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 the Gateway to the West: St. Louis, Missouri, to speak with coach Andy Joly about the Missouri Baptist University lax program.
MCLA Fan: What are your goals for program growth this off-season? What are you doing to reach them?
Coach Andy Joly: Every player at MBU receives individual evaluations after fall ball and after the spring season. These point out strengths that have emerged and how to fine tune them and also weaknesses and how to correct them during the off season. Each player is required to be involved in some sort of summer ball be that summer league or a mens club team. As far as team goals go we have one continuous goal to make Nationals every year and continue to climb the National polls higher and higher. This past season we cracked the top 23/25 poll for the first time and peaked at #20, we all got a taste of it and we really want to get even higher in 2011. We lost to rivals MO State in the GRLC Championship so naturally the biggest thing on our mine is winning our first GRLC Championship.
Where do you see your program in 5 years? How will it get there?
In 5 years I see this program being mentioned in the same breadth as Dayton, Davenport, St. Johns, St. Thomas, etc. And by saying that I mean MBU being a top 10 team every year and making it deep into the MCLA Championships… I see us getting to that level for various reasons: Committed full time Head Coach and coaching staff, the players that I’ve recruited and continue to recruit (not only because of their talent but more importantly the strong character each player brings to the team allowing the MBU “Play as Family” mentality to grow…playing as a family unit is of the utmost importance to me as a coach because when we do nobody beats us) also since I’ve started here the talent level of our recruiting classes continue to rise, I also see us getting there by continually playing the best teams the country has to offer DI and DII, now that we’ve cracked the national ranks we’re being invited to play the best teams.
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 are very lucky to have the full support of the university and athletic department, they consider us a “varsity” program therefor we are treated the same as any other program at MBU, we also are fully funded by MBU. We also have a Sports Information director here that does a great job of getting the word out on how our team is doing and promoting games that are in town.
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?
I think the most important part of our success has to do with our upper upperclassmen, the original guys that were recruited into this program when it began, they have consistently set the standard for every new player to come into this program. Fundamentals is another thing that I can credit to our programs success (i.e. stick work, footwork, smart shooting, etc.).
I also think that playing established teams in the beginning that were hands down better than we were at the time helped our young players grow, you have to play the best to be the best, sometimes getting creamed by a team provides the best lessons – you learn the most from mistakes. As for advice to other coaches, that’s a tough one because I consider myself a young coach, but if I had to say anything is to set the bar high for your team, make short and long term goals, fundamentals can take a team a long way.
OOC games are always an integral part of making it to the National Tournament. What do you look for in OOC opponents when scheduling?
The 2011 season is going to bring our toughest OOC opponents to date, we have Hope for sure and are going to a tourney in Minneapolis that will have teams like St. John, St. Thomas, Davenport, etc. for at least 2 more OOC games. (all these teams came to us so fortunately I didn’t have to take any consideration and we were honored to be considered by these great teams) In the future, I will look for how they did in the national ranks and try to play teams that were top 15, if not top 10, and of course proximity to St. Louis and if we have the resources that year to make it to them.
When recruiting, what do you tell potential recruits about your program and university? What do you have to offer?
When I talk to recruits I list the great things about our University, we’re in a great city, our campus is small which gives us a great student to professor ratio (18-1), out of just under 1,200 students on campus – 700 are full time student-athletes which gives the university a fun atmosphere of being competitive in the classroom and in their respective sport, we have the full support of the university, we do NOT charge player dues, and we are able to provide athletic scholarships (which can also carry through to a masters degree if a student chooses to stay). I also believe myself and my assistant are a huge asset as we are both full time staff members at the University so we are always around campus.
As far as our team goes, the players we have now are a huge selling point, they’re all great guys and VERY hard workers…we also have taken on a “play as family” mentality which has helped us grow even closer as a team, I don’t know many guys who would not want to be a part of that. And lastly how competitive I want this team to be, I tell recruits that as a team we expect to be at Nationals every year and if we don’t make it that is a huge disappointment…we have a longer fall ball season, during off season captains hold workouts, and we start practicing in our gym in January and we are outside monday-friday on the first monday of February…although we are “club” team we have an NCAA mentality especially since all of our guys are scholarshipped to be here.
Thanks for the interview, Coach Joly. Good luck next season. To find out more about the Spartans’ Lax program, check out their team website here.
If you’re interested in learning more or contributing, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.