In less than a year, the University of Richmond menâ€™s club lacrosse team will be playing among some of the premier menâ€™s club teams in the nation, including the University of Michigan, Florida State University and the University of Colorado at Boulder.
The team, which was recently promoted to varsity club status, will officially move from the National College Lacrosse League to the more competitive MCLA, the Menâ€™s Collegiate Lacrosse Association, which hosts a national championship.
Not only did the team receive varsity status, but a full-time head coach was hired earlier this month — former Ursinus College coach Glen Carter. A national search for a head coach was conducted at the university and a committee was formed in order to help narrow the more than 40 candidates who applied.
The menâ€™s club lacrosse president, Clay Palmer, was part of the selection committee and said he felt as if Richmond hired the right person.
â€śOut of all the interviews we did, Coach Carter was the best,â€ť Palmer said.
Carterâ€™s first official day as head coach was Oct. 11, and he has attended the teamâ€™s practices (two per week) and weekend games since then. Although he has only been on the job for a little more than two weeks, Carter has already had four high school students commit early-decision to Richmond to play for the team.
Because Richmond has now become a varsity club lacrosse team, Carter will be able to work closely with admissions and go to high schools to meet with coaches and student athletes.
â€śThis university has what I like to call the four As,â€ť Carter said. â€śAcademics, atmosphere, athletics and alumni.â€ť
Carter plans to recruit high academic achieving student athletes who may not be getting the looks from top Division I or Division III schools but who are serious about playing lacrosse in college.
Recruiting is not the only benefit of the new varsity status for the menâ€™s club lacrosse program. The team will also receive significantly more funding, almost $130,000, which will go towards new equipment, safe modes of transportation to and from away games, and an athletic trainer for the team. Carter also mentioned that he was looking into getting his athletes preferential class scheduling for next year.
â€śYou will see that the club team will have new equipment and uniforms to proudly represent the university,â€ť said Tom Roberts, director of recreation and wellness.
â€śNow, they will look like a varsity program when we see them dressed.â€ť
Apart from the changes off the field, Palmer said he is confident about how the team will do this season.
â€śWe are a completely different team from last year,â€ť he said. â€śWe have much more talent and we have lots of senior leadership.â€ť
Senior defender Russell Gong said he had high expectations for the team.
â€śWe all have different individual styles of play,â€ť Gong said, “but the important part is going to be bringing them all together.â€ť
Roberts announced that he did not have any intentions to turn the menâ€™s varsity club lacrosse team into an NCAA program.
â€śWe know that in three years we will be in a better position to ask ourselves if an NCAA program is even a possibility,â€ť Roberts said.
Keeping this in mind, Palmer is still uncertain as to the future of the program, but with 52 men on the roster and 38 underclassmen, he remains hopeful that the freshmen and sophomores will be the core group that will take Richmond menâ€™s lacrosse to the next level.
â€śIâ€™m optimistic that the team will stay competitive,â€ť Palmer said, â€śand that weâ€™ll be playing in the National Tournament in Denver.â€ť
Contact reporter Bria Eulitt at firstname.lastname@example.org