Daily Archives: November 22, 2010

NCAA Women’s Lacrosse: USC Women’s Lacrosse Will Be Supported “With The Utmost Staffing, Recruiting Money, And Travel Money” According To USC Athletic Department Interview

“We are ‘all in’ for women’s lacrosse,” said athletic director Pat Haden. “We are adding women’s lacrosse with the intention that USC will compete for a national championship.”

USC senior associate AD Mark Jackson is the interim coach of its new women's lacrosse team and already in the throes of its search for a permanent coach and new recruits.

The Women of Troy won’t take the field until the 2013 season, but the powers that be are already moving on interviewing coaches and recruiting players. We caught up with Trojans senior associate athletic director Mark Jackson, who is serving as the interim women’s lacrosse coach before he makes a permanent hire in the spring. He spoke to us from Naples, Fla., where he attended last week’s IWCLA Annual Meeting to conduct interviews and scouted the adjacent de Beer President’s Cup tournament.

How did USC choose to add a women’s lacrosse program?

“This decision stemmed directly from the president. President [Max] Nikias has been a part of the university for the past 18 years as the dean of engineering and the provost and now the president. From Max’s perspective, the sport of women’s lacrosse represents so much of what we want to attract to USC in terms of an academic profile, and growing USC’s brand from coast to coast.

“From the athletic department perspective, we want to add a sport where we have a legitimate shot at competing for a national title. We have 21 varsity sports at USC, 16 of which have won national championships. When we take on something, we do it the right way. We’re going to support women’s lacrosse with the utmost staffing, recruiting money, travel money. We’re intending on competing. We took a good look at the obvious trend in participation, and that’s where it’s a no-brainer for us. More kids and more women are playing lacrosse. It was really obvious that the timing couldn’t be better, with the sport growing not only in California but in all of the West. There were a number of factors.

What are you doing now to get the ball rolling so the program is up and running by spring 2013?

“Some of the steps have already been taken. Obviously, our going into the MPSF is done. We have begun our coaching search on a national scale, which will take place over the course of the spring. We’re knee-deep in the process of [identifying] a candidate. What we want is not the biggest or most established name, but someone who’s about what USC’s about. We want somebody who wants to start a program and is willing to go through the growing pains, with the understanding that they’re going to get a lot of support. We’ve budgeted for two assistant coaches and a director of women’s lacrosse operations. [AD] Pat [Haden] and I will continue to search. There are some very established coaches who’ve stepped forward.”

Besides searching for a coach, what will your role with the team be?

“I’ve taken on the position as interim head coach. We’re going to recruit. It’s the one thing I know I can do. I know I can sell it. The interest already has been fantastic. The families and the athletes, they understand what USC represents beyond lacrosse. I know many kids aren’t going to make a decision without a head coach in place, but they’re willing to take a long, serious look. That’s why I’m in Florida this weekend and why I was in Maryland last weekend [at the Mid-Atlantic Lacrosse Tournament], to identify the right kind of foundation for a program.”

Do you have a lacrosse background?

“I had oversight of the men’s and women’s lacrosse programs at Syracuse for a few years. (Jackson became an executive senior associate athletic director at Syracuse in 2005.) I never played, but I can recognize athleticism, and we have enough resources and friends in the business who can guide us through the process.”

What do you look for in a player?

“The first thing is, it’s gotta fit on the academic front. USC was ranked No. 23 in the US News & World Report; we’re an elite academic institution with a very, very competitive athletic profile. We need students who can handle both. That’s a big piece of it.”

It’s a ways out, but where will the team play?

“McAlister Field, which we’ll share with soccer, and we’ll also play games at the Coliseum. And USC has been able to go out and really get our fans involved with our women’s teams. We recently broke an in-season attendance record in our women’s soccer game versus UCLA. (USC beat UCLA 1-0 on Oct. 22 in the Coliseum before 8,527 fans.) We hope to do the same thing for women’s lacrosse.”

So have you made a call to South Bend to set up the next big USC-Notre Dame game?

“[Laughs] We love to play off our traditional rivalries, and of course Pat has a history with Notre Dame. (Haden was a quarterback for USC during the 1970s, and was later NBC’s color commentator for the Fighting Irish.) I’ve had some initial conversations with [Notre Dame women’s lacrosse coach] Tracy Coyne, and we’d love to get that going. We have to understand that we have to ease into this. There’s no false expectations that we’re going to take on the biggest and the best right away. We’ll schedule aggressively, but you’ve got to balance it. We’d love to be a hub for women’s lacrosse in the West.”

Southern California Boys Lacrosse Tournaments: The 2010 Palm Desert Lacrosse Classic Features Top Boys Lacrosse Club Teams From The Western U.S. Competing Nov. 26-27 At Hovley Park In Palm Desert

The 2010 Palm Desert Lacrosse Classic takes place over the Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend. Club teams from all over the Western United States compete in two days of non-stop action. It all takes place at Hovley Soccer Park in Palm Desert. This natural grass, five-field facility includes lighted fields, plenty of parking, and great sight lines.  Games begin on Friday at Noon and continue all day on Saturday ending by 6:00pm.

Hawaii Lacrosse Invitational: Highlights From Video Camera On Paul Rabil’s Helmet (Video)

Have you ever wanted to see a lacrosse game from Paul Rabil’s perspective? Now you can with this helmet cam footage from the 2010 Hawaii Tournament

Lacrosse In The Media: New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick Plays Lacrosse With Paul Rabil After Big NFL Football Win Over Indianapolis Colts

As reporters worked on stories in the press box at Gillette Stadium following the Patriots’ 31-28 victory over the Colts, an unexpected occurrence unfolded on the playing field.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick celebrated the win by playing lacrosse.

Belichick, in a sweatshirt and jeans, was playing catch with Paul Rabil, a former lacrosse star at Johns Hopkins. At one point, Belichick climbed into the stands to retreive an errant ball. At another point, Belichick was receiving passes of almost 100 yards.

All in a day’s work.

Bill Belichick played lacrosse and football at Wesleyan. In this 1974 Wesleyan team photo, he is third from the left in the first complete row of players, wearing No. 44.

Rabil, who plays for the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse in addition to playing for the Stealth in the NLL, tweeted this earlier tonight: “Coach B is dialed in. Keeps his stick in the office. His ‘stress reliever’ is my game.”

Belichick, a five-time Super Bowl winner and head coach of the Patriots since 2000, lettered in lacrosse while attending college at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. As a senior, he was named captain of his lacrosse team. He was inducted into the Wesleyan University Athletics Hall of Fame as part of its inaugural class in 2008, according to his bio on the Patriots website.

For more:  http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20101121/BLOG34/101129985

Lacrosse In The 1970’s: Virginia Men’s Lacrosse Shared The 1970 National Lacrosse Championship With Johns Hopkins And Navy In Final Year Of “Non-Playoff” Format (Sports Illustrated May 25, 1970)

Since the first NCAA championship playoff in lacrosse will not occur until next year, the Cavaliers can only share the national title this season with Johns Hopkins and Army or Navy, each of whom has one loss.

Tradition, staunchly underpinned by the spirit and architecture set down 145 years ago by Thomas Jefferson and thickly padded with a peculiar Jeffersonian nomenclature, weighs heavily at the University of Virginia. Everyone from the president to the low man in the freshman class is addressed as mister, a reflection of the egalitarian tone Jefferson sought to infuse in the “academical village” he founded and designed. According to Jefferson and generations of Virginia students, the main quadrangle is not a quadrangle but the Lawn; the campus is the Grounds; living quarters are “ranges” and “pavilions.” Ironically, though Jefferson was possibly the most influential radical thinker in American history, the most pervasive of all the traditions that have flourished under the massive Corinthian columns and the lofty dome of the Rotunda, which Jefferson planned as Virginia‘s main building, has been the school’s essential conservatism.

A more recent trend at Virginia has been the school’s decline in athletics. After years of glory in sports as diverse as boxing and football the Cavaliers settled into a 20-year slump. The football team has played one winning season since 1952. The basketball team has had 16 straight losing seasons.

Last week a number of Virginia traditions were under attack. Construction crews worked on new buildings devoid of colonnades. The suddenly unconservative students were on strike in protest against the Cambodian invasion and the shooting at Kent State. The lacrosse team was headed for the school’s first national title since 1952. And, unlike the situation at most colleges where the activists and athletes are rarely the same people, at Virginia the new lacrosse champs were on strike against classes, too.

Since the first NCAA championship playoff in lacrosse will not occur until next year, the Cavaliers can only share the national title this season with Johns Hopkins and Army or Navy, each of whom has one loss. Virginia‘s record became 8-1 when the team beat Washington & Lee 19-3 and Hofstra 14-3 last week. The Cavaliers, who are very likely the best of this spring’s championship trio, can easily wait a year to prove it in a playoff, since the team, beginning with 25-year-old Coach Glenn Thiel, is young and will be around a while. Only four seniors and six juniors are on the 31-man squad, and the two top scorers are Attackmen Jay Connor, a 5’6″ sophomore with a sturdy build and quick stick, and Tommy Duquette, a freshman who already shows signs of developing into the best offensive player in college anywhere. Virginia‘s three best seniors, Defenseman Doug Hilbert and Midfielders Jim Potter and Charles Rullman, are All-America candidates and certainly will not go unmissed. Hilbert allowed his opponents only one goal in his final nine games, and Potter was the first lacrosse player ever selected as best athlete at Virginia. Rullman is so slippery that Maryland set up a special zone defense each time he handled the ball. The Cavaliers still won 9-3.

It was Duquette, however, who provided the surprising play Virginia needed to move up from its fourth-place ranking of a year ago. In the Cavaliers‘ first important win this spring—15-8 over powerful Hopkins—Duquette scored seven of his team-leading 24 goals, a startling showing for a player who was not considered good enough to make a Baltimore schoolboy All-Star team as an attackman last year. Thiel switched Duquette to behind attack this spring and quickly found out how useful his long, gliding strides could be. “Our first game was against Mount Washington, and they put Hank Kaestner on me. He was a three-time All-America at Hopkins,” says Duquette. “I was so afraid of him I just started running around behind the goal to stay away from him, and it worked. I used to just stand around, but I’ve found out that if the defenseman’s worried about keeping up with you, he can’t bother about taking the ball away.”

Duquette now rarely has an opportunity to stand still because of Thiel’s emphasis on physical conditioning. Coaches routinely say that lacrosse games are won by the team that picks up the most ground balls, a frustrating aspect of the game demanding more stamina than skills. In its big victories over Maryland and Hopkins, Thiel’s team fielded 42 more grounders than its opponents. The Cavaliers trailed in this category in only one game, their 11-7 loss to Navy. Virginia is also well coached in technique. It has won 61% of its face-offs, primarily because of Potter’s expertise at center midfield, and has been successful on an outstanding 80% of its clears.

Thiel, whose father coached him at Penn State and who spent the past two seasons coaching a junior college in Baltimore, did not bother to apply for the Virginia job when it became available last spring. “I hesitated until August,” he recalls. “I didn’t think they’d hire some 25-year-old for the job and besides I was teaching in a school where we had a lot of ghetto kids and I had a draft deferment. I was afraid if I came to Virginia I’d lose it.”

A coach who feels threatened by the draft is apt to look on war protesters somewhat differently from his older colleagues. When Thiel’s players asked before the Maryland game to wear red arm bands knotted on their uniform jersey sleeves as a sign of sympathy with the student strike, he permitted it on the basis of individual choice. Eighty percent of the Cavaliers wore them, and a wide majority of the team—along with most of Virginia‘s football players—signed petitions supporting the strike, which by last week had virtually closed down the undergraduate school.

“I was opposed to the arm bands at first,” says Potter. “I thought it would take guys’ minds off the game. But it got clear that so many of them felt so strongly about this that they had to have the right to show it.” The Maryland-Virginia game was played on the Cavaliers‘ home field, which is called The Parking Lot, not from tradition, but because of its hardness. The field was surrounded by police who were bivouacked in the adjacent basketball arena. As the red-arm-banded Cavaliers swept to their victory, it was obvious that several traditions, athletic and political, were in trouble at Virginia.

For more:  http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1083652/index.htm