This week I had the chance to sit down and talk to legendary Virginia long pole, National Champion, Tewaaraton finalist, and one of the best Major League Lacrosse defensemen the game has seen, Ken Clausen.
Clausen now works for Warrior Lacrosse and is an instrumental part of developing the Warp. He gave some incredible insight into the production of the first of it’s kind head. In addition to being an incredible defenseman and an integral member of the Warrior team, Clausen’s most noteworthy attribute is his dedication to Laxstache Madness, a cancer awareness campaign with Headstrong Foundation.
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Luke Hitchcock (LH): Ken, I’ve got to start by saying, you had a great career at the University of Virginia. What is your personal favorite memory from your time there?
Ken Clausen (KC): Putting on the UVA uniform and playing in front of a packed house at Klöckner Stadium is simply the best. With that being said, most of my favorite memories took place on the practice field with my coaches and teammates. It’s the little things that matter most.
LH: While at UVA, and beyond, you’ve played with a lot of incredible lacrosse legends. This may be difficult, but who’s the best player you ever laced them up with?
KC: I’ve been fortunate enough to lace them up with some of the best to ever play the game. John Grant Jr and Casey Powell are two legends that I grew up watching and never dreamed of playing with them. While at UVA, I used to watch film of when Lee Zink was at Maryland so to actually play with him in Denver was a thrill.
All in all though, one of my all-time favorite players to play with was Ben Rubeor. Rubes was unassuming off of the field, and a complete monster on the field. No one played harder than that guy. I learned a lot from playing with him.
LH: Absolute legends. On the other side, who was your favorite guy to play against?
KC: The most excited I got to play against an individual player happened in the MLL when I would play against former UVA teammates. I loved giving them a good slash with a smirk on my face.
LH: That’s what friends are for, right? In 2016, Warrior released the groundbreaking Warp. What was the chatter around Warrior HQ when you guys were getting ready to release it?
KC: Warrior had been working on the Warp for years before anyone outside the inner circle knew what was going on. As the news broke to the entire company, there was an absolute excitement coupled with nervousness about the product.
How did we make this? What type of technology are we using? It was so revolutionary that it was hard to grasp it all at once.
As we gained access and insights to the product and the developments, our nerves subsided and our confidence grew. We believe that the Warp is the future of lacrosse and the key to growing the sport.
LH: Why do you think lacrosse players should switch over to using the Warp?
KC: The Warp is a player’s stick. No maintenance, all performance. Some people may like stringing. That’s fine. I’ll take the time saved with the Warp and do more reps on the wall, shooting, scooping gb’s, etc.
LH: What can we expect next when it comes to the Warp?
KC: There was a lot of noise when the first Warp came out. We listened carefully. Consistency was there, but we lacked hold, feel, and whip variation. We have been working tirelessly with our NLL and MLL Warrior Pro’s to make the improvements the players demanded. Expect all three of these categories to be covered with the next generation of Warp.
LH: I can’t wait to see them! Warrior has maintained a status as one of the few elite lacrosse brands out there. What has your road with the brand been like?
KC: It’s hard to believe I’ve been with the company for over 6 years. I feel like I was in college just yesterday!
My road with the brand has offered me a unique perspective in the sense that I have been involved with the company as both an athlete and an employee. I have been involved with our marketing, team and retail sales, and now product development and player acquisition as Lacrosse Pro Services Manager. I am excited for what the future holds.
LH: Well in your even cooler job, you’ve had an awesome career playing in Major League Lacrosse. What was the biggest difference from you transitioning from college to pro?
KC: The speed of the game is so much faster and the players are very smart. It is very difficult to succeed in the MLL without a high lacrosse IQ.
LH: Off of the field, you have spearheaded the Mustache Madness Campaign in the lacrosse world along with the HEADstrong Foundation. Can you talk to us about the Laxstache Madness and what exactly it means to you?
KC: The HEADstrong Foundation is an absolutely amazing group. Their mission is unique in that they want to improve the quality of life for cancer patients and their families. Headstrong Foundation is hands on, in the hospitals, hosting families at Nick’s House, and spreading Nick’s message, among countless other things.
The impact that HEADstrong is having is very tangible and makes you feel part of something very special. The Colleluori family has become an extension of my own family, and I am always so proud and honored to be a small part of what they are accomplishing at HEADstrong.
Lax Stache Madness was founded in 2009 and has raised over $900,000 for the HEADstrong Foundation since its inception. It has been amazing to see the lacrosse community rally around this fun event and we have been so fortunate to see this campaign grow each and every year.
LH: What’s your dream golf four-some?
KC: Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan, Adam Sandler, Bob Barker
LH: That’s absolutely glorious. What about if you could book a concert with any four bands, past or present, who would be on the bill?
KC: Phish, Led Zeppelin, Notorious BIG, Jimmy Hendrix.
(Things would get weird.)
Bonus Denver Outlaws player profile with Ken,