MCLAFan.com is proud to introduce Growing The Program, a summer content series presented by Maverik Lacrosse.
As we all know, the MCLA is growing and gaining more and more exposure each year. To help fuel the momentum, MCLAFan.com is conducting interviews with each and every coach in the MCLA about growing their program. We hope to create a valuable resource for current MCLA teams, new programs and potential recruits. We’re proud to have Maverik Lacrosse and Bigfoot Lacrosse on board to support this movement.
Next we head to Holland, Michigan to check in with Coach Mike Schanhals of the Hope College lacrosse program.
MCLA Fan: What are you goals for the program growth this off-season? What are you doing to reach them?
Coach Schanhals: Our goals during the off-season are to coordinate our recruiting efforts and solidify our plans for our limited fall-ball season. We have a limited amount of dates as set by our school so that our students can focus on academics, so we have to make the most of our time together. We will have a fall mini-camp right when the guys get back to school and then we can practice two days a week until our alumni game in October.
Where do you see your program in 5 years? How will it get there?
We have just decided as a school to go varsity (NCAA DIII) in the year 2011-12 so we have much work to do. Having the full support and resources of the college behind us will be a huge asset to the program. The DIII ethic will suit us as we look to balance school and athletics. I have been recruiting heavily, and will continue to do so with it in mind that a student-athlete should want to come to Hope to study first and then play ball.
What are some key steps you’ve taken (or your program has taken) to promote your team on campus and create relationships with administration?
We have worked hard to organize the program, and to make positive relationships with administration and the school. Be courteous, and professional and emphasize that you will work to make the program an asset to the institution. It is easy to get discouraged as things do not go the way you want them to, but persevere and remember that it is fun to play. Enjoy each day on the field and you can put up with whatever meetings you may have to endure.
Contact: Drew Adams, Maverik Lacrosse
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?
We have been fortunate to have a nice group of athletes (our current senior class) who have been able to perform well on the field. They have allowed us to become much more competitive. This has helped us with recruiting. They have gone back to their areas in the off-season and have brought back recruits. This has been a big asset for us.
OOC games are always an integral part of making it to the National Tournament. What do you look for in OOC opponents when scheduling ?
We have such a big conference (CCLA) that it is difficult to schedule OOC games. There are so many competitive teams in our conference, that we don’t get to play them all. We have been involved in a tournament in Wheaton, IL (The Holy Wars Tournament) where we see teams from the GRLC and the UMLL. It has been a nice opportunity for us, and we look to host the tournament in Holland this spring. We will also travel to St. Louis over our spring break to play some OOC games down there.
When recruiting, what do you tell potential recruits about your program and university? What do you have to offer?
We want students to come to Hope to study and we have an excellent academic program. I also want them to enjoy their time as lacrosse players as well. It is a simple recruiting pitch… come to our campus, sit in on some classes, hang out with some of our guys, check out our new stadium, and if it feels right and you have the grades then welcome! I enjoy talking to prospective students about Hope because I had such a great experience there myself. It is an easy sell for me, because Hope means a great deal to me.
Thanks for the great interview Coach, good luck next season. To find out more about the Flying Dutchmen and their lax program, head over to their website here.
If you’re interested in learning more or contributing, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.