Everyone is asking, “What is going on with the Ivy League?” And this time, it’s not because they cancelled their season. No, the Ivy League is on a roll this September having landed 40 of the nation’s top recruits in the first 3 weeks. By comparison, that is nearly as many as the ACC and Big Ten combined!
I caught up with Coach Andy Towers, (Brown Alumni and past Head Coach of Dartmouth) fresh off his world championship with the Chaos and asked him his thoughts on Ivy League recruiting. Coach Towers knows the Ivy, knows the players, and most importantly, Coach Towers knows life.
“AT” is a big, cool, dude. A dad, a tireless coach, and positive force in the world.
One might think that missing two seasons of play would be a real “kick in the donkey” to the recruiting efforts of the Ivy. However, the exact opposite has happened.
Such success begs questions that deserve answers–and some inside perspective.
Coach Towers got right to the point. Almost as if he was explaining to me how 1+2=3. (He even spoke slowly and loudly enunciating consonants as he spoke! It was brilliant.)
Towers: “If kids want their first-choice internship, first-choice job, then where are they going to go? Smart College or Lacrosse State?”
Towers: “The PLL and NLL are awesome places to land. But until these players are getting 7-figure deals to play pro lacrosse, the best high school prospects in the country will see the long-term value in leveraging lacrosse to get into the best colleges.”
He said it beautifully and with power, but it is not a new concept. This year’s recruiting cycle has seen some ACC and Big10 prototype guys go Ivy. Is there a changing of the guard at the top?
Towers: “Heading into Covid, the Ivy was a 4-bid league (suggesting 4 Ivy league schools would make the year-end championship tournament field of 16). 3 Tewaaraton winners have come from the Ivy in recent years (Reeves, Malloy, Pannell) and the world’s #1 player, Tom Schreiber, is a Princeton alum.”
Towers: “The Ivy League coaches know how to sell the Ivy-option. With more kids playing at a high level and meeting the academic standards needed by the guys in admissions, its not surprising to see the success they are having.”
Public Service Announcement: Great Grades + “Top-66” Lacrosse Skills = Ivy League Option
Coach Chris Bates, Dartmouth graduate, former Princeton Coach, Current Coach of the PLL’s Archers, and HC at The Episcopal Academy, said it this way about the Ivy League
“You want kids that bet on themselves; Ivy League kids don’t take the easy path”
– Coach Bates, Archers
Bates: “I’m not surprised at the success the Ivies are having. It was very premature to suggest that Covid killed the Ivy League. Our sport is different than football and basketball. It will always feed the Ivies.”
Bates: “There is so much more opportunity today in lacrosse than years past. Be a great student, a person of high character and doors will open for you.”
Bates: “Look at Hanley at Penn or Dobson at Notre Dame, these guys are huge. Penn a few years ago had guys that were 6’4”, 6’5”, and 6’6” all on the same midfield line. Big and smart is good thing to be these days in lacrosse. And yet, lacrosse opportunities are still there for the 5’8” guy- its what makes the sport and college so special.”
Bates: “Now kids from non-hotbed areas are landing on lacrosse rosters everywhere. The sport has opened up and the success off the field and after college is what an Ivy League experience is known for.”
The Ivy League plan is simple: Great Scholars, Great People, Great Athletes, Great Lacrosse Players. Result: Great Opportunity.
Coach Madalon, Princeton: “Princeton is the #1 University in the world. Its important that our lacrosse program reflect the significance of the University”
#1 ranked Defenseman, Hunter Speiss, leads a Princeton class of commits including #3 Midfielder Tucker Wade, #7 Midfielder Brody Upton, #15 Midfielder Carson Krammer (That is some serious beef in the midfield). Offensive talents include A/M #5 Mark Marino and #12 A/M Colin Burns. Colin Vickery (goalie) and Jacob Todd (attack) round out the first 8 recruits for the Tigers. Princeton has not won the Championship since 2001 when they won all three tournament games by just 1 goal including an OT 10-9 final over Syracuse (Notables from that game: Michael Powell 2 goals, Ryan Boyle 3 assists, Trevor Tierney 14 saves, and BJ Prager with 4 goals including the OT winner).
Coach Madalon, Princeton: “The Ivy League is such an impressive lacrosse league. Our sport is a sport that has always valued education and Princeton provides the best all-around D-1 experience.”
Coach Madalon, Princeton: “Its not that the kids are getting smarter and just getting better grades. The whole culture of the sport has shifted. There is no longer a lax-bro attitude. People are more aware of mental health, spiritual health, nutrition, the mind, and the whole body. Players and students today are driven by the perspective of being a complete human-athlete.”
“Players and students today are driven by the perspective of being a complete human-athlete”
-Coach Madalon, Princeton University
LPG Note: Notable Princeton Alumni include Presidents John F. Kennedy, Woodrow Wilson, and James Madison, the founder of Amazon and CEO of Google, Former First Lady Michelle Obama, Supreme Court Justices, Governors, Astronauts, The Queen of Jordan (and “Erin Hannon” from The Office…)
Dartmouth has already committed 6 great players in the first 3 weeks. Midfielder Eli Goldstein, Defensemen Andrew Klis, Mac O’Neil, and David Sullivan, LSM Luke Lowery and Attackman Luke Meyer. Finding and committing such outstanding talent from Florida, New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire is impressive.
Coach Conners, Dartmouth: “We are recruiting at a high-level right now due to our upgraded facilities including a brand new indoor facility, organization, plan in the recruiting process, and a record breaking commitment from our alumni.”
Coach Conners, Dartmouth: “We feel as if the ivy league is what the SEC is to football. It’s where kids go to be successful at the next level, not just in pro-lacrosse but in the job market as well.”
“The Ivy League is what the SEC is to Football“
-Coach Conners, Dartmouth
LPG Note: Notable Dartmouth Alumni include executives and/or founding members of Nike, PayPal, DoorDash, Microsoft, eBay, Oracle, Tinder, Major League Baseball, IBM, and Goldman Sachs, Coach Chris Bates. (and “Kelly Kapoor” from The Office…)
Anthony Annunziata, (stud FOGO off the Island), Goalie Matthew Tully, Defenseman George Lacombe, and Attackman TJ Lamb lead Cornell’s 2023 class out of the gates this Fall. The Big Red get it done in the middle of the field.
Coach Buczek, Cornell: “The Ivy League allows top prospective student athletes to compete for championships and receive a world class education. That paired with the tradition of our program allows us to be successful with some of the most highly sought after student athletes in the country.”
Coach Buczek, Cornell: “At Cornell, we are ultimately looking for the right fit. We feel that our culture and University resonates with the right type of people. We’ve been fortunate to find those fits with student-athletes that want to compete at the highest level in everything they do.”
LPG Note: Notable Cornell Alumni include Adolph Coors (Coors Brewing Co), Co-Founders of Burger King, an enormous list of CEO’s and international executives, Bill Maher, Governors, Judges, Heads of State, Glenn “Pop” Warner, and dozens of professional coaches and professional athletes… and Gary Bettman, the commissioner of and the most despised man in the NHL. Did you know that no Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup since Bettman became the “Mish” in 1993? (Andy Bernard from The Office, “graduated” from Cornell)
St. Anthony’s, “The Harvard of Long Island”, has committed three already to Cambridge. #6 Attackman Jack Speidell, #10 Midfielder Michael Smyth, #13 Midfielder Jackson Greene, and Defenseman Max McCarthy. Joining them is Midfielder Jack Peterson, and Defenseman Tyler Mininno. That is an amazing start to anchor a great locker room!
Coach Byrne, Harvard: “As the home to the most prestigious academic campuses in higher education, events like the pandemic remind us all that the lessons learned and leadership developed within the Ivy League is needed even more in times of crisis.”
Coach Byrne, Harvard: “For nearly 400 years as a College, and over 140 years as a lacrosse program Harvard has been committed to athletic excellence while developing the best & brightest so it is not surprising at all that our league and Harvard in particular is having success on the recruiting trails.”
“No virus can adversely effect the place or position that the Ivy League holds in our culture.”
-Coach Byrne, Harvard
LPG Note: Notable Harvard Alumni include… 8 US Presidents and way too many other really cool people to list…check it out. (“Ryan Howard” and “Karen Filipelli” from The Office)
“The only time I set the bar low is for limbo. Always keep the bar raised no matter what.” – Michael Scott