Dave Campbell on Choosing to play Division III

“First, make sure this is the right school for you. If you feel that it is, we can then talk about lacrosse.”
– Erin Quinn, former Middlebury head coach, to David Campbell, recruit at the time.

Dave Campbell is a fifth year senior on the men’s lacrosse team at Middlebury College in Vermont.  He is a captain, and he’s arguably one of the best face-off middies in NCAA DIII lacrosse.  

Dave, who’s originally from Boise, Idaho, had an interesting journey chasing his dream of playing college lacrosse. He went from playing at Boise High his first two years of high school, to moving back east and attending Holderness School in New Hampshire, to being recruited by a number of outstanding lacrosse schools, and finally to suiting up for the Middlebury Panthers.

Recently, Dave wrote an article for ESPN RISE about the recruiting process and choosing the right college. As a player who’s worked hard his whole life chasing a big dream, Dave’s insight is extremely valuable for anyone who finds themself in a similar position.

Over the course of the next season, we’ll be following Dave’s progress with Panthers. It will be exciting to see how he caps off his career and what he takes on after college. Though the LAS team doesn’t know him too well, we do know this: he values hard work, dedication and being the part of a true team. That’s why he picked Middlebury, and that’s why he’s one of the best.

Here’s an excerpt from Dave’s ESPN article:

By Dave Campbell, Special to ESPN RISE

Editor’s note: Dave Campbell is the fifth year senior captain of Middlebury (Vt.) College.

As a high school lacrosse player with hopes of playing in college, one can be hyper-focused on the role of lacrosse and forget about other important aspects of choosing the right school. One of the best pieces of advice that I received from a mentor as I went through the college selection process was: “As hard as it may be, imagine suffering a career ending injury your freshman fall. Would you still want to be at the college that you’ve selected?” I stayed true to this advice, and as a result, found a place that fits me well with respect to academics, student culture, environment and community. Add to that a great lacrosse program and you’re going to have an unbelievable college experience.

There came a point in the process where I had to make a decision between playing Division I lacrosse and playing Division III lacrosse. In no particular order, here are some of the reasons why I chose DIII, specifically Middlebury:

The Fall: DIII lacrosse, especially the NESCAC league, emphasizes the opportunity for athletes to have a certain balance between academics, social life and athletics…

Multi-Sport Athletes: I even had a teammate, John Sales, who played on three varsity teams for four years: soccer, hockey and lacrosse. For an athlete with a passion for multiple sports and the desire to continue to play them throughout college, DIII could be a good choice…

Study Abroad: At Middlebury we have about 75 percent of the juniors on our team study abroad each fall. It is a great opportunity to live in a foreign place, experience a new culture and broaden your horizons. I give a lot of credit to my coaches and my program that this is a supported and encouraged decision…

Level of Ability / Level of Competition: Find a school that matches your abilities and potential abilities. Aim high and give yourself room to grow and develop as a player…

…Search for the school and the program that are the best fit for you in every area of your life and you are bound to have an unbelievable college experience.

Click here for the full article.

About the author

Jeff Brunelle

Jeff Brunelle is the founder and CEO of Lacrosse All Stars. A west coast native and product of the MCLA, Jeff moved back East after college and truly fell in love with the game. He now spends every waking moment building and Red Label Sports from our headquarters in Boise, Idaho.


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