NAIA Coach Interview: Sean Feeley — Point University
Nick Zoroya: For those who aren’t familiar with your program, what year were you founded, what conference are you in, how long have you been the head coach of the program?
Sean Feeley: Point started the program in 2011, with the first year of competition being in 2012-13. For the first three years, the program was an MCLA (SELC) affiliate. In fall 2015, when I took over as head coach we were given the option to play both MCLA and NAIA. I chose to go the full NAIA route based on the potential growth for the sport in the NAIA. We have competed in the Appalachian Athletic Conference since that year (2015-16). I have been the head coach for (going on) five years now.
NZ: What is your coaching background? Were you a player yourself?
SF: I’m originally from a “not-so-hot bed” of lacrosse. I played three years in high school at Lakeside-Evans, right outside of Augusta, GA. That program started in 2005 and has been going strong since. After my senior year, I started college at Augusta State University, and then transferred to Shorter University (D-II) when they started the program in 2010. I played there for two years as a midfielder and defenseman. Following my second year, I was selected to play with the USAAI team in Berlin, Germany. After my college career, I played men’s club for the Atlanta Inferno and, currently, the Augusta Beavers (when I can).
I previously coached at Emmanuel College (Franklin Springs, GA) from 2014-15. I was actually the assistant for both men’s and women’s teams…first time I ever tried coaching women’s, definitely tough. Before that, I co-founded and was the head coach for the Augusta Patriots Lacrosse club. It was the first, and still only, club team in the Augusta, GA area. We started the program in 2012 and we were able to send numerous players to colleges all over the Southeast. During that time in Augusta, I was able to coach my alma mater, Lakeside-Evans, were I was a varsity assistant and head JV coach (2010, 2012-13).
NZ: What would you say is the biggest accomplishment of your program since you’ve been here?
SF: The biggest accomplishment was definitely our 2016-17 season. The team finished with the first winning record in program history, and capped it off with a #10 final poll ranking. During that year, we made it to the conference playoffs for the first time in history, and pulled an upset over University of Cumberlands to make it to the AAC tournament final.
NZ: What three/four players are you looking to lean on this year?
SF: Although all of our guys are going to play an integral part in our success this year, our seniors are going to play a huge role in helping our program win games. All six of them are starters and are the only ones on the team who know what it’s like to have been so close to winning a conference championship. Their leadership will be extremely invaluable for us this year.
NZ: What themes or mottos is your program currently utilizing?
SF: Our team motto is: L.I.Y.L. It stands for Like It’s Your Last. It’s been our team motto since I took over the program in 2015. Long story short, I wasn’t able to play my senior year in college. I want the players to realize that everything they have is a privilege and (sobering thought) it can end at any moment. Whatever we do: in the classroom, on the field, or in life in general, I want the guys to go at every opportunity like it’s the last time they’ll be able to do it.
NZ: What are you most looking forward to this upcoming season?
SF: The opportunity to play some familiar teams who we haven’t played in a while (St. Andrews) and some new programs we haven’t played in our history (Mt. Vernon Nazerene, UMich Dearborn, Flagler). It’s great that SAU is coming back to our conference and the NAIA. And, it’s awesome for us to see a new program in MVNU, play a Mich-Dearborn team from out of conference, and to compete against Flagler who will be going NCAA D-II next year.
NZ: How do we improve lacrosse in the NAIA moving forward?
SF: Keep the programs growing, but don’t rush it. It’s really hard to see programs like Asbury last year who cut the season short, and to see schools like Lindenwood-Belleville closing completely. Lacrosse, and athletics in general, pose a great opportunity for colleges to help grow their student population, but I think some schools don’t consider all the variables when they announce their plans to start programs.
NZ: If you had just one sentence to shamelessly plug your program…..
SF: Student-athletes have a unique opportunity to come into our program and compete as freshmen. I don’t believe in playing one player over another just because of his class rank. I believe in playing the hardest workers, simply as that.
Thanks for participating in our NAIA coach interview, Coach Feeley! Best of luck this season.