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.
Just eight miles east of Washington State University, they also enjoy the wonderful scenery that the majestic Palouse has to offer. Founded in 2004, Idaho’s lacrosse team has made leaps and bounds from being a winless stepping stone to a playoff contender losing in 2 OT’s to Oregon State in the 2010 season playoffs. Now in his second year of coaching at Idaho, John Andrysiak looks to take the helm and lead the Vandals to an even more successful season in 2011.
MCLA Fan: What are your goals for program growth this off-season? What are you doing to reach them?
John Andrysiak: The goals for the team in the off season are to make life easier during the school year, so instead of focusing on the minutia we can focus on winning lacrosse games. We have established a booster club and we as a team are currently working on getting our 501(c)3 status. This will help to ensure financial stability for the club in the future years.
Where do you see your program in 5 years? How will it get there?
I hope to see this program continue to grow and become more successful. We are still a relatively young club, with only 6 years under our belts. Our program has progressed immensely over those 6 years, and we have the infrastructure now to push the program to new levels. In 5 years I can see this program being one of the top 4 teams in the PNCLL consistently. Some people might look and say “yeah right” but I have seen so much progress that it would surprise me if we weren’t. Now getting to that point will take a lot of hard work not only from the players but from an administrative standpoint, we must continue to push on both ends, and if we do there is no way that this team doesn’t achieve success.
What are some key steps you’ve taken to promote your team on campus and create relationships with administration?
For a club at any college I think this is probably the single hardest thing to do, get recognized by others at your school. We have really tried to promote our club by working with the PR Club here, as well as sitting down with the AD Rob Spear to discuss our program. The more we advertise and the more we win people will become more excited about our program. I can say that there has been a lot more interest in our club over the last couple of years, and we can see that in the number of fans we have at our games which is great. I hope to continue to increase those numbers in the following years.
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 been the willingness of family and friends around to support this team. It is difficult at the beginning of any program to get your loyal supporters, which sometimes makes it hard to get out and play, even if you do love the game. Having backing from our supporters has really propelled us to where we are today. Also, I would say the hiring of our first coach a few years ago was another big accomplishment. He brought leadership and a presence that made the guys around this program want to play lacrosse and want to win.
To any new coach or to any president trying to build up their club I would preach patience. It isn’t going to happen overnight and it takes time for things to develop, if you can see the good in the little achievements you will be much happier. Finally, find the guys who truly love the game of lacrosse and have the same passion for the game as you, once you find that core group of guys who have the willingness to be at every practice and who want to learn, you will see the effect through the coming years of the program.
OOC games are always an integral part of making it to the National Tournament. What do you look for in OOC opponents when scheduling?
When scheduling OOC games we look for games that are going to be competitive, we want to challenge ourselves and see where we are as a program. It would do us no good to go out and schedule teams that would destroy us or vice versa teams that we would walk over. We want to play teams that we can compete pretty evenly against so that we have to play with tenacity and grit to win the game.
When recruiting, what do you tell potential recruits about your program and university? What do you have to offer?
When recruiting and telling high school kids about our team, I try to tell them the benefits of playing for our team. We love to have fun here, but we also want to win games. We can achieve both if we take care of business on the field. Winning comes from hard work and we want guys who come into this program to understand that in order to win games we have to have dedication from each and every player. This team is a group of tight knit guys and once you come out and play with them a few times you will understand the heart and dedication amongst all our players. This truly will become your family over the course of your career, and you will make friendships with these guys that will truly last forever.
Thanks for the interview, John. Idaho lacrosse continues to rise year after year. For more on the Vandals, check out their website here.
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