Tag Archives: New Programs

NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Programs: Mercer University Men’s Lacrosse (GA) Will Begin NCAA Division I Play In 2011 With Opponents To Include Duke, Ohio State, Air Force And Yale

Mercer University will add men’s NCAA Division I lacrosse to its intercollegiate athletic program during the 2010-2011 academic year and will add a Division I women’s team in 2011-2012, Athletic Director Bobby Pope announced. Mercer is the first NCAA Division I institution in the state to announce the addition of lacrosse to its athletic program.

The sport, which originated among Native American tribes in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic before the United States was colonized, has long been popular in those regions and is now the fastest-growing high school sport in Georgia and one of the fastest growing in the country. According to the latest participation survey by U.S. Lacrosse, the sport’s governing body, lacrosse is the fastest-growing high school sport for girls over the last 10 years and the second-fastest growing sport among boys. At the collegiate level, men’s lacrosse has been the fastest-growing sport over the past decade, while women’s has been the second-fastest-growing sport.

“Lacrosse is becoming a very popular sport in the Southeast,” Pope said. “We will be the first NCAA Division I program in Georgia, so this will be a great opportunity for Mercer to set the bar high for this sport in our state.”

The University added men’s lacrosse as a club sport in 2007-2008 and plans to add women’s club lacrosse for 2010-2011. The teams will then make the transition to Division I status in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, respectively. The men’s club lacrosse team has participated as a probationary member of the Southeastern Lacrosse Conference, a club league. The team has played games against the University of Alabama, Southern Virginia University, Emory University, Palm Beach Atlantic and Kennesaw State University.

Mercer will also be one of the few programs in the Southeast, joining Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and newly established programs at Presbyterian College and fellow Atlantic Sun Conference member Jacksonville University. Currently, there are 64 NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse programs and 89 Division I women’s programs in the nation.

Pope said that the University plans to hire its first full-time lacrosse coach later this year to begin recruiting student-athletes for the teams.

Mercer is the only private NCAA Division I institution in Georgia and currently fields 14 intercollegiate teams, including men’s baseball, basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer and tennis, and women’s basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, tennis, volleyball and softball. The University also fields a co-ed rifle team.

For more:   http://www.mercer.edu/features/072009_lacrosse.shtm

Jan. 30 GEORGIA TECH (club team) Macon, Ga. TBA
Feb. 5 SEWANEE (exhibition) Macon, Ga. TBA
Feb. 12 @ Ohio State Columbus, Ohio 1 p.m.
Feb. 20 @ Bellarmine Louisville, Ky. 1 p.m.
Feb. 23 JACKSONVILLE Macon, Ga. 5 p.m.
Feb. 26 @ Detroit Mercy Detroit, Mich. Noon
Mar. 4 @ Yale New Haven, Conn. 7 p.m.
Mar. 6 vs. Dartmouth Fairfield, Conn. 1 p.m.
Mar. 8 @ Sacred Heart Fairfield, Conn. 1 p.m.
Mar. 13 @ Duke Durham, N.C. 1 p.m.
Mar. 16 CARTHAGE Macon, Ga. 5 p.m.
Apr. 2 AIR FORCE Macon, Ga. 1 p.m.
Apr. 9 @ Presbyterian Clinton, S.C. 1 p.m.
Apr. 16 @ Holy Cross Worcester, Mass. 1 p.m.

Lacrosse Is A Growing Sport In San Diego County As Frank Nichols Spreads Lacrosse Program In Oceanside

After establishing a lacrosse program at Carlsbad High, which he coached for a short time, Nichols oceansidelacrossefranknicholsmoved to Oceanside to teach special education at Libby Elementary and continue his work of spreading the game of lacrosse.

“Aside from developing their skills early, there needs to be an interest at the high school level in order to create a varsity team,” he said. “Without a club in the area, most kids would never even know about lacrosse.”


Fran DeLeonardis and Frank Nichols are two men on a mission. In a town where the sport of lacrosse has a noticeably low profile, DeLeonardis and Nichols established the El Camino High Club Wildcats with the intention of spreading the game to an Oceanside community that knows little about it. The two met in 2005 when DeLeonardis’ son, Steven, enrolled in a lacrosse camp run by Nichols in Carlsbad.

“My son was getting ready to enter high school where he had the intentions of playing football,” DeLeonardis said. “We wanted to find a spring sport for him that would really prepare him as an athlete, and lacrosse seemed to be something that could do that.”

However, DeLeonardis and his son discovered that the city of Oceanside offered no such programs that supported lacrosse, including El Camino High, which Steven attends. The closest program they could find was Nichols’ camp. After seeing the impact that the sport had on his son, DeLeonardis approached Nichols about starting a club in Oceanside. “I indicated to Fran that that was something I had been trying to do for a really long time,” Nichols said.

“He said to me that we should both work at it, and after working for a while we got started in 2006.” The Wildcats, along with the Oceanside Lions at the middle school level, were established with the goal of gaining support for lacrosse among young athletes in the community and, eventually, integration at the varsity level at El Camino.

Nichols, a New York native, moved west after graduating from college in 1977 and started the lacrosse program at Point Loma High, which was one of only six lacrosse teams in the county at the time. During his 11 seasons at Point Loma, he helped the program become part of the San Diego County Lacrosse Association and, later, as it integrated into the CIF. “When I was out of college my buddies asked me, ‘Why is a guy with your ability going west when lacrosse is in the east?’ ” Nichols said.

 “I told them that I wanted to go where it was wild, wooly and free.” That desire brought Nichols to San Diego. “It was wide open when I got here,” he said.

 “There were no rules, no structure and we had to build it all over the decade.” After establishing a lacrosse program at Carlsbad High, which he coached for a short time, Nichols moved to Oceanside to teach special education at Libby Elementary and continue his work of spreading the game of lacrosse.

The Wildcats are holding spring registration for boys and girls grades 5-8. According to DeLeonardis, the goal is to get children involved in the sport at a young age to help create a demand for lacrosse at the high school level. “Aside from developing their skills early, there needs to be an interest at the high school level in order to create a varsity team,” he said. “Without a club in the area, most kids would never even know about lacrosse.”

 This spring, the Wildcats are scheduled to play about 13 games on Saturdays at Del Rio West Elementary against other local clubs and upstart high school programs, such as San Marcos, Mt. Carmel and Valhalla. For Wildcats players such as Bryce Calvo, lacrosse is an exciting and physical game that, he said, cannot be matched by other more prominent spring sports.

“Lacrosse is a game that requires a lot of heart,” said Calvo, a freshman at El Camino. “It’s a tough sport, but it’s also a finesse sport. Lacrosse means everything to me.” Calvo said the relationship between the players and Nichols is the most rewarding aspect of the game.

“He’s definitely a tough coach,” Calvo said. “But if you’re on his team, he really respects you as a player and he demands the best out of you.” Nichols said he hopes to make this team the latest in his long list of success stories in San Diego County lacrosse.

“It’s a wonderful sport with lots of history and the kids love it,” he said. “We’re coming to Vista next, so look out.”

Lacrosse Growing In South L.A.

(Excepts from San Francisco Chronicle’s “SFGate” Forum)

Thursday, May 29, 2008:  Sean McKeon, of slight build with bone white teeth, is trying to hit a bottle cap with the end of his lacrosse stick. His unlikely band of lacrosse players, a handful of Latino and African American youths, surround him. They are cajoling him for has inability to hit the bottle cap. He wiffs, but can’t seem to hit it.

“I couldn’t do it, so they all made fun of me,” the 31-year-old explains. “I kept on swinging at the bottle cap until I finally hit it. They would have just given up.”

That scene comes from his first year as a coach at Manual Arts High School, five years ago. McKeon had come to South Los Angeles’ potholed streets and fortified homes because he felt empty and needed something to fill him emotionally. He had bumped through seven on his wending route from his native Chicago to Los Angeles, and the only constant in his life was lacrosse, a game similar to soccer except players wear helmets and carry netted sticks.

His idea was to bring this game, with its prohibitively expensive equipment and its associations of white privilege, to the ghetto.

This year, McKeon started his fifth season as Manual Arts’ lacrosse coach. The team, in 50-plus games played, has won only two through this year, another winless season. But McKeon’s roster has swollen to 60 players. The high school, with 4,000 students, also has a girls’ lacrosse team, which practices next to the boys’ team on the gloriously bald and litter-strewn field. Further East, McKeon’s LAX in L.A. program has started girls’ and boys’ teams at Huntington Park High School, and a boys’ team at a middle school close to Manual Arts.

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