News from Babe City keeps dropping. Last week we found out the Panthers picked up 4 transfers from NCAA programs. And this week? We find out that Chapman University has added Kyle Harrison as an assistant coach.
Harrison comes in with a wealth of experience. In college he was a 3-time All-American, a Tewaarton award winner, he has played professionally for years, and was part of the US national team that won the World Lacrosse Championship in 2006. [Correction: The US actually came in 2nd in '06.]
Coach Wood commented that, “the guy knows the game better than I do. It goes without saying he is of a different pedigree. He showed up to a few practices last year and you could see the tempo of practice was elevated significantly.”
On top of STX, camps and the MLL, Kyle’s going to be a very busy guy this spring. We caught up with him to ask about his new role in the OC, learn how he got involved and hear his perspective on East Coast vs. West Coast lacrosse.
LAS: What was your initial perception of MCLA teams like Chapman? How has that changed over the past couple of years?
KH: To be completely honest, I didn’t know much about MCLA teams growing up in Baltimore, then going to college in Baltimore. I was stuck inside of that little bubble and definitely didn’t know much about MCLA teams, more specifically west coast MCLA teams, I didn’t even know they existed!
I’ve lived out here for a little over two years now and I’ve had the opportunity to be around Chapman, UCSB, Whittier, LMU and a few others, and it’s great to see the talent level at these schools. I’d say in my short time out here I’ve seen at least 10 kids that could be back east playing big-time Division 1 lacrosse. My main goal is to see our sport continue to grow and building these MCLA programs is definitely a part of that.
What caused you to get involved with the Chapman program? What will be your role?
Well, I’ve developed a great relationship with Rory Burke (South Swell, Lacrosse Store) over the years, and he’s coached there for a few years now. When I first moved out, I’d go down a few times a week to practice with the team to stay in shape and keep the game tight (or at least try to).
After a few practices I got to know some of the younger guys on the team, and Coach Mike Wood (head coach), Rick and Will (assistant coaches), and this winter we talked over the potential of me helping out with the offense this spring. With my travel schedule for STX, Nike, my camps and playing professionally, things get a bit busy, but when I’m in town, I make it out to practice and work specifically with Rick and the offense.
How would you compare East Coast lacrosse to West Coast lacrosse?
That’s a tough question, and it definitely varies depending on the age group. For starters, eventually, kids out here are going to be SERIOUS cause they can play all year long! It doesn’t rain here all that often, and it’s rarely below 60 degrees all year long! The mentality out here (west) is going to need to change a bit as I’ve had a number of clinics, or events we’ve done and kids have been missing due to a “good surf day.” I’d still give the nod to the east coast kids as far as talent goes, but these kids out here are definitely getting better every year.
I traveled back east with 4 West Coast Starz teams to a tournament last fall and I think the group as a whole was 11-3 competing against east coast kids. I’ve seen some pretty big time football athletes out here playing lacrosse, and that’s GREAT to see. Our sport is heading in the right direction, and it’s exciting to be out here in California and see the talent level slowly rising.
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