US Lacrosse Magazine has partnered with Blaxers Blog to produce a series of stories that illuminate the minority lacrosse experience and promote the accomplishments of those individuals who have defied stereotypes to succeed in the sport.

Read more about Blaxers Blog and the content partnership here.

"> Blaxers Blog: Bill Daye's Lacrosse Roots, Thoughts on Sport's Future | US Lacrosse Magazine

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

Blaxers Blog: Bill Daye's Lacrosse Roots, Thoughts on Sport's Future


US Lacrosse Magazine has partnered with Blaxers Blog to produce a series of stories that illuminate the minority lacrosse experience and promote the accomplishments of those individuals who have defied stereotypes to succeed in the sport.

Read more about Blaxers Blog and the content partnership here.

Showing humility and perseverance speaks volumes about one’s character. Legendary goalie and coach Bill Daye embodies these key traits as he reflects upon his illustrious career and committed service to the lacrosse community.

“Don’t take no for an answer,” Daye said. “Be the hardest working person in the room and have fun with whatever you choose to do.”

After graduating from North Carolina in the spring of 1993, Daye received several invitations to play post-collegiate club lacrosse. His senior year ended with an injury, and the final months of his collegiate career were “tough,” he said.

Once he settled into the post-collegiate club circuit, Daye made an impact. He first helped MAB Paints win the 1993 Vail Lacrosse Shootout Championship. MAB Paints is currently known as GMH Philadelphia LC.

Securing the 1993 Vail title reassured Daye that he was good enough to play and win at a high level.

A week later, Daye’s 16-save performance earned himself another championship, as he led the MR Ducks in the 1993 East End Cup tournament hosted at Southampton College.

“From a mental perspective, winning those titles was more important to me coming off an injury that made me miss my senior year,” Daye said.

In a postgame interview with Long Island’s Newsday, Daye described the East End Championship win as “a great way to find out that my neck injury is behind me.”

In 1994, Daye took his talents to the USCLA (United States Club Lacrosse Association) while playing for the storied Mount Washington Lacrosse Club and split time in goal with Towson great Dave Linthicum. Daye said that he missed the 1995 championship game against Long Island LC due to a meniscus tear that occurred versus MAB Paints the week prior.

Founded in 1960, the USCLA served as the top-tier level of post-collegiate lacrosse before the creation of professional outdoor lacrosse. Legends such as the Gait Brothers and David Pietramala competed against Daye on the summer circuit during their weekends solely for the love of the game.

These de facto professional teams included the esteemed likes of Mt. Washington LC, Brine LC, MAB Paints/GMH Philadelphia, Team Toyota, Lax World/DeWALT LC and NYAC.

Stacked rosters from the USCLA provided the framework for Major League Lacrosse to follow during the 2000 MLL Summer Showcase tour and the league’s launch in 2001.

The USCLA experienced a merger into the American Lacrosse League (ALL) in 2007.

Daye went on to be one of the most influential Black athletes in lacrosse history. In 2001, Daye and Brian Silcott became the first Black lacrosse players to play professional outdoor and indoor lacrosse.

In 2006, Daye and Silcott made history as the MLL’s first Black head coaches with the Boston Cannons and San Francisco Dragons, respectfully. And since 2017, Daye has been the Nike Team Category Sales Director for its Eastern Region operations.


“Don’t take no for an answer. Be the hardest working person in the room and have fun with whatever you choose to do.” — Bill Daye


Daye recently spoke with Blaxers Blog about his successful playing and coaching careers.

BILL DAYE

Hometown: Huntington, N.Y.
High School: Harborfields (N.Y.)
College: North Carolina (1990-93)

Notable Accolades:

  • 2011 MLL Coach of the Year (Boston Cannons)

  • 2011 MLL champion (Boston Cannons)

  • 2001 MLL All-Star (Boston Cannons)

  • 2001 MLL All-Pro (Boston Cannons)

  • 1996, 1999 USCLA First-Team (Brine LC)

  • 1996 USCLA Player of the Year (Brine LC)

  • 1991 NCAA champion

  • 1990-93 ACC champion

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PLAYING EXPERIENCE AT NORTH CAROLINA?

“It was an unbelievable experience. During that time, a few programs really dominated the sport: UNC, Syracuse and Johns Hopkins. A fourth championship contender varied from season to season.

“That group of men that I played with during my college experience became brothers to me. For that sake, I had a great three years and eight months. I say that because during my senior year I got hurt and that was a tough way to finish out.”

HOW DID IT FEEL TO WIN THE 1991 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP AS A PLAYER OF COLOR?

“I think that every athlete that goes on to compete at the collegiate level has a goal of winning a national championship.”

Daye and teammate Robert Azeke were the lone players of color on North Carolina’s 1991 NCAA title roster. To Daye, winning with Azeke as a backup goalie was a special moment visually for Black lacrosse fans as the game versus Towson was broadcast live on CBS.








HOW DID IT FEEL TO WIN THE 1996 USCLA PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD?

“It was bittersweet,” Daye said. “With any award, you got to be excited to win it. It was also the same year as the Team USA tryouts. My tryout unfortunately didn’t live up to my expectations.”

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCES IN THE MLL AND MILL/NLL?

“In field lacrosse, we’re told to attack the ball and move explosively,” Daye said. “Those techniques are what I teach my young goalies.

“In box lacrosse, you can’t move. You must play your angles while staying big in place. Box was a learning experience to say the least, and it humbled me even more.

“I emulated my game after one of my good friends, Sal LoCascio who was our starter [with the New York Saints]. Once I arrived in the last period, I got lit up. That’s when you go back to the field and ask yourself if you truly belong.

“I could’ve just hung it up but I kept working at it. It was tough because Boston lost their franchise as soon as I felt like I could start in the NLL. That was my short-lived box career.”

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE WINNING THE 2011 MLL CHAMPIONSHIP AS BOSTON CANNONS HEAD COACH?

“Winning the championship was rewarding and made me ecstatic. Having being part of the MLL since its inception as a member of the Boston Cannons throughout my career made us feel relieved.

“As an organization, it was great to win our first championship. I personally learned so much about myself and what it took to coach while developing relationships with high caliber players.

“Winning was an unbelievable feeling that can never be taken away.”




PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER


HOW CAN PROFESSIONAL LACROSSE DIVERSIFY ITS EXECUTIVE AND COACHING RANKS FURTHER?

“There needs to be more Black coaches and executives in the sport.

“Look at the PLL’s stance of equality from last season and the formation of the Black Lacrosse Alliance. I think creating something like that and seeing figures use their voices while going out into our communities to educate people of our sport is important.

“When those opportunities become available, we just need to make sure that the talent pool is fair and equitable in order for Black and other minority candidates to make an impression.”

HOW DID YOU TRANSITION INTO THE BUSINESS SIDE OF LACROSSE?

“My introduction into the sporting goods business took place in 1995 as I just finished coaching at Johns Hopkins. I got an opportunity to start with the Brine Company as a TECH Rep and moved up as a brand manager later in my career.

“Accepting that position meant packing up my belongings in Baltimore and moving back to New York with my parents for six months.

“My mom would drive me to all of my sporting events, gave me pep talks before leaving the car, and encouraged me after games.”

CAN YOU ELABORATE ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS CAREER WITH NIKE?

“Our goal is to put a swoosh on every athlete possible. I operate with an unbelievable team of hard workers who are like family to me. Working for a great brand helps me provide access to the sport for many communities.”

WHAT OUTREACH EXPERIENCES WERE THE FONDEST TO YOU?

“To be completely blunt, I wish that I could do more to help more youth lacrosse organizations. 

“When I worked for Brine in 2000, we were involved in MetroLacrosse’s inception with founder Zach Lehman and his team in Charlestown, Mass. It was beautiful watching the program blossom over the years.

“In light of everything that occurred within this past year, I think everyone who has a platform should find methods of giving back to the game that means so much to them.

“The biggest obstacle of lacrosse is the cost of equipment and other essential items. Our focus was to find ways to help our partners make the sport cost inclusive for financially disadvantaged communities.”

WHY IS IT SO IMPERATIVE TO GIVE BACK TO THE SPORT?

“You want to see the sport continue growing and see opportunities for Black lacrosse players of all genders. When I first started playing, I was told that lacrosse wasn’t a sport for us.

“We must continue to break down barriers and provide access to communities by any means necessary. While I’m still here on this Earth, I want to do whatever I can for lacrosse.

“Lacrosse has done so much for me personally. I want to help pave the way for future Black All-Americans.”