This week we chat with RIT Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach, Jake Coon. His Tigers currently boast a 15-0 record and are no. 1 in the USILA DIII poll. Coach Coon has amassed a 68-13 record in only four years at the helm of the RIT men’s lacrosse program. In that time the Tigers appeared in four straight NCAA Tournaments, including a trip to the National Championship in 2013.
When it comes to the recruiting process, Coach Coon believes players need to demonstrate initiative and be proactive in order to find the best fit school. If a player works hard and is willing to be coached, then Coach Coon can find a role for that player on his team. Finally, there’s a lot of competition throughout college lacrosse. Young players need to become dynamic players that always look to refine their skill set.
What advice do you have for players interested in playing Division III lacrosse?
When considering Division III schools young players have a lot of options both academically and athletically. They need to do their homework. Find out what majors a school offers and see if the academics match their needs.
Aside from a Division III label, you are still going to play high level lacrosse. It’s very competitive and demanding. RIT often scrimmages and beats Division I programs in the off season.
What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?
Be proactive with emails and phone calls. We typically want to see a recruit play over their fall and summer seasons. Again, be proactive. We like young men who reach out to us and express their interest.
Yes, the coach has some responsibility to recruit the player, but in the end players should initiate and maintain contact throughout their recruiting process.
What type of player do you look for… raw athlete or refined lacrosse player?
It really depends on our current team. If we’re losing 4 midfielders, then we’ll look for 2 offensive and 2 defensive midfielders. We generally try to match our needs.
Our players tend to be grinders. They’re very skilled as well. Being physical off-ball and having a scrappy mindset is important for us. If a player is willing to be coached, then we can find a role for them.
What areas of development would you recommend players focus on to compete at the Division III level?
Players should get out of their comfort zone. Become dynamic players. Many kids come into college with only one hand. An attackman that masters the question mark dodge, for example, should look to develop another move. Defensive players who are really good at ground balls should look to improve their footwork or other areas of their game. Always be thinking, “What’s next?”
How has the accelerated recruiting landscape affected your approach to recruiting?
We try not to let it affect us. We do get early commitments and we also pick up kids late in the process who are very talented. During the season I don’t do much recruiting at all.
Some final thoughts from Coach Coon:
There’s a lot of parity in college lacrosse. We see a lot of great teams and a lot of great, developing programs each year. The competition remains very high among all college teams, even those that aren’t ranked. Our cross town rival, Nazareth, isn’t ranked but they still play us close each time we meet.
Bottom line, if you have talent you can find a home in the lacrosse world.
ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Rochester Institute of Technology or Jake Coon.