Five members will be inducted into the Michigan Lacrosse Hall of Fame at a ceremony held Oct. 26. GLS will publish their bios, courtesy of U.S. Lacrosse, over the next five days.
Tom Mitchell (Posthumous induction)
John Paul has had a remarkable influence on the game of lacrosse in Michigan considering he did not play in an organized game until college. Paul graduated from Ann Arbor Pioneer High School (Pioneer) in 1984; five years before boys lacrosse got its start there. He first learned the sport at Albion College, playing for the club team, before he transferred to Michigan and started playing for Michigan Hall of Fame Coach Bob DiGiovanni. Paul picked up the game quickly. He was a three-year captain at Michigan and was drafted in 1989 by the Detroit Turbos of the MILL.
Paul’s coaching career began at Pioneer while he was still in college. He was the school’s first JV coach and assisted Coach DiGiovanni during the initial years of the school’s new varsity squad from 1989 to 1992.
In 1998 Paul took over the Michigan club program. Over 14 years he compiled a career record of 241-44. His teams earned 13 straight Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) national tournament invitations (1999-2011), reaching at least the quarterfinals every year except one. Michigan captured an unprecedented three straight national club team titles from 2008-10 and 11 of the first 13 Central Collegiate Lacrosse Association (CCLA) championships. Paul’s teams went 76-2 over his last four years as the club coach. He was twice named the MCLA Coach of the Year.
In 2011 Paul was instrumental in the University of Michigan (UofM) becoming the first BCS school since Notre Dame 31 years before to add men’s lacrosse as a varsity sport – a move that many have called the biggest news in the sport in decades. As a direct result of these efforts he was named the US Lacrosse 2011 Person of the Year.
Subsequently, Paul was hired as the first head coach of the Michigan varsity team. The future for UofM lacrosse looks bright as this past season three members of Paul’s first recruiting class earned ECAC All-Rookie honors. His players also excelled in the classroom and off the field, as 22 players earned conference academic honors and the team earned the Rachel Townsend Award, recognizing the UofM team that completes the most community service in a year. Beginning in 2015 Paul will lead the Wolverines into Big Ten competition as the conference recently announced sponsorship of lacrosse.
Additionally, Paul has extensive international coaching experience and has served on the US Lacrosse Board of Directors, the Executive Board of the US Lacrosse Coaches Council and as President of the MCLA.
This concludes the profile series for this year’s Michigan Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductees.