The Voice of the Defense: Eddy Glazener announces retirement

By Jerome Taylor | Apr 29, 2024

When a player has one word associated with them, you know they’re special. For Eddy Glazener, that word is "communication."

Glazener, who announced his retirement from professional lacrosse, is leaving behind a style of defense that will almost exclusively be remembered for the intangible qualities he brought to the game.

In Lauren Merola’s 2022 article on Glazener, she highlighted his linguistic capabilities and called him the “air traffic controller” of the Redwoods defense, just one of the nicknames he’s been given over the years.

Some others include the “command center,” “quarterback,” or “field general,” all highlighting his importance in keeping the Redwoods’ defense organized for five seasons. 

Notably, in the 2020 and 2019 seasons, the Redwoods registered the best and third-best defensive efficiency ratings in PLL history, respectively. 

Despite his legacy as a communicator, Redwoods defensive coordinator Chris Collins wants to be sure that he’s remembered as “a pretty damn good defender” too. His seven-year career stat line tells that story: 74 games played, 48 caused turnovers, 110 groundballs, 8 points (5G, 2T, 1A), and countless memorable mic’d-up moments

What Made Eddy Glazener a Great Communicator

One of the most common quotes from Dale Carnegie is, “A person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” 

The language of lacrosse is no exception. 

“What [Glazener] was extremely great at, and younger players should take notice of in terms of on-field communication, you always want to use your teammates' name,” Garrett Epple said. 

“The ability to grab your teammate's attention during a possession or game is incredibly valuable. If I hear my name ‘Garrett,  pick left’ versus just ‘pick left,’ it will grab my attention and force me to react  to whatever he's saying.”

Epple, the PLL’s reigning Dave Pietramala Defensive Player of the Year and Glazener’s teammate for three seasons at Notre Dame (2014-16) and five seasons with the Redwoods (2019-23), acknowledged that Glazener was pivotal in his individual and team accolades. 

“I don't think I would have been as good of a player if I didn't play with Eddy… when you have somebody behind you just organizing the defense, that takes a lot off of the other teammates and makes me play a little bit freer knowing that we're organized,” Epple said. 

“We have a slide guy. We are prepared for whatever action they're running. And it's like, ‘Okay, I can focus more about the ball’ and try to make a stop.”

His organization and communication were also beneficial to the coaching staff. It allowed them to maintain consistency in their game plan while diminishing the effects of surprise sets and actions that opposing offenses would throw at the Redwoods. 

“I always say, God forbid, your opponent comes out and runs something different every week.  He allowed us to be consistent, and he allowed us to do what we wanted to do best,” Chris Collins said. “He was just that constant reminder for everyone to just take a deep breath and stick to the plan, and whenever the plan bent a little bit, he was there to straighten everything up…He was my voice on the field, but at the same time, he had the autonomy to hold things down.”

Collins joined the Redwoods in 2020, and inside that bubble in Salt Lake City, he grew to appreciate and understand Glazener’s IQ and how it helped the Woods achieve the greatest defensive efficiency in Premier Lacrosse League history. 

“You were immersed in a lacrosse mindset for three, almost four weeks together in the bubble in Utah, and that's where my appreciation grew for him,” Collins said. 

“He knows players in and out,  systems in and out, and I think it will take me a long while to come across and work alongside another player like that. He was generational in a lacrosse IQ sense; he has a defensive coordinator's mind, and pairing that with his anticipation and size allowed him to do more.”

Eddy Glazener’s Work Ethic 

Before pairing with Epple and Matt Landis at Notre Dame, Glazener was committed to Amherst, a Division-3 school, and played on the scout team. 

His ability to work his way up from that position to a PLL All-Star in 2021 and Redwoods captain last year is a testament to his work ethic. 

That work ethic and self-awareness to take on a non-glamourous position as an internal defenseman more concerned with communicating than takeaway checks have led to some observers saying Glazener was able to ‘do more with less,’ referring to his athleticism, but Collins despised hearing that in reference to Glazener. 

“It's like, no, he just maximized each and every aspect of his game: on-ball, off-ball as a communicator,  in his game prep and how he took care of his body,” Collins said. “When you talk about being a professional, he's the consummate pro because he did everything he's supposed to do.”

Glazener’s work ethic was already renowned, just for its start time: 5 a.m. But his Achilles injury and subsequent recovery showed another aspect of his work ethic: not just how hard or how much you work but what you work on. 

“When he came back from that injury,  I was very curious to see what would happen, and he blew me away, and I'll forever admire that,” Collins said. 

That enhanced focus on taking care of his body led to Glazener finishing the 2023 season with the second-most caused turnovers (9) in his career. Collins said that Glazener was leaving lacrosse “on his own terms,” which is something he should be proud of. 

Happy Trails Glaze! 

“I'm incredibly fortunate to call Eddy a friend, and in terms of lacrosse, for younger players as well, he got every inch out of his ability as a lacrosse player.  

He had a tremendous work ethic and was a tremendous leader, but he was a leader by example. That's why I'm so fortunate to have known him for so long and have him as someone I can look up to. He's somebody who always did the right thing.

He elevated the people around him, and that's the true testament to a leader and a person with a tremendous amount of character:  ‘How can I make the team better? It's not about me nor about me necessarily getting the credit.’ He just is a shining example of a selfless leader. I think we're all fortunate to have played with Eddy, and I don't know if there will be too many guys to come after him to play the way he did.

I just wanted him to know how much  I love him as a person and friend. I am incredibly thankful to have the relationship that I have with him, and that I played with him for all these years, and I can't thank him enough for everything that he's done.”

- Garrett Epple 

“I love the guy, and from a pro sports point of view and a lacrosse point of view, the goal is that when you do this game for long enough, you have those types of relationships, and that's not for everybody. And I'm lucky to have that with Eddy.

I would expect him to have the same type of love, prep, and appreciation as a lacrosse player, as a dad, and as a husband. So I wish him the best of luck. I'm proud of him, and the next step of his life is going to be great, and I'm excited to see that develop as well.”

- Chris Collins

“I'm just proud of the last five years watching him ultimately turn into the leader of this team once Kyle Harrison retired and watched Eddy take this team over.

Eddy Glazener's story is about waking up at six o'clock in the morning, five-thirty in the morning, and working out at Notre Dame. Next to Kyle Harrison, I'd probably say Eddy's right there for me as the players I've gotten to coach over the last 22 years.”

- Nat St. Laurent