We had a chance recently to speak with the Florida Institute of Technology Panthers head coach Ryan McAleavey.
Florida Tech has over 3500 students on their 130 acre campus in Melbourne.Â They currently compete in 17 inter-collegiate sports and are adding lacrosse next year and will begin football in 2013.
IFL â€“ Coach, building a new NCAA program from the ground up sounds like a huge job.Â What have you been working on and what are some of the milestones you have reached thus far?
RM â€“ I have been spending a lot of time promoting our program, getting the word out, doing PR.Â I have also been working to secure our home fields for games.Â We will be playing at our soccer stadium on campus as well as on the turf at Melbourne Central Catholic HS.Â They have been great and willing to work with us over there.Â Also the best part of my job right now is getting to talk lacrosse with tons of different people from all over the country.Â You can also throw in checking out all of the new lacrosse equipment and trying to figure out what we are going to order for our guys, designing our uniforms and helmets has been a blast, pretty much everything.Â
IFL â€“ How has the recruiting been going?
RM â€“ We got a bit of a late start with this class since I was hired in August.Â We were originally going to play one season of club ball and then go varsity, but we have decided to go varsity right away.Â We are looking for 24 athletes in this first class.Â We have been recruiting in 14 states and two Canadian provinces.Â I have quite a few commitments but I am still looking for more.Â I have spoken with kids here in Florida, Idaho, Wisconsin, all over.Â We are not just looking for kids from traditional hot bed areas. I have really been looking for Florida talent; I want to build the program around Florida kids.
IFL â€“ How are you doing most of the recruiting and how does a beautiful campus on the beach here in Florida help that process?
RM â€“ Most of the players who are looking at us are interested in our program and our academic opportunities, but the location doesnâ€™t hurt.Â We had a kid come down from Indianapolis and it was 10 degrees when he left home and he arrived in 70 degree and sunny weather.Â I have been using mailing lists, contacting coaches, attending high school events, meet-n-greets, and of course I was at many of the tournaments this fall.Â I do however rely heavily on potential student-athletes contacting me first.Â Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport and it is impossible for me to find every available recruit in every state, so contacting me is very important if you are interested in Florida Tech.Â
IFL â€“ What does a potential recruit need to know about the academic requirements at Florida Tech?
RM â€“ Generally we are looking for a 3.0 GPA and a 1000 SAT student.Â But there is a sliding scale. There has been a big misconception that Florida Tech takes only the elite of the elite, and although we aspire for all of our students to be top performers, they donâ€™t all start from there.Â We at Florida Tech are determined to assist the student-athlete in reaching their potential and have various resources to help our students.Â The admissions department here has been great.Â They are committed to giving all potential students fair consideration.Â
IFL â€“ If there is an uncommitted high school senior out there who wants to play for Florida Tech, what steps should they take.
RM â€“ They should contact me either by phone or email and introduce themselves, and then they can fill out the recruit questionnaire on our website.Â
IFL â€“ Do you have any events or camps coming up at Florida Tech?
RM â€“ Yes, we are hosting our first summer camp the week of June 13-June 17.Â We will have two sessions per day.Â From 9:00 -3:30 we will be working with 3rd – 8th graders and then from 5:30-8:00 we will be working with 9th -12th graders.Â We will be putting registration information up at FloridaTechSports.com soon.Â You can go to www.FloridaTechSports.com and under the â€œInside Athleticsâ€ tab click camps and clinics and it will bring you to our camps page.
IFL â€“ Is there anything else you think our readers should know about you or your program?
RM â€“ Yes, I want people to know that I am committed to building this program around Florida kids.Â I think that within five years people are going to regard Florida as another â€œhotbedâ€ of lacrosse talent.
Thanks to Coach McAleavey for making himself available to us and we at FloridaLacrosseNews.com wish he and the Panthers the best of luck!