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 Blacksburg, VA to check in with Coach Joel Nachlas and the Hokies’ Lacrosse Program.
MCLA Fan: What are your goals for program growth this off-season? What are you doing to reach them?
Coach Nachlas: I anticipate that my reply here may not be typical but I really do not set off season goals. I encourage team members who have the time to play summer league while at home. At Virginia Tech, incoming freshmen visit campus in July for orientation and course registration. I try to meet as many of the incoming team prospects as I can while they are here in order to prepare them for fall ball. The other effort I make during the summer is to set up some fall competition and to get a head start on our spring schedule.
Where do you see your program in 5 years? How will it get there?
This is an especially difficult question. As you know, the Virginia Tech team has been pretty competitive for many years but has never reached the very top level of competition in the MCLA. At the same time, the level of play all across the MCLA has been improving so that we have to improve just to stay where we are. I hope it is correct to project that we will be marginally higher in the MCLA standings in 5 years. To accomplish that advancement, I think they key will be some adjustments to my coaching techniques and a bit more discipline within the team.
What are some key steps you’ve taken (or your program has taken) to promote your team on campus and create relationships with administration?
The team members and I have always worked hard at maintaining good relationships with our university administration and our campus neighbors. Team members have consistently been active on campus. They have served as leaders of blood donation drives, the Relay for life program, tutoring programs and other campus service efforts. I believe that my position on the university faculty has helped the team maintain a positive image. I also think that we have been fortunate to have a very effective Sports Clubs administrator who communicates our successes widely and helps us maintain a positive image on campus.
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?
Without taking too much credit, I think the stability of our program has been a crucial component in our team’s success. Prospective players know that the team has been active for many years and will still be there when they enroll. I also think that the high quality of the high school programs in our state have helped assure that we will have good numbers of candidate players. Finally, I think that the quality of the academic programs at VT has helped us attract some of our best players.
The only advice I have for teams wishing to grow and improve is to try to assure the stability of your program. This means doing the things mentioned in the questions here. Maintain a good relationship with the sports clubs office and the university administration and try to find a coach who will stay with 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?
I think that our location in the middle Atlantic makes it important to play OOC teams. Teams located farther west are generally stronger than those in our area. In the past, I scheduled most of our OOC opponents in the west. With recent increases in travel costs, this has been difficult (or impossible) for us but I continue to seek the strongest OOC teams to which we can afford to travel.
When recruiting, what do you tell potential recruits about your program and university? What do you have to offer?
I do not really do recruiting in the usual sense. I do not travel to see prospective players nor do I solicit applications for admission. I receive and respond to inquiries – often by email – and I try to meet prospective applicants if they visit campus. The key is to have the prospective players visit campus. Virginia Tech is an especially attractive school and it offers a particularly appealing blend of academic strength, warm social community, accessible recreation opportunities and relatively modest cost. I generally point out these features of our campus environment and also indicate that we have a competitive lacrosse team. This mix is what we have to offer.
Thanks for the interview Coach Nachlas, good luck next season. To find out more about the Virginia Tech Lacrosse Program, head over to their team website here. Are you a Hokies Fan on MCLAFan.com yet? Drop us a line!
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