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Excitement Abounds as New JU Coaching Staff Hosts Prospect Day

Written by Lee Roggenburg on . Posted in .
Above – New JU Coaches John Galloway and Casey Powell I made the trip up the JU to check out newly minted Head Coach, John Galloway, and his assistant, a guy named Casey Powell.  The pair was hosting their first prospect day at JU.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I had never met Coach Galloway before but I new he was young for a D1 Head Coach (27).  Just hours before, as the goalie for the Rochester Rattlers, he had held Casey scoreless in his final home appearance for the Launch.  Casey has one game left as he winds down a hall of fame playing career that rivals some of the greatest professional careers across all sports. Questions I had included;  Is Galloway ready for this? With only four years of experience at Providence?  Is Casey really into this?  Are there going to be true “prospects” here or some kids looking for autographs? The answers started coming into focus as I approached DB Mine field.  Assistant coach Powell had the 50 prospects out on the field going through warmups.  Head Coach Galloway was in full professional head coach/recruiter mode, holding court with about a hundred parents.  He laid out his vision for JU lacrosse and his plan to get there.  He is extremely well spoken and comfortable.  He then answered questions from parents until they ran out of questions.  My first impression was that this guy knows what he’s doing and Casey was out there working is tail off in the 95+ degree heat.  He is definitely into this. Out on the field his offensive coordinator had things going full blast and when Galloway joined him it ticked up another notch.  For the next three hours this didn’t look like two of the countries most famous lacrosse players out there running a glorified clinic.  This was a serious Division 1 program putting prospects through the paces and trying to find a few guys who can help build a program.  I began to just jot down words that came to mind.  Pace.  It was fast.  Everything was done full speed and they went from drill, to drill.  Accountability. “If you drop a ball or make a bad pass I don’t want to hear ‘My Bad.’  We know it’s your bad.  Just fix it.”  Competition.  Everything is a competition, it was amazing how much the level of play increased when the loser of the “drill” had to do pushups.  Intense.  Players where shown what they were expected to do and then they were expected to perform…and they did.  Professional.  This was serious business.  These guys weren’t out there doing stick tricks and entertaining “campers.”  These guys handled themselves like the pros they are and the players who made the trip to JU were serious prospects and the coaches gave them the respect of treating them like it. It was awesome to watch Casey Powell, a guy who is arguably the greatest player in the game, preaching the basics.  Stick in the box – triple threat position.  Keep your head up.  Don’t plod through the drill for the sake of completing the drill – you are preparing for the big moment.  Do it as hard as you can a hundred times during the week so when it happens in a game you are ready.  Hustle hard through the ground balls.  Keep in mind kids, those things aren’t just important during your youth lacrosse years.  That is how champions win championships. After a solid two plus hours of drills ranging from individual skills to one on ones, two on ones, and situational play there was about forty five minutes of live action scrimmage.  After it was all over current JU players rounded up the prospects and took them on campus tours and I got a chance to speak with the new Head Coach. His first priority is to identify the culture of his program.  He is looking forward to learning about the guys on his team and begin to “build our culture that we will sustain for years, not just for this season.” Priority number two is to “identify the soft spots on our roster and get aggressive with our transfers and our recruiting to fit the pieces of the puzzle we need to compete for SOCON championships.” And finally, “Identify the strenghts of the campus, look at the facilities, and make this a premeir option for lacrosse kids to come down to florida and play.” He was happy to already have his staff coming together.  Ryan Liebel, who worked with him a Providence, has joined the staff.  He is handling midfield, face off, and most importantly, he is the grinder that can hit the road and act as recruiting coordinator.  North Florida’s Andrew Keller has also joined the team. These guys are excited about the opportunity they have in front of them and they should be.  Casey appeared to be truly ready and excited to move onto the next phase of his lacrosse career.  He knows what he has accomplished and is rightfully proud of it, but when I asked him if is ready to move on and leave the playing days behind he had no doubts. Galloway is a very “up tempo” kind of guy.  He’s upbeat and confident.  He knows he can do this job.  I think the best quote I heard  was a kid saying, “JU is going to be really good in a couple of years…everyone wants to come here.”  Certainly being a coaching staff everyone wants to go play for can’t hurt the recruiting.