Not too long ago we published a short piece on a start-up company called mclaDNA, created by some players from CCLA D2 squad Grove City College. When we were introduced to them, they told us some goals and the basic principle of their company, to unite leaders from all over the league by sharing stories of success and failure.
With all of our focus on the growth of the MCLA, it was only a matter of time before we did an interview with someone who is also there to grow the game. We sat down with Andrew Dymski, to find out more about mclaDNA.
MCLA Fan: First things first, tell us about yourself and your lacrosse background.
AD: I’m Andrew Dymski, four year starting goalie for Grove City College. I played high school lacrosse for Carlisle in central Pennsylvania. Throughout high school and college I have had the privilege to volunteer and intern with FCA Lacrosse ministry as a camp counselor and coach.
How did you come up with the idea for mclaDNA?
It was at a fall practice in 2010 that we first thought about the concept for mclaDNA. The offense was doing some shooting drills and the defense had finished up some workouts. We were just chatting about our new uniforms coming in and a fundraiser that we were working on. Then we just started joking about putting together a lacrosse officer think-tank. The idea was planted in my head then and it slowly just became a reality.
Tell us a little bit about mclaDNA. What is the bread and butter of this company?
At mclaDNA we share thoughts and ideas that cover what the six core functions of a program: management, budgeting, fundraising, social media, networks, and apparel. Posts cover successes and failures that we have experienced as a program at Grove City College, interviews with leaders from other programs around the country, and ideas that we think may work, but haven’t tried yet. We are seeking to promote collaboration between programs. Right now we accomplish this through interviews with established programs. This is a work in progress right now just due to the time we can commit. We are all three full time students, lacrosse players, involved on campus, and team officers, so time is very tight.
What has the reception been like from those who have heard of you?
Reception has been great so far. I have had the opportunity to be a guest on College Lax radio to speak about the site, there has been good conversation on Twitter, and we are building a fan base on Facebook. We are still trying to get our footing established by building up a solid content base. This will be the true test of success. One of our goals is to have a sufficient archive of posts built up that teams can come and search for thoughts and insights when they are faced with an issue.
Have the MCLA or any related organizations been supportive in this venture? Who? How? Or if not, why not?
Lax All Stars, MCLA Fan, and College Lax have all been very supportive and encouraging as we get off the ground. The great thing about the MCLA is most of the media coverage contains at least an element of player experience; this helps in seeing the potential impact with a site like mclaDNA. We haven’t heard anything officially from the MCLA or the MCLA Mag, but we would love to hear their thoughts.
Are you looking to other team officials at all to get involved with mclaDNA?
We would love to have variation in perspectives that regularly contribute to the site. Teams are at such different levels organizationally in the MCLA today that to remain relevant to the target audience there has to be variety in the flavor of contributions. We have teams like Davenport that are backed by their athletic department and there are teams like Grove City College that are viewed by their institution as a “club” organization. Even though we play in the same conference and have similar schedules we face very different pains and headaches. If we could have content coming from both perspectives we could better serve our target audience.
What are your ultimate goals with the company?
We want to see the MCLA grow; not simply quantitatively but qualitatively. Leaders come and go year after year, but programs are meant to last. Players and coaches pour so much of themselves into teams every day with the hope that they are contributing to something that grows beyond them. We hope that the thoughts and insights that are shared on mclaDNA.com help to structure programs that can achieve true sustainability that delivers results year after year.
What will happen to the site once you all graduate?
A lot is going to be dependent on the response that we continue to receive. If we are not scratching where teams have an itch, we won’t be around for long. But if we find a niche and we consistently deliver quality content that answers that questions that they have, then the sky is the limit. We are set up right now with one senior, one junior, and one sophomore. I would love to develop a consistent relationship with members of other programs so the site can continue to develop.
Who are your picks for D1 and D2 Champs this year?
I think that the DI champs will be ASU. After having the opportunity to see them compete out in Denver in the championship last year I see that they have a quality team with a great coaching staff. I wish them the best of luck this season. As for DII, I bring a lot of bias to the table. There have been some shake ups early in the season with Westminster and Utah Valley losing to Western Oregon. The St. Thomas and Dayton match up next week will be very interesting to watch. I’m going to call that the DII champ will come from the CCLA. I believe that we have the toughest conference in the country. We had four teams in the top eight in Denver last year and we have only added strength this season. It is a great season to be a fan of the MCLA DII because of the great OCC game schedules that we have.
Favorite player in the MCLA to watch/play against?
Jordan Kepner, #8 for PITT. He plays close-defense and throws a ridiculous box fake. We were co-captains together at Carlisle back in high school. We have played lacrosse together since 6th grade and it is always a special treat to be on the field with him. He is the only shooter that I have ever been afraid of; I blocked one of his shots in 9th grade with my ankle and I couldn’t walk normally for a week.