Peter Tinnesz' dream a reality

The legacy of a successful program can be traced back to the strong foundation that was constructed at its inception and Trumbull Youth Lacrosse is standing on solid ground.

Peter Tinnesz, the president of TYL since 2008, recently stepped down but has left the organization in good hands. His legacy as one of the founders goes back to the spring of 2000 when the organization started and his dedication has put Trumbull lacrosse on the map.

“Thanks to Peter the future of Trumbull Youth Lacrosse is very bright,” said Ted Chase the new president of TYL. “Peter has given so much of his life to TYL over the past 14 years and stepping down was not an easy decision.

“I know he now looks forward to spending time with his family, and beginning the transition from coach to spectator as his children begin to move on to high school.”

It all began in the spring of 1998, when Tinnesz moved his family to Connecticut from California. He took a job at Bridgeport Hospital as a CRNA and his wife Sara and daughter, Emily, began searching for a new home.

Trumbull was the logical choice — great schools, beautiful homes, parks and trails. But he had one concern that there were no lacrosse goals on any of the fields in town.

Tinnesz had attended the State University of New York at Buffalo, and as an undergraduate in anesthesia he played college lacrosse.

As fate would have it, TYL founder Ron Cristiano placed an ad in the Trumbull Times looking for anyone interested in helping him start up a youth lacrosse program in town. Tinnesz responded and has been involved ever since.

He coached the Bantam boys for many years until he had a child old enough to play in the program. He then coached the teams of both his daughter, Emily, and his son, Andrew.

In the spring of 2000, Trumbull Youth Lacrosse began with three teams and 75 boys. Today the program thrives, totaling 350 boys and girls with summer travel teams, fall and winter clinics and summer camps.

Since 2005, TYL has awarded $500 scholarships for two graduating Trumbull High School lacrosse players from the boys and girls team.

It comes as no surprise that the success of the Trumbull High School lacrosse teams is in correlation with the start of the TYL program.

Acting as a feeder program for the high school, the Trumbull Eagles have gone on to much success in the state tournaments.

The boys team had a string of eight straight seasons playing in the state tournament from 2003 through 2010, with two semifinal appearances in 2004 and 2006 and winning the Division II state championship in 2005 under head coach Scott Zinser.

The girls team under coach Lou Monaco has played in the state tournament in five of the last nine years, including three of the last four seasons.

“For many of those 14 years Peter usually coached multiple teams of various ages and skill levels,” said TYL Treasurer Art Condron.

“Over his tenure he has held every officer position on the Board.

“The TYL channels players to many area high schools including Trumbull, St. Joseph, Fairfield Prep and Lauralton Hall.

“Some graduates of the TYL program have gone on to play at the collegiate level, including two NCAA champions, and they are still involved in the TYL program as coaches.”

The sport of lacrosse continues to spread rapidly across the country, as well as in Trumbull.

Annual double-digit growth rates are the norm for TYL and organization officials expect that trend to continue.

The number of girls playing in TYL increased by 35 percent this year alone.

Chase said, “TYL now has a program wide player development plan working closely with the Trumbull High School coaching staff thanks to coaches Jim Kammerman and Mike Spinner.

“In 2000, Peter Tinnesz helped to create Trumbull Youth Lacrosse as a community-based volunteer organization to provide the opportunity for every child in Trumbull to play and learn this great game.

“That mission will not change. Just as it was under Peter’s leadership, TYL will not only strive to prepare our players to be competitive on the field of play, but we will also teach them all the important life lessons and skills that our children can learn from playing sports.”