Racing to become the first NCAA lacrosse program in the state of Minnesota, the University of Northwestern (St. Paul) and North Central University (Minneapolis) are both focused on building programs to begin competition in the 2017 spring season. Both institutions are poised to enter the NCAA Division III as early as the fall of 2016.
UNW has a leg up on NCU as the Eagles were able to name Ryan Clark as the first ever head coach of the program, by default making Clark the first NCAA lacrosse coach in the state’s history. On paper, Clark seems to be a responsible fit for the budding program. He graduated from Bethel University in with a bachelor’s in K-12 Physical Education; the University of Minnesota with a Master’s in Kinesiology and Adapted Physical Education; Bemidji State University with a Health Education Licensure for grades 5-12; and a Certificate of Technology and Leadership from Hamline University. On top of his clear focus on education, Clark spends his free time with his wife Rachel and twins.
In the press release, Clark was quoted saying, “My mission is to coach more than lacrosse players, I want to empower young men to graduate our program and be salt and light. We are going to work our tails off to win every time we step on the field, but I also believe that the success of our program is measured down the road by how we develop our student-athletes into Christ followers, caring husbands, productive citizens, hard-working employees, loving fathers, and honorable men.” With an apparent dedication to education, faith and family, we look forward to seeing how Clark shapes the lacrosse program at UNW.
Seeing as the two campuses fall just 9 miles apart, this could shape up to be a pretty decent in-town lacrosse rivalry for local lacrosse fans! Hopefully they come up with a cool tradition early like a painted animal statue trophy, or a cool axe, or ride bikes to the away game…I’m just spit ballin’ here!
The NCU Northerner reports that the Rams were hoping to have their leader announced by now, but after reaching out to the NCU Athletic Office we haven’t heard of any further hirings. Both schools seem excited to make history for their state and lacrosse in the Midwest.
It looks like we wait until the 2017 spring schedules are released to find out which team will actually be “first.”