“The thing that I try to spend most of my time thinking about is not this season or next season, but five years, 10 years down the road. Looking at lacrosse is an example. I hope the person having this job 20 years from now looks back and says, ‘Thank God we started lacrosse.’”
Last week, Marquette University athletics announced that it would add add men’s and women’s lacrosse, bringing to 16 the number of varsity programs at the school.
In an era of tight budgets and higher expenses in intercollegiate athletics, it’s unusual for a Division I program to add sports. I asked athletic director Steve Cottingham about that, as well as other topics of interest to Marquette University supporters.
Q: Why did Marquette take the step to add men’s and women’s lacrosse?
A: “We saw this as a strategic opportunity. There has been incredible growth in lacrosse. There are only two men’s and three women’s programs in the Upper Midwest, in five states. Eighty-two percent of our freshmen class come from those states.
“We really thought it was an opportunity, a great demographic fit. And if you look at the schools that play lacrosse, it’s sort of a natural demographic. It’s a sport we thought we could become competitive at fairly quickly. Lacrosse made a great deal of sense to us.”