A few notes from the college programs in the state. First things first: the topic I’ve been beating to death for the past week. Denver coach Bill Tierney was asked about Michigan at his weekly press conference today (H/T: univduke21 on the collegelax forum). Relevant portions:
Q: Can you talk about Michigan joining D1 lacrosse and what it means to the college landscape? And also will that be a team we might see on our schedule next year or the year after?
Tierney: Well, I’m really excited about Michigan. You know when we came here 2 years ago, we talked about the growth of Division 1 lacrosse in the West. And Michigan, Marquette stepping up and coming into this thing it just continues to put pressure on others to consider the sport. You know the sport’s growing at a 15% rate every year, and Division 1 lacrosse is not growing at all. Now to see a Michigan, you know we’re talking about bigtime athletics now, make this kind of commitment, it’s really exciting to all of us.
And as far as seeing them on our schedule, they’re going to be in the ECAC, they’re going to be in our league. So starting next year, we’ll be playing Michigan. We don’t know where, we don’t know when, we have to start looking at schedules, but it’s really exciting for us to have a great school like that, a great athletic department like that involved in our league.
A follow-up question was asked regarding some expansion even further West (specifically about Colorado State and Colorado’s excellent MCLA programs). Tierney dropped some major coachspeak, but also some interesting stuff:
We’re hoping this Michigan thing really opens some eyes to some athletic departments ADs, some people who think out of the box on how to solve the Title IX issues, because lacrosse is not going away. It really isn’t, and there’s nothing you can do about it. I still think its a matter of some time before – maybe a conference gets together and says “we’ve gotta do this thing.” Now you’ve got Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, talk about 3 big programs in a big league knocking on that door.
Is Tierney predicting a Big Ten Lacrosse Conference in the not-so-distant future? He’s at least dropping a strong hint that he thinks it’s possible. He also mentioned USC as a potential expansion candidate along with CSU and CU. The Trojans are starting a women’s program next year, and he cites rumors that a men’s program isn’t far behind.
Moving along to other topics (sort of), Detroit coach Matt Holtz was a guest on the ESPNU Lacrosse Podcast with Quint Kessenich, which dropped this afternoon. His interview starts at exactly the 19-minute mark, and he talks about the identity of the program – specifically being made up of mostly native Michiganders. He also mentions that the freshmen on the team have grown up a bit, and are playing like older players, which has led to the late-season surge for the Titans. Winning the regular-season conference championship could be a huge deal for the Titans, and they’ll worry about beating Marist before moving along to the conference tournament.
And of course, you know he wasn’t going to escape without being asked about Michigan.
Holtz: I think it’s fabulous. It’s good for us, I think when we talked about struggles with getting teams to come out here, I think that give the other teams an incentive to come out in much the same way that… Denver and Air Force are a draw for each other, and they can get two games in a weekend. I think that will help us out. I think it’s fabulous for the sport, it’s fabulous for the state of Michigan.
The kind of kids we’re getting are kind of a different style than most teams are looking for. I’ve known coach Paul at Michigan for quite a while, and I think we’re going to butt heads a few times here and there you know, maybe on a few local kids. But, for us, we’re excited about the opportunity to have another close game physically, and it’s great for the sport.
There’s a lot more with Coach Holtz, so check it out.
Central Michigan’s players’ blog Club Lax has updated for the first time in a while. It talks about the losses to MSU-Mankato and Marquette (and the finer points of eating at an Applebee’s in Milwaukee – seriously), as well as the defeat at the hand of Michigan State, the postponed Ball State game, and finally the win over Western.
It also discusses the upcoming CCLA Playoffs, in which the Chips will try to slay the dragon and take down Michigan, and what it means for Central when the Wolverines are no longer plying their trade in the MCLA in 2012.
And finally, a highlight video from Michigan State’s game at Illinois:
Barring any sudden developments tonight re: a Michigan announcement, I’ll see you in the morning.