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Lack of a coach threatens lacrosse players

Christine McManigal, Staff Reporter
Originally published November 4, 2015

Aiden ScheklerJunior Dain Cottington cradles the ball last year against Lakeside.

Aiden Schekler

Junior Dain Cottington cradles the ball last year against Lakeside.

After one of their most successful years, the boys lacrosse team lost its co-head coaches, Dan Wishengrad and Mark Brick, who left the program due to forced resignation. According to Captain Kyus Bailey and long-stick Midfielder Denali Cornwell, communication between them and prospective schools have nearly ended due to the absence of their coaches.

The sudden absence of the co-head coaches occurred at the end of last season after a player and parent survey was conducted. According to lacrosse board President Michelle Chamberlain, about a third of the players responded and most of the parents participated in the survey. “In the survey, there was a lot of negative feedback [from parents],” Chamberlain said. Wishengrad and Brick left the program after being presented with the survey.

Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing school sports in the nation. There are now athletes on the West Coast interested in playing Lacrosse at the college level.

However, maintaining contact with a college can be difficult. “Colleges are allowed to contact you around the end of June to August. In this period of time, free contact is allowed. I was contacted at the very end of August and it was news to me. For certain [National Collegiate Athletic Association] schools, they won’t respond to you contacting them outside this window. They are legally obligated to not respond until when that period opens up again,” Bailey said.

When free contact is not allowed, a college must go through the coaches of the players they are interested in. At the moment, the window of free contact is no longer open.

Currently, Bailey and Cornwell are the only seniors who have been in contact with schools interested in them for lacrosse. “To be on the West Coast and to have your name out is really good,” Bailey said.

“Dan Wishengrad and Mark Brick really saw the player I was starting to become from sophomore year. Junior year they saw that I can go big if I do anything with college lacrosse. It may not be the best college in Division 1 but they saw that I could play at a high level,” Cornwell said. “They saw that and they really pushed for me. It was great to see how concerned and involved they were for their players. They pushed so hard for getting my name out there.”

Colleges that have contacted Cornwell through the school’s previous coaches were Amherst and Carroll, some lower Division 3 teams, but Cornwell aspires to play for Tufts University. Now, in the absence of a coach, Cornwell has realized that he must now maintain these connections on his own. However, as just a student, Cornwell says he can only do so much.

As for Bailey, he has been contacted by University of Concordia University Irvine. “I’d love to play [in college] and I think I’d be able to but it might not be in the cards anymore for me because of the lack of coach and lack of communication. I have no way of telling [colleges] what’s going on. All communication has stopped on my end,” he said.

There are currently three potential coaches for the team whom the search committee will be meeting later this month. The committee will potentially plan a player and coach meeting to see how the players and possible coaches line up.

However on Aug. 19, Treasurer of the Board Deborah Cohen sent out an e-mail to athletes about a player and prospective coach meetup to allow players to ask questions.

The meeting fell through unexpectedly, leaving players confused. President Michelle Chamberlain denies the existence of this planned meetup despite e-mails exchanged between the board and athletes.

To players and some parents, the hiring process seems to be moving slowly and is causing unease. “The board needs to be acting more promptly and allowing the athletes to be more involved in the hiring process rather than leaving us in the dark,” parent athlete Erin Bailey said.

“We are hoping to have a coach hired by the end of this month,” Chamberlain said. The lacrosse board will also be having a meeting this month, Oct. 28 to discuss the hiring of a new coach.

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Lack of a coach threatens lacrosse players