Lyon College President Dr. W. Joseph King announced the addition of men’s lacrosse and introduced the team’s new head coach, Monty Curtis, at a press conference Thursday, December 6.
The College will apply for membership in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA), a league of eight college lacrosse conferences. Lyon will petition to join the MCLA’s Lone Star Alliance (LSA), which consists of teams in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. The team would start competing in 2021 with potential for NAIA affiliation in the future.
The sport’s new coach, Curtis, has more than two decades of experience in coaching lacrosse, and has helped to move a college team to national affiliation before. Curtis, a charter member of the Southwestern University lacrosse team, was a player, coach, and faculty adviser for the program in Georgetown, Texas. He coached the team to its first win, as well as its first Southwest Lacrosse Association (SWLA) Championship. The SWLA was the precursor to the LSA Conference. Curtis also served as league president during his tenure with the Southwest Lacrosse Association. Curtis left Southwestern with a 70-56 record.
Curtis went on to take over the only National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) lacrosse team in Louisiana at Centenary College in Shreveport. He was coach when the team had its first win.
“I am humbled to have this opportunity to introduce lacrosse to the Lyon community,” said Curtis. “What we build has the chance to last and positively impact real lives and the reputation of the sport and the College.”
Curtis said a few factors he will focus on for developing the program will be recruiting, fundamentals, and game strategies.
“A player who spends time practicing the fundamentals will see their efforts rewarded quickly; their success is not necessarily dependent on their physical stature,” he said.
According to collegesportsscholarships.com, lacrosse is one of the fastest growing team sports in the country. With more than 60,000 competitors in the United States, the number of players has doubled since the late 1990s, early 2000s.
Today, lacrosse is found nationwide. Over 400 schools compete at the NCAA level, 32 at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) level, and more than 200 colleges and universities offer men’s club teams. Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) is the primary association for men’s club teams. The MCLA has eligibility rules and All-American selections, much like that of the NAIA and NCAA.