February 1, 2013

All Eyes on Baum, Colgate to Face Big Expectations

Tewaaraton winner is LM's MD1 preseason player of year

by Matt Forman | LaxMagazine.com

"I love the attention. It's great for Colgate," said Peter Baum, LM's Division I men's preseason player of the year.
© Greg Wall

The lacrosse lights don't normally shine bright on Portland, Ore. — or Hamilton, N.Y., for that matter — so Peter Baum will have to get used to something new in 2013. All eyes on him.

Winning the Tewaaraton Award in 2012 made Baum the focus of national conversation. How will he handle the pressure, the publicity and the expectations?

"I love the attention. It's great for Colgate," Baum said. "When it comes down to playing the game, I rely on my athleticism, and that usually calms me down. In the end, it's all about what happens between the lines."

Born in Seattle and raised in Portland, Baum landed at Colgate, his parents' alma mater. Even though he led the Raiders in scoring as a freshman and sophomore, he was not considered an elite player. Colgate coach Mike Murphy knew better.

Three months after Murphy, a former Army assistant, escorted Jeremy Boltus to the Tewaaraton ceremony, he got the Colgate job. He called Baum to say he could take that stage.

"And Peter said, 'I'm not really worried about that. All I want to do is win,'" Murphy said. "At that point, I knew I was OK."

That was the first of several discoveries Murphy made about Baum. In the middle of Baum's Tewaaraton campaign and his chase for 100 points, Baum earned a 3.89 GPA as a geography major focusing on international economics and urban studies.

Baum's lacrosse IQ also impressed Murphy, who wasn't sure how being from the Pacific Northwest would affect Baum's understanding of the East Coast-centric sport. Murphy built a system around his star player, giving him the freedom to dodge from anywhere.

Baum was unanimously voted captain by his Colgate teammates.

"There will be days when you'll just be sitting around and Pete will say, 'Hey, I'm going to shoot,'" senior midfielder Matt Baker said. "You just kind of feel like, 'Pete's going to shoot. He's the best player on our team. I'm not doing anything. I need to do the same thing that Pete's doing to get better.'"

Baum said he gets antsy when he doesn't have a stick in his hand, almost to the point of being "self-conscious, knowing somewhere, somebody is always working." But after Baum puts the time into his craft, he lets his athleticism take over. That's how he relaxes on the lacrosse field.

"He's not cocky, but he just knows that he's the best player in the nation," Baker said.

All eyes on you, Peter Baum. We'll be watching.

This article appears in the February issue of Lacrosse Magazine, the flagship publication of US Lacrosse. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 400,000-plus members today to start your subscription.

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