I am a member of the U.S. Foreign Service where I serve as an engineer building and/or renovating U.S. Embassies. I have been in Berlin since 2015 supervising the renovation of the Clayallee Compound and served in the U.S. military in Karlsruhe, Germany from 1987 to 1990. When not overseas, I call Virginia my home. Growing up, I was fortunate to begin playing lacrosse at the age of 15. I played at Robinson High School in Fairfax, Virginia and then at the Virginia Military Institute in college. IOver the course of my lacrosse career, I have been fortunate to play under some top coaches: Clive Van Orden (Hall of Fame player), Jack Emmer, Mike Pressler, and Doug Bartlett (whose youngest daughter, Maiah Bartlett, is coaching lacrosse in Frankfurt). I started playing as a midfield in high school but also played attack and long stick midfield (man down) in college. I was also a faceoff specialist at the high school and collegiate level. Lacrosse has remained a key part of my life since finishing school but primarily in the capacity as a referee. I have served as a youth, high school, and college (club) referee in Virginia and Florida as well as an FIL official in Finland. I had a brief coaching experience for girls lacrosse while posted to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. My five children have all played or playing lacrosse and my wife has been known to pick up a stick to throw every now and then.
How did you get in contact with BHC and why do you enjoy coaching?
My two oldest sons starting playing for BHC 2 years ago. BHC had a coaching vacancy at the start of last season (2017-18) so I offered to serve as the coach.
What is the biggest difference between german and american lacrosse?
The development of the game. Back in the mid-1970s to mid-1980s, lacrosse in the U.S was primarily limited to Maryland (Baltimore area) and New York (Long Island and Upstate). High schools that offered lacrosse tended to be private or prep schools. At the college level, lacrosse was limited to East Coast schools. Similar to Germany today, lacrosse in the U.S. had to initially rely heavily on clubs to get players started in the game. Also, the MLL did not exist in that time frame so there was a vibrant men’s lacrosse club system that attracted players after college. So, German lacrosse today is developing similar to the U.S. but it will take a number of years to grow the game and the general level of playing. I wouldn’t completely consider this a significant difference so much as the time it take for a new area to pick-up lacrosse. Given the sports nature of German, I anticipate the German public will accept lacrosse as they learn more about it. That said, without German colleges and high schools fielding sports teams, lacrosse in Germany will remain club based.
What is your approach to teach the game? How do you teach lacrosse?
Having played and officiated for many years, I would have to say that coaching is a challenge. We have a variety of experience levels at BHC. So, as coach, I try to assess the needs of the various players will also trying to introduce team concepts. Development of solid stick skills and emphasis of team play (offence and defense) remain priorities.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for a coach in Germany?
Player participation. As a club sport, players having many competing commitments whether it be school, work, or family. Thankfully, at BHC, we have a large group of players so if someone is out , we usually have enough players to scrimmage 6 on 6 or even 10 on 10. I always feel bad when I meet another team that only has 10 players. As much as it is nice to win, from a development perspective, it is more important to see players and teams develop into solid teams. I almost would prefer to see teams cross level for some games as the players would get more playing time and the skill level would be greater.
Would you say being coachable is the most important characteristic of a good player? If not, which one?
Yes, having a positive and open attitude is very important as those traits usually result in a coachable player. Also, it is easy for players to get into a routine of how they play. I think it is important to try new things to expand a player’s level of expertise, resulting in great confidence on the field.
What your favorite part about Germany?
I love the fact that Germany has adopted lacrosse. When I served in Karlsruhe, we had many officers that had played lacrosse in the U.S. We used to get a lot of funny looks when we were out throwing the lacrosse ball in a park. Now, I see players on bikes, U-bahns, etc. carrying lacrosse gear just like you would see in the U.S. I also love the enthusiasm of the players. Lacrosse in the U.S. is excessively competitive due to the desire for players to get college scholarships. Since lacrosse is club based, the players in Germany have a true love for the game and can continue to play for their club for many years. This is quite evident by the comradery I see amongst my team as well as the comradery the players have for other teams.
Posted by DLAXN