CHS Lacrosse Moves to Athletic Department
Beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, the CHS Lacrosse program will be moved to the Athletic Department from the Activities Office.
As the lacrosse program has been transforming over the last few years, big changes really started last year with the hiring of Tyler Gray as the Head Coach. Coach Gray comes to the lacrosse program with a vast knowledge of the sport. Having grown up in the Washington, DC area, he was exposed to the sport at a young age, played in a competitive league in high school and then on to play in college at Denison University (OH), a top program at the Division III level. He has coached at three other schools in Louisiana. Yet, he describes lacrosse at Catholic High with an enthusiasm unlike any heí´s had at other schools. íÍLacrosse has more support at Catholic High than any other in the state of Louisiana. The support from the administration to the athletic department is amazing. It has and will be a privilege to work with CHS during this transition. Going forward, I have high expectations for our program,íñ said Gray.
Lacrosse started at Catholic High for the 2007 season, when a group of boys went to the administration with the idea. In that inaugural season, the Student Council purchased jerseys for the players and they played their first games. Since that first year, the lacrosse program has made the playoffs six times, with District Championships in 2014 and 2015. For the 2008 season, Catholic High became a founding member of the Louisiana High School Lacrosse League. At the time, there were only eight programs in the state. Today, there are 20 across the state, along with multiple youth programs. This growth further demonstrates lacrosse as the one of the fastest growing sports in America.
This past summer, for the first time, the players had mandatory weight lifting. They’ll return to the weight room in September and October, before starting Fall Ball in November. They will take December off and then start practicing for their season in January, with games starting in late January.
The CHS move has been taken as a big positive among current players. They have expressed excitement with the announcement. Senior defenseman Blaine Edmonson says, “Moving to the Athletic Department is a huge deal not only for my current teammates, but for the teams that will represent Catholic High in the future.” Another player, junior goalie Beau Abadie states, “Lacrosse becoming a sport at CHS not only means big things for us, but also for lacrosse in the state of Louisiana as a whole.” It was felt that the lacrosse players were not looked at like other athletes on campus. Senior defenseman Matthew Miller states, “The fact that lacrosse has been moved to the Athletic Department, is a great milestone for the organization and it is an opportunity to prove ourselves to the rest of the school.”
As with most sports, the biggest support for lacrosse comes from the parents of the players. According to Steve Carville ’76, “I think this positions the program to move to a higher level, both by more participation and improved recognition by the CHS family as a whole.” According to another parent and CHS Alumni, Peter Miller ’84, “The addition of lacrosse to Catholic High School’s Athletic Department further enhances the prestige of one of the finest high school athletic departments in the state. Coach Kelly’s leadership and vision, along with the support of our coaches, players and parents will help propel our program to championships!” Randy Young, the parent of a former player stated, “I’m pleased to see Catholic High continuing to take positive steps for its young men to be successful in this exciting and rapidly growing sport – – Lacrosse is fast becoming a major part of High School athletics across Louisiana and it provides great opportunities for young men to learn core values that are part of the fabric of a Catholic High education.”
The biggest excitement about the move has come from former players and coaches. As Jeff Echols, former CHS Lacrosse Head Coach and current LSU Lacrosse Head Coach said, “I was very pleased to hear that Catholic High made the decision to place the lacrosse program in the athletic department because it will certainly raise the bar of the student-athlete that will participate in the program.” This supports the efforts by the Catholic High community to give it’s students the best experience possible. Echols went on to say, “Catholic High strives for excellence and having the lacrosse program under athletics sends a message to other schools, the community and prospective participants, that lacrosse is being viewed as a sport and not just as a club organization. The success will come as Catholic will reach for higher goals and the performance will be at a higher level.” Justin David ’16, puts it as follows, “Lacrosse being moved into the athletic department is a huge move for the sport at CHS and for lacrosse in Louisiana. It is the fastest growing sport in America, and continues to flourish in Louisiana. It will incline more students to participate, and the opportunity for other schools to follow in CHS’s footsteps is a great lead to making lacrosse an even bigger sport in all of Louisiana.”
While there is excitement about the move, a big thank you is owed to the Activities Office and Janet Vidrine for all of the assistance they gave over the years. Their support helped create the energy that allowed the sport get to where it is today.
“Thanks to all that have worked so hard over the years to make this happen,” said Carville. Frank Vicari, ’74, summed up the moved to the athletic department best: “Way to go CHS!”