November 11, 2010

US Lacrosse National Convention Speakers Boast Broad Backgrounds

by Matt DaSilva | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff | "Countdown to Convention"


John Danowski, fresh off an NCAA championship, will present "Duke Lacrosse: Lessons Learned" at the 2011 US Lacrosse National Convention in Baltimore.

© Jon Gardiner

US Lacrosse on Thursday unveiled speakers and schedules for the 2011 USL National Convention, presented by Champion -- a slate that includes presentations by three coaches who led teams to NCAA championships in 2010.

(Coaches Schedules: Men | Women)

John Danowski, who led Duke to its first NCAA Division I men's lacrosse title in his fourth season at the helm in Durham, will present, "Duke Lacrosse: Lessons Learned." Danowski took over the Blue Devils in summer 2006 amidst rape allegations against three former players that ultimately proved false. This year's championship team included seven fifth-year seniors who were freshmen at the time.

Cathy Reese, who led Maryland to a remarkable comeback in the NCAA Division I women's lacrosse final to dethrone Northwestern, will present a session on team defense.

Mike Daly, who led Tufts to its first NCAA title in any team sport with a win over Salisbury in the NCAA Division III men's lacrosse championship game, has also committed to speak at the convention. Joining him is Sea Gulls head coach Jim Berkman, the all-time winningest coach in NCAA men's lacrosse history who fell just short of a ninth national title.

Those aren't the only headliners, as the US Lacrosse National Convention annually boasts the sport's largest gathering of coaches, officials, program administrators and exhibitors. USL also announced Thursday that six-time Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee will be the keynote speaker.

Here are five more reasons to book your trip to Baltimore now.


David Metzbower and Dave Slafkosky are two of the most respected minds in the game who only recently left the NCAA Division I ranks due to turnover in the coaching carousel.

"Metzy" was Bill Tierney's top assistant at Princeton for 20 years, crafting unstoppable offenses and great goalkeepers, including recent Hall of Fame inductee Scott Bacigalupo. When Tierney made the ballyhooed move west to become the new coach at Denver after six NCAA titles, Metzbower turned down an opportunity to become Princeton's head coach. He'll provide an undoubtedly fresh perspective to the recruiting seminar that also includes Daly, John Nostrant, Bill Lee and Chuck Reubling (moderator).

"Slaf" won't be on the Maryland sidelines this spring for the first time in 28 years. Instead, he'll start a new job as guidance counselor and lacrosse coach at Mount St. Joseph High School in Baltimore. He was not retained as the Terrapins' defensive coordinator when John Tillman replaced Dave Cottle. "I think in January when they jump in and start, that'll be a different time," he said in the summer. "In January, I'll be hedging at the bit since we can't start until somewhere in February." A master at molding defenses, Slafkosky will present a demonstration on clearing.

Former Towson coach Carl Runk, who led the Tigers to a 261-161 record in 31 years at the helm, will also be on hand to share defensive philosophies.


Ask a novice or even semi-experienced coach what his or her weakness is, and you'll likely hear about goalkeeping and faceoffs. USL's got the fix, convention sessions featuring: Sal LoCascio, arguably the greatest goalie of all time; Denise Wescott, whose innovative approaches have become a popular staple of the women's lacrosse goalkeeping community; Brett Queener, whose entertaining style in and out of the cage has helped redefine the position; Amy Altig, a goalie and fixture in the U.S. women's national team system; Chris Eck, the Boston Cannons' and U.S. training team faceoff specialist who dominates despite having diabetes; and Nolan Godfrey and David Jenkins, both former MLL faceoff men.


Sure, it's US Lacrosse, but the Canadian influence on the American field game demands that coaches be versed in matters of box lacrosse. That's why you see names like Team Canada and Toronto Nationals head coach Dave Huntley ("Lacrosse by the Numbers") and Tom Marechek ("Stick Work and Shooting Drills"), as well as presentations like "Developing the Box/Field Hybrid Player" by former Denver coach Jamie Munro.


While many coaches can mind their Xs and Os, not all have the appropriate background in strength and conditioning programs. That's why guys like Jay Dyer and Rashad Devoe have jobs. Dyer has helped tone top lacrosse players at Johns Hopkins for years. Devoe's speed and agility training tips, among other fitness-related matters, appear on the pages of Lacrosse Magazine each month.

Prefer mind over matter? That's OK, too. Renowned sports psychologist Greg Dale from Duke will talk about mental toughness.

Speaking of "Gym Rats," the theme of LM's November issue the last two years, you'll also find former fitness subject, Northwestern All-American and current U.S. women's national team player Danielle Spencer unveiling her secrets for beating defenders one-on-one.


Jen Adams might just be the best clinician in the game, men or women. She's the most celebrated player in the history of women's lacrosse and now pays it forward as the head coach of Loyola University. Her demonstration on "Working the 8" will surely be a crowd pleaser.

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