a huge comfort and impact. Mike's Boys lined the aisle at the Cathedral yesterday as their coach entered. Later, they took the field at DeSmet to play the game he and they love. They did this for themselves. They did this for their coaches. They did this for each other. They did this for Coach Sennett. Thank you very much DeSmet and Father Sidney for allowing them to play despite the rain and despite the damage you knew would result to the field. They needed to play. From the time they stepped onto the field with their newly stickered helmets, assembled at mid-field hand in hand, to the last second of play they played with emotion, passion, determination and desire. They ran down every loose ball, they won every faceoff, they defended, they scored as a team. Every manager, player (injured or not) was fully present to the situation. They are now a team. They played as one. A game is not a season but they will be stronger for Mike's presence, Amber's grace and presence at the game, the guidance and encouragement of the coaches who are also Mike's friends. As a parent it looked like he was there with every one of his Boys, now Young Men for Others. Here is a link to KSDK which did a piece yesterday.

The game ended 15-4 for DeSmet but that is not the real story. You all know that since you know Mike. It is being lived everyday in every player, coach, manager, friend and parent. Thank you all for helping in so many ways - I know we speak for all the DeSmet parents as well.

Dave and Diane Snively - (Evan 2007)

mike's guys

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Ever since I first picked up a stick to a weird game that changed my life, I have been in aww of DeSmet lacrosse, and more importantly Mike Sennett. Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to play lacrosse at DeSmet. But almost all of my best friends to this day did.

The pedastool they put this man on was truly unbelievable. And after getting to know him as briefly as I did, I saw why. As everyone on this blog knows, he had an uncanny ability to bring the best out in everyone around him. He created champions on and off the field. I have rarely met anyone who was willing to sacrifice so much time, effort, love and passion for nothing in return.

I owe Coach Sennet a lot. He is the reason I played college lacrosse and have a college degree today. Lord knows where I'd be without him. He went out of his way for no reason. I only knew him through various winter leagues and camps. And he went out of his way for me? .....Why? Because that was who he was. Always putting himself before others.

The DeSmet lacrosse family and St. Louis lacrosse as a whole will never be the same. What he did for this sport and everyone involved will always be remembered.

Even though I never played for him, he always made me feel like I did.

Thanks Coach Sennett,

Todd Dillon
Kirkwood 95'-98'
CBC 99'

The Boy in the Cowboy Hat

My husband Jeff played lacrosse with Mike at Notre Dame. The first time I met him he was standing outside wearing a big cowboy hat and smiling. I'm also fairly certain that he had chew in his cheek. I liked him immediately. Over the years he grew into a truly kind, funny, compassionate, wonderful man. Jeff and I loved him dearly.

When he came to visit us in New Jersey several years ago, the first thing he did was to kneel down so he would be at eye level with our two girls, then ages 2 and 5. Not too many men without children understand the importance of putting yourself at the eye level of a child. That simple, beautiful gesture truly touched my heart. But then, he was always putting himself at everyone's eye level, making a connection with you that mattered.

Unlike most of us who get broken down by life's trials, I believe the struggles Mike went through in his life only made him more empathetic, more special. He was a great human being.

Uncle Mike, friend, you are missed.

Beth Salamon

Coach Steel

Coach Sennett, you were such an amazing influence to us all, to all who were fortunate enough to interact with you. I still remember being out at VoTech one day after a long practice and someone's tired legs didn't run a route with the precision you demanded and you stopped practice, brought us in, and gave us a expressive lesson on how 99% of the time the right thing to do will not be the easy thing and how we must have the discipline to do the right thing the right way EVERY time we do it. It's a lesson I took with me to the Air Force Academy and now try and instill in my student pilots. I wouldn't be where I am today without the lessons that you taught us that applied both on and off the field. I wouldn't be where I am today without your exceptional example to follow.
1Lt Max Harrell, USAF Instructor Pilot, De Smet class of '99


Coach Sennett provided my first taste of a sport that would ultimately take over my life. When I left De Smet and headed to a little engineering school in Rolla MO. I never thought our paths would cross with his again. I guess the Big man had another idea. I started coaching a group of men at that university. I then moved back to St. Louis and started coaching high school. That is when our paths crossed again. De Smet destroyed us the first couple years. Finally in 2004 we beat De Smet 7-6. After the game Coach shook my hand and told me that my kids and played a great game. I have gone on to coach other teams and have had amazing seasons and amazing wins, but that De Smet game is still the most special. Thanks for the memories, the games, and the lessons you probably didn't know you taught me. God Bless Coach Sennett.

Nate Hoeckelman
It's frustrating to try to put into words how you feel about a person and words alone can never describe the influence coach Sennett had on the lives of so many young men. I only played for Mike in one tournament, but through winter leagues, phone calls and friends like Patterson, McHugh and Martinez, I feel like Sennett had a big impact on my life.

There are many people who knew Sennett a lot better than I did, so I'll try to keep it as brief as possible.

Mike is on a short list of the people most directly responsible for the state of lacrosse in Missouri. It would take a long time to list all the ways he put this sport on the map in Missouri. For that, all past, present and future players owe him thanks.

I didn't really have someone to go to for advice on college, coach Sennett took the time to help me and my family work through it. I never played at DeSmet...He didn't owe me anything...He did it b/c guiding and helping people is what he did best.

In talking to a couple of my friends who played for Steel there was one recurring theme and it really sums up the type of man he was...They all say that, aside from their fathers, Sennett was the strongest and most influential role model in their lives.

Thanks for everything coach...

Ryan Copeland

Glad our paths crossed

It was my honor to present Coach with an award from the Men's Club. His words helped Chris deal with his back injury and the time that he could not play lacrosse. He never knew how it helped him. He will be greatly missed by DeSmet, lacrosse in St Louis, and by all those that he touch their lives. Sleep well....
Scott and Mary Beth Vince

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

I didn't actually know Coach Sennett personally. I always knew he was that great coach at DeSmet who in my 3 years of lacrosse, we just couldn't seem to beat. It was his team that ended my state title hopes in 2001. When you played Mike Sennett's DeSmet teams, you knew that you had to bring your best to even have a chance. But Coach Sennett was more than just a coach, he was one of the main ambassadors for the game in St. Louis. He did more for the growth of this great game in our town than I could ever hope to. He is a big reason why there are 27 teams in Missouri and 5 more in Kansas. Every time you see a 5th grader, a high schooler, or a college kid with a stick and helmet, remember that it was Mike Sennett who put it there. I want to thank Coach Sennett for the work and effort he put in to let me learn and play the game I love.

Tom Schmidt
SLUH '01
Rockhurst University '07
St. Thomas Aquinas HS Coach (KS) 2002-2005

Love and Patience

I worked with Mike for the past 15 years at Northwestern Mutual. For the past four years we have been in a weekly Bible study together. I did not know it at the time, but God made sure we were the only two people who showed up one Friday six weeks ago. So naturally we got to talking. Mike talked and showed concern as he normally did about people he cared for and was trying to reach out to. I mentioned I was having trouble mentoring a sixthgrader in the city: my little guy was easily distracted and failing at school. Mike related how he went through a tough patch when he was about the same age, but that he came out of it eventually. (did he ever) And then he reminded me about what to do with my student, "show love and patience, patience and love". Mike asked me to remember to do that.

Saving lives was his mission

Mike and I were Firefighters together for several years. On Saturday when I found out that he left us I was saddened beyond belief. Although I couldn’t stop thinking about it since it hadn’t settled in until I saw him. After reading through these stories I realized one thing about Mike. He was not a selfish person. Mike would time from his incredibly hectic schedule to answer a question or just talk. I am not sure what I will do without his friendship and kind words when I have gotten myself into a situation that only the wise words of Mike could answer.

My story about Mike is lengthy but Mike always asked me to “get to the point” so I will try to make it short. About four years ago I was going through a divorce. One thing that Mike was always trying to get me to understand was that I needed to “finish what you start.” During this time Mike and Buzz were there for me even though at this time I was making a poor decision. I will never forget talking with Mike for hours at night while I was driving home during this time. Towards the end of the court proceedings while I was teaching a class out of State Mike asked me a question during afternoon phone call. He said “Mike, are you sure that you want this, I mean are you sure that you want to be divorced? Starting over is harder than it looks.” Later that night I was talking to our mutual friend Buzz who was my attorney. Buzz said to me that if there was anything that I could do that I should make every attempt to “stick it out” and make it work. After thinking it through I can happily say that because of their kind words and Mike’s undying dedication and devotion to his beliefs in Christ and loving his friends I did just that and decided to stick it out. Because of Mike’s patience, guidance and direction I can say that my wife and I will celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary this year.

Over the past couple of year Mike and I only talked every month or so and for that I am sorry. Mike was a once in a lifetime friend and I long for the day when we can be together again with no chance of losing him again.

Mike you will always be in my thoughts, prayers and a part of every decision I make. Thanks for your friendship and love while you were with us.

Michael D. Thiemann

Legends Never Die

I really didn't know Mike Sennett all that well, but I respected him. A good portion of my friends played lacrosse for Mike. Anyone who could gain the respect of this group of misfits had to be a great man. I was and am always fascinated with their countless stories and imitations of Coach Sennett.

My little brother is going to DeSmet next year. He currently plays youth lacrosse and loves it, or better yet is obsessed with it. I was extremely happy he chose my alma mater, but more than anything I was extremely happy he would get the chance to learn about lacrosse, life, and faith from Mike Sennett. All the stories shared on this blog only reinforce that wish. He will be missed by those that didn't even get the chance to know him. He will be missed by me. My comfort lies in knowing there is someone there going forward that learned from him and loved him.

I would love to see a memorial at DeSmet in honor of this legend. A statue of "Steel" would be fitting. Not only for those that knew him, but most importantly for those to come. Anyone respected and loved by so many must be honored and remembered. I know he will. Every child that plays lacrosse for DeSmet must know this man, know stories of this man, and play their heart out for this man.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all who cared for this great man.

Ryan VanDover '99

A Man of Passion

I only had contact with Mike for a brief period. About three days, on Kairos my senior year. I didn't even know who he was because I hadn't seen him before, but in those three days, he had such a dramatic impact on my life. The directness and honesty of his personality made him someone that you could tell instantly was the kind of person you want to meet; and his passion and leadership made him the kind of person you wanted to learn from. All the characteristics of this man combined to make certain that he positively affected everyone he met. I learned a lot of what it is to be a man from Mike in just a few days of knowing him. I can only imagine what it would be like to have known him for years like so many people did. He will be missed; but judging by the posts on this blog, his legacy will live on forever.

Bryan Henson
Desmet '05

Live in the Moment

I saw coach the weekend before last. I hadn't seen him in a couple of years. We started to talk and he kept reminding me to "live in the moment" and be completely focused on whatever the task at hand is. It was like nothing had changed about him since my playing days. The message was still the same. That is the one thing I took away from Coach: give your all and you have nothing to worry about. His determination and thirst to excel in everything he did is something I have carried with me throughout my life. Coach, you taught me more about life than you ever did about lacrosse, and for that I can't thank you enough. God bless you and your family and we all are going to miss you.

Tim McKittrick '98


I was on my way out the door to see the Ohio State – Notre Dame Game that pitted my alma mater against Coach’s when I got the call from Jarvis. It’s one of those moments that I’ll always remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. Coach and I had been emailing back and forth for the past few weeks and I was eagerly awaiting our planned phone conversation after the OSU-ND game. There would probably be some friendly chirping about the game, but more importantly it was a time for us to catch up about the last few months of our lives.

I played for Coach from 1999 to 2002 and I still have a hard time calling him Steel to his face. I guess child hood first impressions of a man last forever. Through his help and support, I was able to play college lacrosse at Ohio State for the last 4 years. My first year in college knocked me to the ground. I didn’t see the field one time and was red-shirted. My ego was hurt and I wanted to transfer, but Coach wouldn’t have it. The whole summer between my freshman and sophomore year, he worked with me in the goal. We even started running and hitting the weights together. At that point, I didn’t think of him as a coach anymore. He was a friend. I was mainly a backup goalie in college, starting only a handful of games, but Coach helped me to make a difference on the practice field, in the weight room and in the locker room. He reminded me of how lucky I was and how many of the young, aspiring lacrosse players in the St. Louis area would trade spots with me in a heartbeat, even for just a day.

Our friendship continued to grow throughout my time at school. We spoke every month about lacrosse, women, God, school, life. Every time I came back from St. Louis for breaks or just a weekend trip, I always went over to his house to find him doing some weird exercise to fix his ailing back or sitting, spitter in hand, in his favorite leather chair from the Civil War era. He helped me get my first internship with Northwestern Mutual. He wrote a letter of recommendation that helped me get into grad school. The man was the older brother I never had.

Coach taught me to put everything I had into everything I did. If it was worth doing, it wasn’t to be done half-ass*d. He taught me to never be satisfied and to continually improve all parts of my life.

One story before I end this. Coach had a knack for breaking my thumbs. He took out both of them on multiple occasions throughout high school. He even broke one in warm-ups before the semifinal game against Rockhurst my sophomore year. During one of my summer vacations home from school, we went to Kirkwood Jr. High to take some shots. On the way over, he asked me jokingly if I was ready to take some damage. Sure enough, 20 minutes into the work out I had a busted right thumb.

I suppose that every time I look at my mangled thumbs, I’ll think of him grinning up in heaven.

To the Sennett family, I am so grateful to have known your son, brother, uncle, and cousin. Thank you for raising such an important man in my life.

I love you Coach
I miss you

-Drew May
DeSmet ‘02

All World Team

I first met Mike around 1994, a mutual friend turned him loose on me to buy some insurance. I am sure that everyone has had this happen when every person they know gets out of college and the cold calls begin. As my luck would have it, I chose to do business with him and I found myself being a client of his for the next 13 years. I certainly gained more from my association with him than just insurance policies.

Over the years we became friends, we didn't talk every day and sometimes he would call me 10 times before I even returned his calls. When I would finally return his calls, we would talk for 5 minutes about business and 2 hours about life, sports or whatever. The thing that made Mike so different from other people was his ability to always bring something to the table, it could be an opinion, observation or an angle that I never had thought about, but whatever the case was, when I hung up the phone, I was thinking a little bit differently than when I had "finally found the courtesy", as would say jokingly, to call him back.

I often found it interesting and somewhat amazing how he could take a kid who had never looked at lacrosse stick and turn him into a NCAA Division 1 player. What was he doing to make this happen? How could I find what he obviously had in his soul? What drives a person to expect and accept nothing but the best from themselves and his players and actually be able to excute? For most people, it easier to talk about greatness and act like they care. For Mike, execution and dedication to people was standard operating procedure. I am talking about a guy who bankrolled exhibition lacrosse games, so that local kids and parents could see what the next level looks like. I told him he was nuts and he didn't care what I thought and I think we were both right.

For everyone that knew him and or played for him, we are all better people for it.

Mike, you left the world having made your mark and left a legacy at 38, you will be missed more than you could have ever imagined. I could only hope to go out having touched so many in such a positive way.

Dave Cochran

Thanks Brother

"Thanks brother" was the way all my conversations with Mike ended. He said it to me many times and it always made an impression on me. I wasn't used to communicating like that with any other of my co-workers. I really felt he meant it too. When I first met him at Notre Dame I really didn't think I had a chance to convince a kid from suburban Detroit to come to St. Louis and work in a 100% commission business in town where he know no one. He came anyway. What I didn't now was how determined he could be. He was a terrific example of what a Notre Dame man should be. He was humble and quiet in the office but a born leader. I remember running into a client of his at a Christmas party this past year....... they thought he hung the moon. What I'm learning is that their reaction was typical. He will greatly missed by all of us here. We will continue to keep his family and fiancée in our prayers.
Thanks brother,
Tom Clemens
Financial Advisor
Northwestern Mutual

Commitment to Excellence

Lambs, thank you again for helping us share our memories.

Coach Sennett was by far the greatest coach I ever had the pleasure of knowing. Even after I graduated college Coach still filled me with a confusing mix of fear, admiration, love, and purpose. The champion ethos he instilled in all of us still resides there today and it has made us better men. I am thankful to have known and played for such an incredible man. Thank you Coach.

Neal M. Albritton
DeSmet Lacrosse 1998

Hey Brother

From reading this blog, I know that most of you will have no idea who I am, but I also know now that I am more fortunate than I thought to know Mike and to have considered him one of my best friends. To say that our lives were intertwined would be an understatement.

I first met Mike right after he moved to St. Louis, or rather Labadie, (a suburb of Washington!!) The circumstances of our meeting are almost unbelievable. Although I am sure that we would have crossed paths sooner or later, the method of our meeting ensured our friendship, and fittingly we owe it to Waylon Jennings, (I can only imagine how things would have turned out had it been Chuck Mangione!!!)

I was at the Washington Town & Country Fair with my sister and future brother-in-law and we were down in front of the stage before the start of the concert. Looking around I saw a kid in the stands, leaning against the railing in the back row of a set of bleachers wearing cowboy boots, blue jeans, a baseball cap and a t-shirt that only a Notre Dame student would wear. He immediately intrigued me, as coming from a town of 10,000 people, I thought I knew all of my fellow Notre Dame grads. Next thing I knew he was talking to my brother in law who was also wearing a t-shirt only a Notre Dame student would wear. That conversation went exactly like this:

Mike: Hey, did you go to Notre Dame?
Brother in law: Yes
Mike: When did you graduate?
Brother in law: 1991
Mike: Me too. What's your name?
Brother in law: Mike Sinnott
Mike: (a cold stare)

After the tension broke, because of course Mike thought we were messing with him, I found out that Mike was renting a house from my family, in fact the house my dad grew up in on our family farm. I also was reconnected to his sister Julie who had been in my class at ND and to his brother in law who had been my Assistant Rector in Dillon Hall and the man who wrote one of my letters of recommendation for law school. From that point on we were friends.

He introduced me to lacrosse in the back yard of that house. I quickly discovered that my future children were in jeopardy with a stick in my hand which caused me to switch to a catcher's mitt I had in my truck. Of course that only meant that that the shots came faster and harder.

I introduced him to the joys of being a volunteer firefighter.

We worked together professionally advising mutual clients in my law practice.

We spent many Saturday nights at my house watching Tivo'd Notre Dame games.

We had so much in common. He was the brother I never had.

About a year ago, my wife and I introduced him to her first cousin Amber. They had met before as both were in our wedding. Of course they had nothing in common at the time, but ten years later they did and it stuck. It was awesome. It was great to go to family holidays and have Mike there with us and to have members of his family join us. We truly went from friends to family.

I last talked to him on Thursday when he told me the news of his engagement. Saturday is surreal.

All of you who read this know what a truly great person Mike was. Although I thought I knew Mike as well as anyone, reading these entries has allowed me to see another side of him. It has allowed me to see the depth of his impact on so many people. I knew I would miss him, and now I know that countless others, strangers to me, will miss him too. Somehow that is comforting.

Love You Brother, God Bless

Buzz Eckelkamp ND 88
“Reading through all the posts has brought back great memories of De Smet Lacrosse and Coach Sennett. No one can say that playing for coach was a walk in the park. He demanded excellence on and off the field. His demands prepared me and many others for life outside of De Smet. Professors would spend 4 years attempting to discipline students, but Coach could accomplish that task in a matter weeks.

Each year he invited a group of focused individuals to play for his team. It was an honor to put on a De Smet jersey. It was an honor to walk down the steep hill at Vo-Tech (practice field) knowing that coach selected you for his squad. It was an honor to scream Coach’s “Count on me” to break every huddle. After playing under Coach you earned instant credibility in the Lacrosse Community. He worked hard to ensure we understood the game.

My fondest memories of playing for Coach occurred each day after practice. He always reserved 5 minutes at the end of practice for a member of the team to share a short story about their life. Good or bad, any story was welcome. Coach started off each season telling a story about his life and a new member of the team was selected each day. It was a great way to get to know your teammates, to bond, to become a solid team. Coach will be sorely missed. God Bless.

Count on me,

Chris Steuterman

Class of 2000”

Grateful Parents

The postings to this site have been incredible. In the last couple of days, I have heard great stories of Mike, his dedication to others, and his many passions of faith and life.

As a parent of a current Varsity player, I share a bond with every parent whose son was coached by Mike. We have all witnessed our children learn more about life, commitment, spirituality, and I forgot---lacrosse then I dare to say, from any other mentor.

Mike, I am forever grateful for what you have done for our son. My first encounter with Mike was at the yearend lacrosse banquet when my son was in 8th grade. I was in awe as Mike introduced each of the varsity players and made separate, personalized, to the heart comments on each of these players. I knew then, that the DeSmet lacrosse program was something special. I am quite sure that each and every parent shares this sentiment and appreciate all that you and each of your "hand picked" coaches have done for our kids.

Each year, I looked forward to hearing your comments about these kids as I have grown to know many of the players and parents ahead of my son's team. I could see each player walk away from you, after your comments, with beaming pride and sense of accomplishment. Every parent I have encountered has expressed this same feeling of "WOW" while watching these events.

I will never forget the words you said about my son at last year's banquet, and I am certain that my son will always cherish your sincere interest in him, not only as a lacrosse player, but as a person.

As I reflect on the past, I remember several teachers at DeSmet who influenced me while I attended DeSmet. I know the DeSmet influences on my two brothers who went to DeSmet and my three sons who also have gone to DeSmet as well as countless friends who have attended DeSmet. Those of us that have been fortunate to be a DeSmet alum feel this way because of the many wonderful folks that we encounter at DeSmet. I guess I can sum it up this way----In all the years, I have never seen any one person have such an effect on so many lives at DeSmet. Mike's devotion, commitment and attention to each and every player is the difference.

Mike, you are the ultimate "Man for Others" at DeSmet. The motto should bear your name.

For so long, all of us parents have "Counted on You".......Mike, "Count on Us" to honor your life and continue this wonderful family that you started at DeSmet Lacrosse.

Steve and Joan J., Spencer, #18.

A Real Life Hero

I know that many of you may not know who I am, but after reading all these powerful messages, I feel compelled to say something. Although I have known him for years, I was just recently getting to really know Mike Sennett. My now husband played all four years and De Smet and continued to play college lacrosse, mainly due to Mike. He was his coach/financial advisor/mentor, but most importantly friend. I can honestly say that Mike Sennett has had a big part in who my husband is today and for that I will be eternally grateful to him.

We are all sad right now but you all have to remember that you are so incredibly lucky to have had someone like Mike Sennett in your lives. Most of us will go through life never knowing what it’s like to be blessed enough to have a true hero in our lives. You all can say you have.

God Bless Amber, the Sennett family, and all of you whose lives he touched in so many ways…my thoughts and prayers are with you all! Mike will live forever in all of you!

Erin Patterson
Wife/Friend of De Smet Lacrosse team '99

Is it Rico? or Suave?

I've been giving this posting some thought and quite honestly I don't know where to start nor shall I blab on. My family and I lost our best friend this week. Steel was not only my best freind he was FAMILY. The great memories of Steel coming over to our home in hand with a liter of Dew, some snacks with a huge grin on his face and greeting chris with a huge "Chrisssssy Condon" and to my children Nicholas which he always used his full proper name, Natalie and Grace will be severely missed. He'd plop down on the floor and start his ruff housing with our lab Jett. Steel was my confidant, mentor and someone who I looked up to more than he'll ever no. He often used me as a sounding board on something new and looked for my advice, little did he know he was the one guding me through his visions. Two quickies, Rico or Suave? Several years ago in the early 90's there was this ridiculous music video where Rico Suave was being used. For some reason Steel and I saw the video at the same time and laughed histerically on the phone. From that point on in some odd way it stuck. Over the years Steel would always put his personal flair to it and would either start a phone message or email by stating "Riccola" or "Sauvisimo". The last item deals with my family and our relationship with Mike. For the last several years Mike stayed in St. Louis for Christmas and we of course invited him over for Christmas dinner each year not really thinking he'd come over. Well... sure enough after he made his rounds he'd show up for Christmas dinner, the funny part - we never know if he'd show up. Chris also told Mike there will be a place setting waiting for you. He always showed up and in time for a great dinner.

The best part, he loved the mash potators - yes tators. They were the first to go. My friends your outpouring is incredible. I know for a fact Michael is looking down on us and is as upset as we are for the pain we're going through.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sennett family, the DeSmet lacrosse community whom I love and respect more than you'll ever know, Amber whose journey through life was about to begin and Abigail who was the rock behind Mike and Father Steve whom I've been blessed to know through Mike.

I recently over heard a scorer mention prior to our game against DeSmet a few weeks ago - " My goodness this is a love fest" prior to the game. There was NOTHING better than a pregame hug from my boy Steel.

Peace and Godbless Steel.

Eddie (Rico), Chrissy, Nicholas, Natalie, Grace

Mike Saves the...flip-flop?

I have had the privilege of knowing Mike for the past 7 years. Our friendship began when I started dating my Husband. I can't remember, exactly, how Mike and I met--which is fitting, because Mike was just a person it seemed like you knew your whole life. I never had the pleasure of being coached by him (I probably wouldn't have made the team), but I can definitely say he was my family.

I, too, have shared many of the same memories as the rest of you; and have some memories of my own. Mike has cleaned my plate. I have seen the orange shorts (and was probably one of a million people to request that they be retired). I have been told 'Peace' at the end of a phone conversation. I have been called, simply, 'Momma' (even before I was one), and gotten a 'thanks lady.' at the end of every email conversation. He loved (and constantly requested) my potato salad and only loved it more when I told him there was butter in it. He, only recently, threw away a 6 pack of non-alcoholic beer he kept around his house 'just in case' a party erupted there while I was pregnant. I have pondered his quick exit at a party, without saying goodbye, only to realize he thought of you as family and, therefore, didn't need the formality of goodbyes.

My favorite memory of Mike occurred a couple of years ago while we were on a float trip. The campsite where we stayed was one of those wild, party kinds. The kind of campsite where you'd take a couple of shots of Yeager from your neighboring camper friends on the way back from the bathroom. Anyway, the group of us were sitting around the campfire late at night, and after a while, I became totally fixated on what sounded like a huge party going on across the river. Eventually, I rounded up most of the girls and we set out in search of this party. A little ways down the road, Mike came chasing after us--he wanted to see the party, too (or perhaps he just lost the rock paper scissors match amongst the guys for who would accompany 4 drunk girls on a wild goose chase across the river). Oh, and he remembered to bring the flashlight.
We were searching for this 'party', purely, by sound. If it sounded like it was happening across a river, then across a river we went. 4 drunk girls and Mike...and he made certain that each one of us made it across, safely. On the other side of the river, we encountered a tall embankment. At that point, I thought that finding the party would be a total lost cause. I suggested we turn around (after all, we were drunk, in wet flip flops, searching for some 'party', and only one of us had a flashlight). Mike wouldn't have defeat. He wouldn't hear of it. We were going to find that party. So, he hoisted each one of us up over the embankment so we could keep going in our mission.
We eventually found the 'party', and to our great disappointment, it was simply a guy with some loud speakers in his car and some ducks in a pond nearby.
So, we headed back to the campsite. Down the hill, over the embankment and across the river.
I was crossing the river with one of the girls (at a place much deeper than we remembered crossing, earlier), when she lost her flip flop in the river. It went sailing down the stream, and we chased it for a while. My friend stood there screaming 'My flip flop! My flip flop!' And we watched it sail away. The river was too deep, and it was too dark to continue chasing it any longer. At this point, we started discussing how she would get back to camp with only one shoe--and, moreover, what she would do for the rest of the trip with only one shoe.
Out of nowhere, Mike appears and starts chasing the flip flop down the stream. He ran and ran and eventually dove in. He caught that stupid flip-flop and emerged triumphantly from the river as we all cheered. He saved the flip flop from the big bad river. He even managed to retain his chew during the whole ordeal.

He had the biggest Cheshire grin on his face after that. We all told him what a hero he was, and he loved it. The thing is, we really were serious about the hero part.

I think he was a hero to a lot of us because he made each of us feel so special. I'll miss his fire and passion and how he took each and every experience to the limit. We wanted to give up so many times on our journey to the party, we wanted to give up on the flip flop, but he wouldn't let us. I have never seen anyone engage themselves in the lives of other people as Mike did. He made it his mission to make each person he encountered a friend, and to build that friendship to its greatest potential.

Thanks, Mike, for you. And thanks for saving the flip flop.
Becky Goudy

Class of '96, EX-LAX parents

We remember Mike as our son's coach and mentor, a friend and a financial planner for our old age. When our son came home his freshman year in '92 and said he wanted to play lacrosse because "you get to hit people with sticks" we were concerned. At the first parent meeting when we read the permission to play lacrosse form and the warning in the helmet that playing this sport could result in death, we were alarmed. We found out about the mandatory spring break practice and talked to Mike about Ron missing it as we had already paid for Aviation Challenge at Space Camp because it was less expensive than summer time and Mike said he understoodand realized our financial point of view but he also saw Ron's great desire to play. Then we began to realize the full scope of what Mike's influence would be on Ron. Ron opted to not miss spring break and earn his own way to the summer session. This made Mike proud and he knew then that he had a captured the heart of a dedicated lacrosse player.

To borrow a line from a Jack Nicholson movie, he made each of his players "want to be a better man". He taught them discipline and hard work and dedication as a team and Tommy Coons told them at the end of practice to go home and tell their moms that they love them. What a pair those coaches were. The players gave up summer weeks to go to camps to improve their game because they wanted to prove to Mike they wanted to be better. In the summer of '95 they went to camp as a team and in the '96 season it all paid off with the first state championship.

We remember the team road trips and the infamous coaches/parent "meetings" where Mike and Tommy went over the "game strategy". Mike always made the parents feel part of the team package. He knew he needed us just as much as we needed him in guiding our sons. He was always very open and honest when he talked to us about our boys. After graduation one parent dubbed the class of '96 the Ex-Lax parents.

But, as was the case with many of the young men, lacrosse did not end at graduation for Ron or us for that matter. Ron went on to coach freshmen at DeSmet and when Parkway South needed a head coach Mike gave them a glowing recommendation for Ron. The board president asked us to convince him to take the job and so we said to Ron, "Don't you want your brother to have the same opportunity that you had to play for and be coached by someone like Mike, to share your passion with him as Mike did for you?" and that was all it took. He wanted to recreate in some way, but in his own way too, what he experienced at DeSmet. He wanted others, if not directly from Mike, through him, to be influenced by what Mike had taught him. And we continue to observe him passing on the legacy at SLUH.

As financial clients Mike always made us feel important to him and that our financial future meant something personal to him. I remember when he first started quoting numbers about my coverage being lower than Ron Sr's because I had not worked in a while and at my age, that even reentering the work force I would not likely be making a big salary(his financial planner explanation) Well, being hit with cold facts that tell you in so many words or numbers that you are worth less can be a little depressing and I couldn't pass up the chance to give him some grief about it so I said, "So Mike, you are saying that my life's contribution to this date is not worth a whole lot and my future contribution is not going to amount to alot either? That I am too old and past my prime? Well that sure doesn't give a person a lot of insentive does it?" You should have seen his face and heard the stuttering. I guess he never looked at those figures the same way again.

I think that Mike's life, from all the accounts I have read, was exactly like the game of lacrosse.
Like the game his life was in perpetual motion, running one intricate play after another, counting on those around him to feed him the ball(give him a player to work with, a client to serve, a kid to council, an opponent to beat) so he could score one for the team.
He interwove his coaching, his faith, his job, his social life together and made them gel just as he made his DeSmet team gel year after year even though players came and went. He would teach his players to face off in life and come up with the win in the end. He knew how to clear the problems and end up settling them and setting up his next play. He knew how to attack life and he always knew he was part of a bigger team. He told the team to give something back and so many have done just that. Mike led by example and when he taught our boys to say "count on me" it was not just a motivational war cry to begin their game, it was a paraphrase of Mike's whole life.

Mr and Mrs Sennett, we thank you for raising such a great guy and lending us your son. We will miss everything about you Mike and our lives are better for having known you, even if it was for too short a time. Ron & Jackie Kelam

Mike is, shall we say... eclectic

things to notice about the Mass Thursday:
the bagpipes playing Amazing Grace
the lady singing Notre Dame, Our Mother
the fire engine from his old station where he volunteered is leading the procession from the Cathedral to the cemetery
his brother in law and sister in law are 2 of the musicians
the prayer cards are of Lourdes, where he made his pilgrimage
the Irish Blessing
the steel casket (they wouldn't let me use the Denali)
his underarmour shirt
the coney dogs on the menu
the flowers are orange, ...his favorite color

Mike would be FURIOUS with me about all this attention (this is the most normal part about all of it)
it's all good. I love you Michael P. Sennett
the picture of us was taken last Saturday by Chris Goudy, Mike's assistant coach. We were watching my son Mike's freshman DeSmet lacrosse game where he plays goalie.

Abigail Tuttle
Associate Wealth Management Advisor with Michael P. Sennett
7733 Forsyth Blvd. Suite 1000, Clayton, MO 63105
314.746.2868 Tele & 314.863.9093 Fax

I came anyway

As so many others have already said – there are no single words, memories, or stories that on their own do justice to the person and influence of Mike Sennett. As I read the other posts, I continually realize that it is only when you consider them together that we even begin to grasp the scope of his legacy.

Though I never had the privilege of playing for Mike, I have been fortunate enough to be a coach on his staff for the last five years. As a new teacher at DeSmet five years ago and someone who had an absolutely un-noteworthy lacrosse career as a player and only two years under my belt as a coach, I was more than nervous to join his staff. Despite my nerves, he and the other coaches under his leadership immediately welcomed me into a community that has in many ways defined my experience at DeSmet. Though he taught me more about lacrosse in the last five years than I ever knew going in, he taught me even more about what it means to strive for excellence as a person and the awesome responsibility and privilege of working with young men.

Aside from thoughts of his intense glares as well as the times when those glares were balanced out by his s**t-eating grin and infectious laughter, there are two memories that keep running though my mind. The first occurred right after my few-day old daughter had surgery on her aorta this past February. Things were still tense and my wife and I hadn’t really asked anyone to visit yet outside of parents and siblings. I was looking out the window of our room when I unexpectedly spotted the backside of a very familiar crew cut. He popped in the door and said, “I know that I probably wasn’t supposed to come see you guys yet, but I came anyway.” Not only was he there, but one of his best friends was in town and he drug him to hospital too. Though he was excited to meet my daughter and find out how she was doing, nothing could match his giddy excitement over presenting us with a $150 Imo’s gift card. He couldn’t stop smiling and he kept repeating, “It’s like the perfect gift, right?” He always treated us like family.

The second memory took place on the way home from our pre-season coaches gathering this year. I opted to bypass the 15 passenger van and keep him company in his car on the way home (he would probably cringe to hear his behemoth vehicle referred to as a car). During the four hour ride home, we didn’t mention lacrosse or the upcoming season once. We simply talked about what kind of men we’ve been and what kind of men we wanted to become. I finally realized in that conversation with him how much continual time and effort he put into becoming the man he wanted to be. He was willing to try anything that showed even a glimpse of helping him to achieve his goals. He was beyond persistent and beyond tenacious. He wanted nothing short of excellence. It was no different than what he strived for on the lacrosse field. Though we didn’t talk of lacrosse in this particular conversation, the message was no different than what he demanded from his players every year. Never sell yourself short. Pour everything you have into it. Be reliable and learn to rely on others. He held himself to the same set of standards in his own life. He had countless tales of trying to live out these ideals in his daily life. We all benefited from these tales.

This past weekend in Culver, Indiana was the most difficult weekend of my life. Though we experienced tremendous heartache and pain over our loss, there was almost an immediate sense of pride for having known this man.

To a coach and brother, we’ll never forget you and the foundation you laid for us. You will live on forever through our efforts.

Tony Plein
De Smet Lacrosse Coach 2002-Present

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

"God Bless"

"God Bless"...I will miss hearing him say that each and every time we got off the phone. People say things all the time but Steel meant it and I know that God has blessed me with his friendship for the last 15 years. I am so lucky to have known Steel during our time at ND as the serious lax guy in the flannel shirt jackets, dip, and tough guy rep. But even more special to me is to have seen what an unbelievable MAN he became later in life.

My husband and I have been so moved by all the stories shared on this site and we know what an impact he made in the DeSmet family. We are so sorry for your loss and we miss him too. I felt compelled to share with you what an impact he made on our family "off the lacrosse field".

The story is simple... Sennett was really good at his day job...because he cared about the people he helped....truely cared. We have a young son who has CP and when it came time to prepare to move to a better home for KJ, Mike was there to guide us... and that is what he did...each step of the way. He touched our family and we are forever tied to him through what he did for KJ's future. It wasn't about money or wealth or business... it was about family and love for those who love you. We will never forget you Steel.

Molly Anderson
ND '92

A Caring Friend

I first met Mike 10 years ago when I started coaching at Notre Dame. In the past 10 years I have had countless memories with him during phone calls, camps and trips to visit one another. As I read all of the stories from players, parents and friends, all I can think is - I had that experience with Mike too. There is no question that he cared about all of the people that he came in touch with and was genuinely interested everything that you were involved in.

Of all the experiences that we shared, I know that this one sticks out more than any other. I always think of Mike as a tough coach who looks the part with his crewcut and dip in his mouth. But this past fall, Mike and Amber stayed at our house for a ND football game. On Saturday night, he spent the majority of his evening laying on our family room floor with my 3 year old son's head on his chest watching "Finding Nemo". You could tell that Mike was just soaking up the moment and so was everyone watching the two of them. Mike was a tough guy with the biggest heart.

God Bless (My wife called his house Sunday night just to hear him say that one more time),
Kevin Anderson
Former ND Lacrosse Assistant

Count on Me Wristbands

This year's Varsity Lacrosse team wanted to come up with a way to remember Coach Sennett, and also continue his desire to help others. We are creating green wristbands with the inscription "Coach Sennett" and "Count On Me." All proceeds from the sales will go to establishing a fund in his memory, with the ultimate beneficiaries to be determined by the club. If you are in St. Louis, the bands can be gotten from one of the team captains, Michael Coldiron, Andy Howell, or Chris Kaiser. Otherwise, send a check made out to DeSmet Lacrosse Club to :
Count On Me
615 Sunbridge Drive
Chesterfield, MO 63017

The bands are $6 including shipping and handling. If you get it from the team, they are $5.

The bands should be available in about one week.

Please join us in remembering Coach Sennett, and his wish to give back to others.

Mike's Footsteps

I had the pleasure of meeting Mike and joining the DeSmet Lacrosse family five years ago when my husband began teaching and coaching at DeSmet. Through the years I’ve made lots of memories involving Mike, but there is one that will not stop playing in my mind. It was the weekend before he passed, and all three DeSmet teams were playing Columbia Rockbridge. JV played last and Mike stayed around to see the game. At the end of the game he leaned over my daughter, Stella (11 weeks at the time), in her stroller and said “Oh, I want one of these.” I made a comment on how wonderful babies are and he looked at me with that devilish grin and said “No, I meant a buggy for someone to push me around in!” he winked and softly punched me in the shoulder. What a stinker.

That is my favorite Mike memory, and unfortunately turned out to be the last I’ll ever make. I think that Mike realized that the toughest person to coach is your own child – inevitably your child will have inherited some of the weaknesses that you’ve worked so hard to overcome. Watching your child struggle in that same way, through those same things, has to be difficult and coaching him through has to be the ultimate challenge. What makes me saddest through out this grieving process is that, for Mike, the time was right. He was ready to take that challenge and there is no doubt that he would have been the ultimate coach & father.

Having never been coached by Mike, I have to say that I’ve learned so much about him these past few days just by watching Amber. She has been the picture of strength, courage and beauty. She’s carrying on in life in a way that only Mike could have shown her. As she said, she has “big shoes to fill”, but I can’t imagine anyone short of Mike himself doing as good a job. For me, Stella is the ultimate symbol that, even though it feels like the world should stop for even just one minute to allow us all to catch our breath, life goes on. The best we can do in the face of it all is follow in Mike’s footsteps.

Caitlin Plein
It took me a few days to really put into perspective the impact that coach had on my life. Over the years, you slowly forget all the special things people have done for you. Unfortuneatly, this past weekend was a sad reminder of just how important of a figure coach was in my life. There are so many wonderful things to say about him - his tireless work ethic, his drive to be the absolute best at everything he did, his profound impact on the game of lacrosse in the state of Missouri. All are impressive, but one trait seemed to stand out to me above the rest.

He was a man who I came to respect not for his accomplishments on the field and sideline, as impressive as they were, but rather for his never ending dedication to his players. He understood more than any coach I have ever had that life extended beyond the playing field. He was man who was not afraid to share his own problems and emotions with his players and would bend over backwards to help anyone with their own. I shared tears as well as laughs with coach during my time as a player and it was his willingness to do so that earned his players trust.

We were all so lucky to have known him. Thank you for all you done for us coach. You will be dearly missed.

George Kriegshauser '02

Learning from Uncle Buck

Michael Sennett, or 'Uncle Buck' as we called him, has made a huge impact on my life, as well as many others. He is my fathers best friend, and I grew up with him being my uncle..but he really was a second dad to me. He was ALWAYS there when you needed him, night or day, rain or shine. I remember once my mom and dad couldn't get a babysitter for my brother and sister and I because we we're kind of bad kids- and Uncle Buck was over here in a heart beat. He let us eat ice cream and stay up past our bed time. I got a lacrosse stick for the first time in 5th grade, because I really wanted to play girls lacrosse. I had wrecked up the strings pretty badly, and in no time flat he restringed the entire stick. He came over every Christmas and Thanksgiving to be with us, and we had a riot with him. I always would take the mashed potatoes from him and we would fight over them. We always gave him the honor of saying the grace, because he was a devout christian and he said the best graces. The last time I saw Uncle Buck was in July. I had just bought new shoes, and decided to walk a mile over to my friends house- not thinking that the shoes were 6 inches high, and I would surely do damage in them. I walked out of the house, stumbling, and he looked at me and said, "Natalie. Be serious, you are going to break a leg in those shoes." I stuck my tounge out at him and he said, "You look like you could be an exotic dancer! =]" Sure enough, while walking that mile, I fell down the hill and broke my toe. I also remember being at his house once with my sister for a BBQ, and I asked if he had any 'kid movies' and he said, "No, I don't..but I think the most appropriate is called 'Maverick'."I'll never forget watching that with him, while my dad [Eddie Condon] and him watched a war movie upstairs, gun shots blasting throughout the house. He wasn't able to come to Christmas or Thanksgiving this year, but we still chatted on the phone. My sister had the opportunity to talk to him two days before he passed away, a chance I wish I could have had. I don't quite remember if I ever said I love you to him, but I'm sure that he knew it. I recently came across a poem that was read at the funeral of my best friend, who died on Easter of brain cancer. I Love you uncle buck, and I can't wait to see you in heaven. You are a true inspiration and hero to everyone you met. Thank you for staying so strong..when other people [myself included] were crumbling. I love you so incredibly much. xoxo

God saw Uncle Buck was getting tired
and a cure was not to be.
So he put his arms around him
and whispered, "Come with me."
With tear-filled eyes we watched him
suffer and fade away.
Although we loved him deeply,
we could not make him stay.
A Golden heart stopped beating,
hard-working hands put to rest.
God broke our hearts to prove to us
he only takes the best