From the early years of being a ball boy to video taping games as he matured, Haefele grew up with the men’s lacrosse program. 

After a successful four-year career at Division III powerhouse Nazareth College, Haefele has returned to his old stomping grounds as an assistant coach for the Bobcats under the direction of 15th-year head coach Peter Lasagna, who Haefele’s known since he first stepped on the Bates campus. 

“Grew up at Bates and kind of honed my skills as an athlete roaming around the campus here and being a hard time for everyone as a little guy,” Haefele said. “Coach Lasagna has always been a mentor as well, being involved with Bates lacrosse camp and going out to almost every game. Being involved in that whole aspect was big in my growing up in lacrosse.” 

Before ascending to the coaching ranks, Haefele, who was born in Massachusetts, was an accomplished lacrosse player in both high school and college. It began at St. Dominic Academy, where he was a three-sport athlete, balancing soccer in the fall, hockey in the winter and lacrosse in the spring. He was a three-time all-conference selection in lacrosse and was named an All-American by U.S. Lacrosse his senior year, in 2010. 

He was a standout athlete in hockey and soccer as well, being named all-conference in both sports while with the Saints. He ultimately chose to pursue lacrosse in college over the other two.

“There was a period of time where hockey was a major part of my life,” Haefele said. “Hockey and lacrosse were the two most dominant sports. I guess lacrosse kind of found me. As a little guy looking back, I was in the backyard with a lacrosse stick, not a hockey stick.” 

That ultimately proved to be the right decision as he was a staple during his four years at Nazareth. He played in 70 games in a Golden Flyer uniform, accumulating 107 points (60 goals, 47 assists). His 47 assists are seventh most in program history. 

His biggest season came during his junior year, when he was moved from midfield to attack. Haefele registered 51 points (26 g, 25 a) and led Nazareth to a 15-5 record, an Empire 8 championship and a berth in the NCAA quarterfinals. He was named second-team all-Empire 8 that year. 

“One of the biggest things about the culture there is the blue-collar work mentality,” Haefele said. “Coach (Rob) Randall was a great role model there. The type of guy where his main objective was to create men. He always talked about that aspect of Nazareth beyond being just players.” 

Haefele’s success in Rochester, N.Y., came as no surprise to Lasagna. 

“He’s just got a level of commitment to being great at the game that has been part of his personality his whole life,” Lasagna said. “It certainly hasn’t changed since he went away to college. That’s what makes him such a valuable addition to our staff. Here’s this guy who isn’t 6-2 and doesn’t weigh 215 pounds and yet has been a really successful athlete at every level his whole life.” 

Haefele was the shortest and one of the slimmest players on the roster his senior year, coming in at 5-foot-6, 155 pounds. His brother, Troy, who played with Trevar in both high school and college and is currently a junior at Nazareth, isn’t any bigger at 5-7, 150. 

His father, David, also played lacrosse in college, serving as the goaltender at Cortland. He coached his sons at St. Dom’s and has worked as an assistant equipment manager at Bates for more than 20 years. 

After college, Haefele ventured back to Maine, but he had the itch to stay around the game he loved. Looking to scratch that itch, Haefele contacted Lasagna looking to get into coaching. Lasagna said he wasn’t the only one excited about the idea, but the Bates players were on board as well. 

Haefele’s career speaks for itself and it won him the respect of the team before he ever set foot on the field as an assistant coach. But getting the respect of players ranging from 18 to 22 years old wasn’t the hard part, it was toeing the line between being a coach and being a friend.

“That’s one of the toughest things to walk that line,” Haefele said. “The coaches have told me to draw that line. I’ve had assistant coaches at Nazareth who were players I played with and guys that have been alumni in the program and that helped me thinking about how those guys interacted with us. When I first came here I had multiple conversations about how that worked. It does help you get through. You understand what they’re going through, the mental aspect and the type of stress they have. At a psychological aspect, you get a better understanding.” 

While this is Haefele’s first year as an assistant coach, he has been coaching up some of the Bates players for years. Since he was a senior in high school, Haefele’s played box lacrosse in Portland with the likes of John Fay and Dave St. Germain. John’s son, Charlie, is a sophomore for the Bobcats and he and Haefele would bring members of the team with them to Portland to play. 

“My guys got to know Trevar from that, so now they get to see what a great player he is, what a great athlete he is, how hard he plays, but also he can pull them aside and throw a little teaching point at them,” Lasagna said. 

Haefele said he’s still trying to develop his coaching philosophy, but his style of coaching appears to have an affect on the Bobcats. At 9-4 and riding a five-game winning streak into the postseason that includes a win over top-ranked Tufts, Bates has assured itself its first winning season since 2006. 

As for whether he’d like to be a head coach some day, Haefele’s already got the coach speak down, saying his only focus is on the team’s next game, which will be a NESCAC tournament quarterfinal tilt at fourth-seeded Wesleyan. The Bobcats are the No. 5 seed.


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