Lacrosse national championship boosts recruitment and reputation for Le Moyne

Lacrosse+national+championship+boosts+recruitment+and+reputation+for+Le+Moyne

Courtesy of Alyssa Skerpon '14

Allison Case '14, Sports Editor

We are the champions! So, now what?

Le Moyne College men’s lacrosse team proved to be the best as they knocked off top-seeded Mercyhurst to hoist the Division II National Championship trophy on May 26 in Philadelphia. The Dolphins were seeded third in the tournament.

Their thrilling 11-10 victory certainly put Le Moyne on the map, as well as making the lacrosse program one to be respected all across the nation. Winning is great for the team, but the effects on the school are far greater than anyone could have imagined.

John Dolan, Le Moyne’s vice president for enrollment management, has certainly seen the difference already.

“The national championship is a source of pride that binds our community,” Dolan said. “Our head coach is a class act- and Dan [Sheehan] is so devoted to Le Moyne and his players that he inspires all of us to commit to the same level of excellence in what we do as individuals.”

Coach Dan Sheehan, who is entering his 17th season as Le Moyne’s head coach, has led his team with stellar leadership and knows that this victory is well-earned for both the program and the school.

“Winning a national championship for our program, especially in terms of recruiting, hopefully keeps us in the mind of every sophomore, junior or senior in high school that plays lacrosse,” Sheehan said.

Students and staff alike bonded over the championship, sharing in the celebration with the lacrosse team as a whole. Ultimately, the trophy may belong to Le Moyne, but this success has piqued interest in this small Jesuit institution for up-and-coming players across the state, region and country.

“High quality, visible and success are hallmarks of Dolphin athletics,” Dolan states. “We leverage this brand message when recruiting in our feeder high schools.”

“Recruiting is a large portion of my job here,” Sheehan said. “We look to continue bringing in the best talent that we can and playing on a stage like that [Lincoln Financial Field]. There’s an awful lot of people that have a chance to see us play, and I think that generates a ton of interest.”

By using the message of athletic success, Le Moyne is beginning to recruit heavily in the northeast region, and is also expanding into other areas of the country, striving to bring top players to their squad.

“Just ask Butler in Indiana if athletic success can lead to overall recruiting success,” Dolan said. “They will tell you it is extremely helpful.”

Sheehan already has seen the effects that championships have had on recruitment in other areas of the country. Currently, the Le Moyne lacrosse team has two students from outside the northeast region, including a freshman from Texas who chose Le Moyne after seeing them play in the 2007 National Championship.

“Honestly, you should see my inbox on a daily basis,” Sheehan said. “The interest we get is almost tough to keep up with. There are so many kids playing in the game at the high school level and below and it really narrows itself down when you get to the college level. There’s just not as many opportunities.”

Even with fewer opportunities at the Division II level, the college still is a program hoping to seek out more and more recruits early. With another championship under their belt, Le Moyne is climbing up the radar when it comes to smaller schools with strong athletic programs. The success of the past team, finishing the season with an 18-2 record, certainly plays a key role in attracting future athletes.

Despite having a strong head coach in Sheehan and a talented squad, the Dolphins also seek support in recruiting when it comes to alumni. Several alumni from the area attended the championship game in Philadelphia, which ultimately spreads the Le Moyne name across the northeast region.

“They encouraged Le Moyne to be a stronger recruiting institution in that region,” Dolan said of alumni. “As a result, and working with these alums, we have plans to take advantage of the free press the national championship gained for the college in that part of the region.”

Sheehan also added that he has received emails from Le Moyne alums after the championship victory, suggesting potential players for the next year’s squad, whether it is a relative or a talented athlete in their town. Alumni have played a key role in expanding Le Moyne’s recruitment across the country due to their excitement and dedication to the school, Sheehan said.

A Division II championship is not just about the trophy. It’s not all about the fame. It’s about bringing together an already small institution to become a tight knit community, especially when it comes to alumni and current students.

“We have alumni all over the nation, so if we can get one of our alumni, whether they played lacrosse or not, to get excited about our school, it sends a message to future students of what we’re about,” Sheehan said.

Le Moyne has been using the victory as a means for seeking more recruits to continue this stellar lacrosse program for years to come. Le Moyne may repeat as champions this upcoming year; and even if not, it certainly will use the sport as an advertisement for the sense of community and overall atmosphere the school has to offer.

So, now what happens? The answer is simple: Le Moyne is prepared to become a force to be reckoned with in Division II sports and across the nation.