Stefan Zorich grew up in Montclair, N.J., and first started playing team sports at age eight. Seeing New York Cosmos games at Giants Stadium, and having both an older brother who was a great athlete in almost any sport and parents who performed in Chekhov plays year-round, cultivated a true spirit of play in Zorich. Playing lacrosse in high school in North Jersey in the late 1980s involved clashes with Columbia, Lawrenceville, Westfield, Mountain Lakes, West Morris, and Bridgewater East. While in his senior year, Montclair High Lacrosse received the N.J. Star Ledger #1 ranking in the state for a brief period; however, the season ended with an early loss in the state tournament. That bitter ending made the transition to play at Drew a welcome one.
Of his first time at Drew Zorich recalls, “I never thought I would attend college so close to home but I loved the campus … the College in The Forest. It had a real sense of place. At my interview for acceptance, I will never forget pulling open the doors of Mead Hall and the impression it made on me.”
During those first visits to campus, he recalls the changing landscape of the sport. “I remember the turf field was just under construction, Gov. Thomas H. Kean was coming in as the next president and the passion of Coach Leanos made me feel like Drew was on the rise.”
Coach Leanos, Zorich recalled, had a “contagious spirit and love of the game that really drove the team and had a significant impact on me.”
The size of the university and the team fostered a true sense of camaraderie. In hindsight, Zorich admits that early on he had an “unbalanced passion” for lacrosse during his time at Drew. There were a few others who shared a similar passion for the sport, such as classmates David Newman, Reid Tratenberg, Tim McGrath, Aarol Borden, Matt Fredrick, Jason Karnes, and a year later Alex Previdi and Mike Clark. “The teams Drew was playing then in the MAC were often nationally ranked – Gettysburg, Franklin & Marshall, Montclair State, Washington College – so we had tough competition.” All of the teammates were very good friends and they prepared and played together in the off-season. Zorich still keeps in contact with his former roommate and teammate, Reid Tratenberg, C’93.
Zorich served as team captain for two seasons during one of the most successful eras in Drew men’s lacrosse history, claiming two Middle Atlantic Conference East Championships and an ECAC-Metro Championship in 1993. He was a two-time Second Team MAC All-Star and a First Team selection his senior year. Leading the Rangers in scoring in both his junior and senior seasons, he capped off his time in Madison with the program’s second All-American Honorable Mention in 1993. He also was selected as an alternate in the 1993 North-South All-Star Game.
Zorich states that he learned difficult lessons at Drew. Being a student-athlete taught him discipline and time management, skills which have been important to his success. Drew taught him the balance one needs to be successful. “When you neglect things, it shows,” imparts Zorich. “I wasn’t the best athlete, but a lot of practice and a good work ethic allowed me to excel above my natural abilities.” Zorich credits Drew with giving him the experience that allowed him to do just that.
After graduating from Drew in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology, Zorich travelled to Greece for four months. Visiting his grandfather’s village and getting to know the maternal side of his family was a profound experience for him. Then came an opportunity to teach English in a rural town in Thailand for a few months, followed by travels in Asia. When he returned to New Jersey, he coached the Ridgewood (N.J.) High School freshman lacrosse team with a brief stint as a substitute teacher.
For the following few years, living in New York City, he worked in international sales and marketing with St. Martin’s Press and Rizzoli publishing companies. As the son of two actors (Academy Award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis and Louis Zorich), he grew up loving film and theater, and it wasn’t long before Zorich pursued a career in film, but not in front of the camera. For the past twelve years, Zorich has been working at New York independent film companies such as Miramax Films, Newmarket, Picturehouse, Kimmel International and currently FilmNation, focusing on international sales, marketing and distribution.
Zorich is married to Elda Rotor and has two children, Luka (8) and Erlinda (4). Still an athlete, Zorich now plays soccer, participating in a recreational league, and has coached his son’s soccer team for the past three years. He is also a singer-songwriter, performing in an alternative theater musical show through this past summer and early fall, playing the guitar, which he fondly recalls learning during his memorable years at Drew.