Metro State Lacrosse is one of many teams associated with the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) Nation wide. MSUD Lax represents a growing family composed of full-time student athletes that attend Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Q: What are your goals for program growth this off-season? What are you doing to reach them?
MSUD Men's Lacrosse have designated the off-season to createing awareness about our program, fundraising, and staying in shape. We are still a relatively new program to the MCLA and expect to become a top 10 team in the next three years. We had our first tournament experience in 2009 and look forward to competing at that level again. This off-season Metro State played its first ever alumni game at the MLL Denver Outlaw’s professional stadium (Sports Authority Field at Mile High). The team has been competing in summer lacrosse tournaments, coaching youth programs and playing in the many men’s leagues Denver has to offer.
As well as playing lacrosse this off-season, our team plans on gaining access to playing fields on campus. We have a unique campus located in the heart of Downtown Denver which makes playing fields hard to come by. We compete against all the D2 NCAA teams for the three fields on campus and tend to get the shaft. Our goal is to promote lacrosse so that it becomes more of a priority on these on campus fields.
Q: Where do you see your program in 5 years? How will it get there?
For 2014 and beyond, Metro Lacrosse is going to continue seeking out its toughest competition by playing top 10 teams like the University of Northern Colorado, Westminster University and Fort Lewis College. We also plan on scrimmaging Top 10 Division 1 teams such as; Colorado State University, Colorado University and BYU. Next year, we hope to double our number of players. We understand this isn't going to happen overnight but we are developing a summer recruitment campaign as well as sending out a mass email to the student body announcing team tryouts and practice information.
We are also hopping to move our practice to Auraria Campus; this will promote the team by exposing it to the Students attending school as well as increase number of fans at home games! For the 2014 spring lacrosse season, the team is primarily trying to reduce the cost for our student athletes. The team also plans on increasing our home game attendance from currently 50+ fans per home game to around 150+ fans on average at a home game on Auraria campus. We wants to fill the role of a traditional football program on Auraria campus and believe it is possible with all the lacrosse fans living in Denver.
Q: What are some key steps your program has taken to promote your team on campus and create relationships with administration?
Communication has been a key step in promoting our team to the Athletic department at Metro. Through emails, phone calls, and formal letters we constantly inform the athletic department with everything from our success to our crippling need of indoor facilities due to in-climate weather. Metro has 23,000 commuting students with very limited athletic fields. We have three full fields to share with 12 varsity D2 NCAA teams and tons of club sports. Currently, the team plays games at Dicks Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City. We have a weekly recruitment table in center of the campus to provide practice and game information. The BOD has Public Relations Specialist to manage our website and publish recent news about the team. We also have a tab on our website to submit recruitment information to a coach and team president. The BOD has worked with the teachers to try and receive some administrative interest within the school staff. Passing out flyers on campus about games, practices, and other meetings improved knowledge of the team. Creating a facebook account and the team facebook page made it easy to provide info to mass quantities of students and friends.
Q: What has been the most important part of your program’s success so far? Do you have any advice for other coaches (or team presidents) who are working to build a better program?
Having a solid infrastructure is key for success; this is a great learning opportunity for student athletes to get leadership skills in real life. The Captains and President along with the B.O.D. organize the travel schedule as well as the finances and travel arrangements (hotels, vans, field space and on campus recruiting). Getting the players involved in the program increases the dedication and willingness to promote a ‘team first’ attitude. When the players are able to set their own goals for the team and do the work needed to achieve these goals, it’s more satisfying when achieved knowing they did all the work.
Dedication is also important; you absolutely need to be dedicated and driven to perform at the level you are expected. You need to surround yourself with people who are as dedicated and committed as yourself; they need to devote a large amount of their time to the program. The BOD needs to keep the younger players involved with everything too. They are the future of the program. You need to get them involved in the running of the board because unfortunately you only have 4 years of eligibility. Therefore, you usually only have the President and other board members for at most 4 years. So, get the younger players involved as freshman and you will keep the program strong throughout the next 7-8 years.
Q: Out of conference games are always an integral part of making it to the National Tournament. What do you look for in OOC opponents when scheduling?
In out of conference games, we look for competition. Metro state is in a growing stage and always looking to play the best. Metro State believes we have a lot to gain by playing top 10 teams like Westminster and Utah Valley University. After visiting Coach Mason Goodhand, Head Coach at Westminster, it becomes apparent to compete in the MCLA you need more than talent. Whether it’s the unbelievable fields or working with the athletic department or the community, Goodhand has created a lacrosse infrastructure that would make some Division 1 programs envious. We build our program by learning from the teams that are doing it right. Next season, we will be making a California trip for a week as well as a trip to Northern Arizona to play the Lumberjacks.
Q: When recruiting, what do you tell potential recruits about your program and university? What do you have to offer?
When speaking with new recruits, I insist on new players visiting our campus. . . Metro State is located in the middle of downtown Denver, Colorado and speaks for itself. We have 23,000 Students who can traffic 1,000’s of bars and restaurants on and around campus. Tons of professional sports are here in Denver, we are just one hour away from cross training with world-class skiing, mountain biking and rock climbing. We boast two professional lacrosse teams, and year round men’s lacrosse leagues. Our athletic department is raising money for club sports rigorously. Metro is attempting to gain more athletic fields in the Denver area as well. And Finally, as mentioned before, we’re a young team and believe strongly in new players who can grow and lead our program into the future seasons.