Daily Archives: April 12, 2013
The biggest improvement may be in the coaching. One reason soccer has stagnated in the U.S. is the dearth of quality coaches. Lacrosse is booming in part because of the quality of instruction.
Youth lacrosse in Colorado is booming. That has trickled up to high schools and college. The Colorado Youth Lacrosse Association has 7,000 boys participating. The Denver Lacrosse Club, part of the CYLA, boasts 750 in the spring alone. Rod Allison has introduced inner-city kids to lacrosse with Denver City Lax.
The lacrosse craze has put a Colorado twist on the national college lacrosse scene. A sport that used to be as East Coast as subways and crab cakes, lacrosse has found a major feeding ground in the Denver area. The University of Denver men’s team, ranked third nationally and only two years removed from its first Final Four berth, has nine in-state players. Air Force has 11. Thirty-three other Colorado prep products are playing among 22 other NCAA Division I men’s teams.
“You can get a kid from Colorado as good as the top kid anywhere,” said DU coach Bill Tierney.
Tierney is considered the Mike Krzyzewski of college lacrosse. He coached six national championship teams at Princeton, yet uprooted to one of only three Division I schools west of the Eastern time zone. He didn’t have a midlife crisis. He’s not much of a skier. But he knew he could build a winner at DU. “There was comfort in knowing there was a good recruiting base here,” he said.
In Tierney’s first year at Princeton, in 1988, he signed a Colorado prep player: Chris McHugh of Manual High School. Tierney then had Coloradans on every Princeton team through 2005.
Leading the Pioneers (9-2) into a showdown Saturday in Baltimore against fifth-ranked Loyola (9-2), the defending national champion, is Eric Law, DU’s leading scorer. He attended Arapahoe High School. A senior, Law has gone stick to stick against the stars from traditional eastern breeding grounds for four years.
“We had a three-time All-American from Harvard named Brady Watts,” Enersen said. “He was in the Stanford business school. He was an amazing player.”
Players wore hand-me-down football jerseys, scheduling games with whomever would play them. One of the first matches for Stanford was an excursion to Camp Pendleton in Southern California to play a Marine side.
Stanford men’s lacrosse coach Drew Virk recently unearthed an old San Francisco Examiner dated May 4, 1963. The story, written by Don Selby, tells of the sport of lacrosse making its debut on The Farm.
“Several young men down at Stanford are dashing about in football helmets and carrying sticks,” Selby wrote. “They aren’t gridders gone beserk; they’re playing lacrosse. Lacrosse? At Stanford?”
Believe it or not, 50 years later, lacrosse is still ticking at the school. Virk is marking the golden anniversary when Stanford hosts Cal in a match on April 27 at 1 p.m.
“There is a lot of history with this program,” defender Malcolm McGregor said. “We’ve had a lot of support from the alumni and parents alike. We have something special going, having the opportunity to play high-level lacrosse at an elite university.”
Virk has an alumni list 650 names long. Former players and coaches will be present when the Cardinal entertains the Golden Bears.