Former Maryland Terp and current Chesapeake Bayhawk Jeremy Sieverts is in a pretty unique situation these days. This young man has logged a ton of miles for a host of teams and recently took the time to answer a few questions.
Mike Brand: Currently you are a graduate student at the University of Durham in the UK, playing for their men’s lacrosse team. Explain your situation and how this opportunity came about.
Jeremy Sieverts: I am studying to get my MA in Management at Durham University in Durham, England. I am also the Assistant coach for the Men’s 1st team, we also have a 2nd and 3rd team, all of which play in the BUCS (The UK’s version of the NCAA).
How is the lacrosse scene in England? We know they just hosted the FIL World Championships in July (which I attended and had a blast), as well as the post collegiate coaching program (which I partook in back in 2005 in Bath). Were you surprised by the level of play?
The lacrosse scene in England is made up of university teams (BUCS) and club teams. The club leagues are a bit better from what I hear, but the BUCS is certainly coming along. We are scheduled to play a few club teams later on in the year, which should be some good competition.
How highly does the school value lacrosse and how is the support from the student body?
Lacrosse isn’t quite one of the major sports here (yet), but athletes on the whole at Durham are respected and treated well. Rowing, rugby, and field hockey (men’s included) are the biggest sports, and they draw pretty good crowds. All sports play their BUCS games on Wednesdays including us, so the scene around the athletic complex is pretty exciting every week with a bunch of different games going on at once.
What are the biggest differences between American and English higher education?
The system is much more hands off from the way we do school in the US. At Durham, we have what are called formative and summative assessments. Generally in each class you have one formative assessment and one summative. The formative doesn’t count towards your grade but is required, while the summative counts for 100% of your grade. Its a little unsettling to think that each class is based on one assignment, but hopefully it shouldn’t be too big of an issue.
British higher education was recently in the international news. Can you explain the situation to our readers?
From my understanding the British government announced some outrageous tuition increases for students in the next few years. Fortunately, education in the UK isn’t quite as expensive in the US to begin with, and I believe they will be grandfathering in the increases so it won’t effect any of the guys here currently.
I have heard your team referred to as the United States of Durham due to the number of Americans on your team. Have your opposition taken that out on you and even performed what has been called over the years as “Spank the Yank”?
We do have a number of Americans on our team, 13 to be exact, and we are all graduate students. It is a mix of players from all three divisions, and areas of the country from Washington, Minnesota, New York, Virginia, Florida, and of course Maryland. So far we haven’t had any major issues or “Spank the Yank” occurrences. It will be interesting though, to see how the BUCS handles it over the next few years, whether other schools will start to bring Americans over like Durham does, or if the BUCS limits the number International players per team etc.
We aren’t the only sport at Durham with American athletes, there are Americans on the Men’s and Women’s basketball, Women’s soccer, Women’s volleyball and some others. We also aren’t the only team in the BUCS with Americans; St. Andrews had a number of Yanks when we played them earlier this year.
Explain BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport), how lacrosse fits in that picture, and what Durham is doing to separate themselves from the pack.
The BUCS is the equivalent to the NCAA. The main difference is that each university has two, three, and sometimes even four teams per sport, much like a Varsity, JV, and Fresh-Soph teams. Each of those teams play other universities in their respective division and compete for the Overall BUCS Championship, which is awarded to the University with the most points (awarded to each team and added together) at the end of the year. From my understanding Loughbrough has won the BUCS Overall the past 6 or 7 years. Can you say dynasty?
On a domestic front, you were a part of that Butler team that had the rug pulled out from underneath you guys. How do you think that situation has shaped college lacrosse, if any, and how should that have been handled differently?
The situation at Butler was certainly disappointing at the time for many of the guys that were a part of that team, including myself. We had built strong relationships with one another and felt like we were about to be a part of something special, building the Butler lacrosse program. Obviously that didn’t transpire, but many of my teammates went on to have great careers elsewhere, such as Denver, Cornell, UMass, Salisbury, etc.
Other guys weren’t as fortunate and their lacrosse careers came to an abrupt end at that point which is by far the most disappointing result of canceling the program. Unfortunately, the same thing has happened to a number of different programs since then, Northeastern Football, Cal’s Women’s Lacrosse, and some others. I won’t comment on how it could have been handled differently, but in general you have to think that when a kid commits to go to a school they have done so because they want to compete for that school. Hopefully that happens, or the athlete can decide to leave on their own terms, not based on things out of their control.
Your alma mater, The University of Maryland, just made a highly publicized coaching change. What are your thoughts on that decision and what are the Terps chances for 2011?
Maryland got a great replacement for Coach Cottle in John Tillman. I got to know Coach Tillman briefly in high school during the recruiting process. I know he did some great things at Navy as well as Harvard, and he will continue to do well at Maryland. I think the Terps’ chances in 2011 are pretty good. Their defense should be one of the best in the country, and everyone knows about the attack unit. I’m expecting big things from them in the Spring, one maybe two rings would be nice. I’ll definitely be watching games on my SlingBox.
You were protected by the Bayhawks back in September, what do you guys need to do to repeat and how can you get yourself on the field more in 2011?
Playing for the Bayhawks last summer was an awesome experience and a great team to be a part of. In terms of next year, I think if you ask anyone who has played that league they’ll tell you its all about team chemistry and staying fit throughout the season. Last summer the coaches would always say the games were won during the week, which couldn’t be more true. For next year I just plan on showing up in great shape, and contributing to the team in any way possible.
Will the Steinfeld trophy be making an appearance in the UK just as the Stanley cup is given to each member of the championship team for one day?
As much as I would love to lug that hardware around England for a few days, I think the shipping would cost way too much, probably something similar to Wayne Rooney’s weekly pay, £250,000. (over $400,000 a week) Just going to have to settle for my ring which hopefully will make the trip over the Atlantic with some friends that are coming for New Years in London.
Thanks Jeremy and good luck across the pond. I currently have a Slingbox for Bills and Knicks games, but I wish I had one when I was over in England. Raise a pint for all your mates here at LAS!