When the news broke on July 30 that John Carroll University would officially be upgrading lacrosse from a club sport to a Division III athletics team, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Since the announcement was made just over four months ago, the JCU athletic department has been in search of, and has now found, the team’s next head coach.
Brian Small, a 2005 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, was named the first varsity lacrosse coach in Blue Streaks history on Monday night.
“It is a rare opportunity to be the first anything, so I am very excited to be the first coach in the history of varsity men’s lacrosse at John Carroll University,” said Small. “With the academic standards and athletic tradition in place here, I really felt this would be a good fit for me.”
A four-year letterwinner for the Ohio Wesleyan Battling Bishops from 2002-2005, Small helped his team win four consecutive North Coast Athletic Conference titles as well as four appearances in the NCAA Tournament. The Baltimore native was also twice selected to First Team All-NCAC while leading the conference in ground balls. Small also was selected as an NCAA United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) All-American team as well as being chosen to participate in the North South Senior All-Star Game.
“Brian provides the right mix of experiences in collegiate lacrosse and the enthusiasm for building the program here at John Carroll,” said JCU athletic director Laurie Massa. “He has worked hard to develop as a coach and recruiter, and his connections in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions will serve us well. We are excited to have him join our staff in our pursuit of championship lacrosse.”
Before arriving at John Carroll, Small spent the last two seasons as the defensive coordinator for the lacrosse team at Quinnipiac University. Small also spent the 2009-10 season as the offensive coordinator at Sacred Heart University and spent the season before that as an assistant coach at his alma mater. While at Sacred Heart, Small’s duties included assisting with recruiting, scouting, practice planning and fundraising.
“It is important to get the John Carroll name out in the lacrosse circles, to let people know we have a program, and that our commitment to academics and athletics provides an ideal place to continue playing lacrosse while pursuing a college degree,” said Small. “I want us to compete for conference championships and ultimately play our way into NCAA tournaments. To establish ourselves as a perennial power in the region as well as the country is something we should aspire to as a program.”
Massa also noted that Small’s tenure as head coach will begin immediately.