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.
Our second interview comes from Coach Nick Lyon at Washington State University.
Located on the scenic Palouse in Eastern Washington, Washington State finds itself displaced from the other Pac-10 schools, but they are not to be overlooked. With a good influx of young talent and strong leadership, WSU is on its way to becoming a playoff contender. Coach Nick Lyon has been a part of the program a number of years, building it from the ground up.
MCLA Fan: What are your goals for program growth this off-season? What are you doing to reach them?
Nick Lyon: We are working on growing our roster with dedicated individuals and making sure financial issues are on track for next couple of seasons not just this one. This is the first year we have not lost any players at the end of the season. All 16 players that were on our roster from last year are verbally returning. With the sport growing in Eastern Washington, we now have 5 incoming freshman from this area, along with another 6 freshman from other areas of the US. As for budget, we increased out dues from 500 to 650 per player. A group of parents are working on an incentive program of every player you get to play, you get $50 of your dues that they (the parents) will cover.
Where do you see your program in 5 years? How will it get there?
Back in the PNCLL winning some games. Last year was an unofficial season for us but all 3 games were with league refs and 2 of the 3 games were within 3 goals. We told the team, if you aren’t going to be dedicated, then quit now. We finally had a dedicated group of kids and performance improved from it. We are holding players to a new standard by getting their families involved and having fees for missing practice and if not paid then they don’t play.
What are some key steps you’ve taken (or your program has taken) to promote your team on campus and create relationships with administration?
Living an hour away I can not do much, but Alex Garabedian the team president has signed us up for a both on the mall for the entire first week of school. As for relationship status with the university, we have been on top of our budget with them rather than dealing with the issue when they say we owe money.
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?
My advice for newer teams such as ourselves is do not allow kids to skip practice and still participate. We thought having a “18 man roster” for games was more important to have then just allowing the 11 guys who practice to play. It set a bad precedent and the snowball effect began. Along with that is get parents involved. Relying on the kids to get info to their parents does not work. They are willing to do so much more to help out the team then the players lead on to believe. It took us the hard way to find this out but it truly helps.
OOC games are always an integral part of making it to the National Tournament. What do you look for in OOC opponents when scheduling?
If you are a newer team to DIV 1, I recommend scheduling some games with DII teams. Its hard to win games at the DIV 1 level as a new team. Schedule DIV II and build that confidence.
When recruiting, what do you tell potential recruits about your program and university? What do you have to offer?
When we talk, we emphasize rebuilding and patience, but with that is playing time. It is an amazing opportunity to play lacrosse at this level and at WSU you can get that playing time as a freshman. We have talent at some positions and need other key players to truly compete, but honestly are not far off from that goal.
Thanks for the interview Nick, great to hear of the progress on the other side of the Palouse. Check out more about Wazzu’s Lax team here.
If you’re interested in learning more or contributing, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].