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.
Today’s interview comes from Coach Michael Ryder of the University of Colorado. Taking over the helm midway through the 2010 season, Coach Ryder led his Buffs to a huge win over Michigan and an impressive showing at the MCLA National Tournament. Below is what he had to say about the CU program and where it’s headed in the future.
What are your goals for program growth this off-season? What are you doing to reach them?
The coaching staff and the players have been working hard into getting a head start on the 2011 season. Last year the team had a mediocre fall because there was no coach named yet. After the success we had midway through the season this past year we are looking forward to getting a full fall and spring coaching these guys to see what type of product we can create on the field. This summer we have involved our players in coaching camps and lessons and even put together a team for the Vail Shootout with graduates and rising seniors to play with us coaches in the Elite Division to promote a fun lacrosse filled off-season. At the same time the team knows we have a huge opportunity next season and anything less than a full effort will effect the success of the entire team. We are creating a program. Programs are not from February to May, programs are year round and that is how it will be from now on.
Where do you see your program in 5 years? How will it get there?
5 years. That is a tough thing to say. We could be anywhere. Where I see the Buffs, is getting better and better talent every year and winning national championships. We will get there by putting in a system, getting great lacrosse players who want to go to a great school and growing our program at our school and in the local community. No matter where we go from here, there is only one thing that will get us where we want to go. Winning.
What are some key steps you’ve taken (or your program has taken) to promote your team on campus and create relationships with administration?
Since we have taken the program over we have involved ourselves in as much as we can. From holding camps for local kids, to helping with camps at Denver University to hosting Top 205 West. The University has so much that can aide to the success of this lacrosse team and vice versa we look to involve the student body not only in being fans, but giving opportunities to use the team as an internship tool for whatever major they are at CU for. Myself and Coach Short have created a great relationship with the Boulder lacrosse community as well as the club sports administration who is a huge help to our success year round. The best thing for young lacrosse players is to see top talent play during their development, and we hope to make the CU Buffs that opportunity for the young kids in Colorado.
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?
Fun. When we took over this past season, we focused on the little things that we needed to correct on the field, but more importantly had fun again. The team started to realize that fun is why we all love this game and it translated to beating the best teams in the MCLA after that. I am a new coach as well and what I have learned so far which lead to our immediate success is practice like you play, have fun and pay attention to the little things, winning will follow.
Out of conference games are always an integral part of making it to the National Tournament. What do you look for in OOC opponents when scheduling?
The best. We look for the best teams to give us the best competition all year long. Last year our strength of schedule saved out season. We look for teams that are going to go to the MCLA tournament. If we play that type of talent all year long, it will not be a jump to face what we will see in the MCLA’s. We have the luxury of having a top notch team like CSU around as well, so when high-quality teams want to come to Colorado they get two games out of the trip against two of the best teams in the MCLA.
When recruiting, what do you tell potential recruits about your program and university? What do you have to offer?
The most important part is promoting the positives of the MCLA. The team can both have fun, while working hard and attending one of the best schools in the country. To other coaches looking to gain success, sell your school. MCLA schools are some of the best academic, fun places to be in the entire country and that alone can help you get the talent you need to win. Colorado is beautiful. Our team as a whole lot of fun (redhotbuffs.com). Our field has a backdrop of the foothills, we have a great fan base, parents who travel to games, and strong alumni support.
Besides the school and program, we have to sell the coaching staff. Myself and Coach Short are young guys, only a few years removed from the college game. We have fun playing and coaching the game, we know the little things and big things that it take to be successful, and most of all we want to win. We expect the most out of the athletes and do not treat them as “Club” players. We have too much talent on this team to settle for anything less. We expect to win every game we play no matter if they are an un-ranked team or the #1 3-time MCLA Champions.
Thanks for the interview, Coach. Best of luck this fall and into the 2011 season. We’re looking forward to following the Buffs! For more info on CU lacrosse, visit culax.org.
If you’re interested in learning more or contributing, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].