Get to Know: Defensive Coordinator Andrew Suitor

Sep 5, 2023

Maki Jenner - September 5, 2023


Oftentimes, great athletes turn into some of the best coaches, but it takes a certain level of passion, preparedness and commitment to the game to do so. Andrew Suitor, the Halifax Thunderbirds newest addition to the bench staff, has fully embraced the challenge of entering the National Lacrosse League as a defensive coordinator. 


“After I signed my contract with the Thunderbirds, I immediately started watching game film and studying how we play,” Suitor said. “I’ve watched every game twice because I want to be the most prepared I can be for those men.”


Going back to the 2010 NLL Entry Draft and his career as a player, Suitor thought that’s when his start with this franchise would begin. The Knighthawks had the fourth pick, but Suitor ended up landing with the Minnesota Swarm at third overall. 


“I spoke with Rochester’s owner and general manager, Curt Styres, a lot ahead of the draft and thought that’s where I would be playing,” Suitor said. “It feels like a full circle moment after missing that draft spot by one, and getting the chance to coach this organization years later.” 


Between 2010 and this upcoming season, ‘Suits’ as he is commonly referred to, was part of the 2017 Rochester Knighthawks where he played alongside Cody Jamieson, Graeme Hossack, Luc Magnan, and other current Thunderbirds. 


“Lacrosse is such a tight-knit community that wherever you go, you’ll find someone you know,” Suitor said. “I’m fortunate to have familiarity at the ownership and management level, but then also played with some of these guys who have made me feel like this is where I’m supposed to be.” 


Despite the familiarity within the organization, coaching at the highest level can be intimidating. From Suitor’s playing days, he understands the work that needs to be done to be successful. He has seen the level of passion his previous coaches have had for these athletes and wants nothing more than to pass that on to his current players. 


“I never want to let anyone down,” he said. “As a player, I took the preparation part of the job seriously, and that’s exactly how I’ll treat coaching these men. I’ve had some incredible coaches in the past that knew us inside and out. That is exactly what I want for this Thunderbirds team.” 


Anyone can recognize talent, but knowing what each player needs for recovery, how they learn, and what is important off the floor to them brings an entirely new level of chemistry and trust to a team. Suitor knows these athletes' pasts and can help himself apart from bringing a good coach to a great one.


New coaches can bring new ideas and systems to the table, but coach Suitor also wants the players to be part of that process. Taking in the athlete's feedback, opinions, and ideas to create a cohesive defensive unit is the route Suitor wants to take. 


“You play your best lacrosse when you’re confident in the systems you’re running,” Suitor said. “I was a team-first guy when I played, and I want to be the same when coaching. You get that confidence when everyone takes part in creating something they can believe in, and that’s exactly what we want to do this season.”



Having the mindset to continue to learn while coaching these players is exactly what you need to keep up with the growing game. Coach Suitor is the perfect man for the job, with his knowledge of his player's pasts and the conviction to learn more and move the team forward. The dedication Suitor has to these players, and the organization as a whole will indeed allow him to make his mark as a first-time NLL coach. 

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