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 Duluth, Minnesota to check in with Coach Frank Clark and the University of Minnesota-Duluth Men’s lacrosse team.
MCLA Fan: What are your goals for program growth this off-season? What are you doing to reach them?
Coach Clark: Depth is the primary goal. Goals for growth stretch across many different areas of our organization. From the athletic side, fall ball is a time for us to choose the team, lay the foundation for the season, and build depth. We ensure everyone on the roster is learning and growing. Yes, it helps to have that “go-to guy” on the field, but when you are matching up against some of the top teams in the country, it’s about who has the necessary depth. That depth helps us in games but more importantly it allows us to push each other to get better every day at practice. However, depth doesn’t stop with getting our athletes ready – we also need to get the program ready. In the fall, we’re also working hard with our alumni, parents, school, UMLL, and the MCLA. It’s critical that we’re in sync with all of those groups to make the season a success. Growth doesn’t just happen, so we set our program plan, much like a business plan, in the summer and spend the fall executing that plan.
Where do you see your program in 5 years? How will it get there?
In 5 years, we envision a program that has been very successful on and off the field. We will have gotten there by working hard and working with each other (school, alumni, parents, etc).
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 a summer camp that sells out every year and has definitely grabbed the attention of some key members of the administration. Aside from that, we strive to do everything we can to be the best team on campus on and off of the field. We lead by example.
Contact: Drew Adams, Maverik Lacrosse
What has been the most important part of your program’s success so far?
Culture is the most important part. We work hard and then work some more. At times we don’t have the facility time we would like, but that is not an acceptable excuse. We demand that no-excuses attitude, work hard and place our teammates before ourselves.
Coaching has also been a tremendous component of the program’s success. Former head coach Rob Graff is a big part of what this program has accomplished.
Do you have any advice for other coaches (or team presidents) who are working to build a better program?
Building or running a program isn’t the same as running a team. Programs are a business and need to be treated that way. Businesses are made of many parts and the players, alumni, parents, school, schedule, travel, equipment, staff, recruiting, etc. all need to be included in your plan for growth.
OOC games are always an integral part of making it to the National Tournament. What do you look for in OOC opponents when scheduling?
Our focus for OOC games is to schedule the best teams and do our best to get geographical and conference diversity when possible. This year we should see 5 or 6 of the top 10 teams.
Returning trips also plays an important role in our OOC schedule. If someone has traveled to play us it is important that we return that trip.
When recruiting, what do you tell potential recruits about your program and university? What do you have to offer?
Recruits need to choose the school that is the correct fit for them. The lacrosse program is only one piece of that puzzle – academics is a much bigger piece. They are going to school to get an education and then play for the lacrosse program.
Aside from our lacrosse program and what it has to offer, UMD is able to provide many of the opportunities and resources characteristic of larger universities, and yet there is a sense of community more commonly found at a smaller college.
We are a program where development of leadership potential is encouraged. The success of our program and players can be measured not only by our on the field record but the preparation it has provided to our players and alumni to go on and become leaders among their professional peers.