Head Coach John Paul is in his third season at the helm of Michigan‘s newly established Division I men’s lacrosse program. Coach Paul has been with Michigan since the 80’s as a player and then as a coach. Before making the transition to Division I, he coached the University of Michigan men’s club lacrosse team for 14 seasons. He amassed a 241-44 record and appeared in the MCLA national tournament 13 consecutive seasons. Under his tenure Michigan developed a winning culture and claimed 3 straight MCLA championships from 2008-2011. On June 17, 2013, Paul was inducted into the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame Michigan Chapter for his contributions to the game of lacrosse in the state of Michigan.
In his long tenure with Michigan Coach Paul has built an elite culture around the lacrosse program. He looks for players that demonstrate a sense of commitment, a high lacrosse IQ, and a team-first attitude. Players should view their time at Michigan as an opportunity to give back to the program and uphold its growing reputation as a powerhouse program.
What advice do you have for players interested in playing Division I lacrosse?
Players need to understand what type of commitment they’re making when they play Division I. As an athlete, your priority is fitness and improving your lacrosse skills. It’s a significant time commitment but young players should really take advantage of this opportunity to compete at the highest level.
What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?
We need to see them play because we identify kids at younger and younger ages. Players should be at events that we attend so we can see them live. We can get a better sense for their athletic abilities and lacrosse skills in order to move forward in the process.
We also rely on trusted resources such as club and high school coaches. In a normal day we recieve 100 or more emails from prospective recruits so we need to look to our trusted coaches for insight.
What’s a question, specific to Michigan, you wished players asked you more during the recruiting process?
A lot of recruits ask what Michigan can do for them. I think they should be asking themselves what they can do for Michigan. They have an opportunity to help grow the program and help the program compete at an elite level. I think it’s very impressive when a recruit asks this type of question.
What type of player do you look for–raw athlete or refined lacrosse player?
It’s always a combination of both. Athleticism separates kids on the field but lacrosse skills definitely make younger players stand out. With accelerated recruiting we find lacrosse IQ and stick skills are the best indicators of a player’s potential. Most kids can catch up later on in terms of athletics.
What is special about being a student-athlete at Michigan?
Michigan combines big-time athletics with elite academics and also has a huge alumni base. Very few schools offer such a strong combination of those three qualities. The atmosphere is incredible. As an athlete you’re surrounded by future professional and Olympic athletes. As a student, you’re surrounded by Rhodes Scholars and Pulitzer Prize caliber students.
Some final thoughts from Coach Paul
As an emerging program we spent the first two years building an elite, competitive culture at Michigan. Now that we’re in our third season we’re acting on our efforts. It’s all about winning lacrosse games as an elite program should.
My name is Gage Mersereau, I am the co-founder of ConnectLAX and wanted to add a special note. I played Michigan multiple times as a club lacrosse player at Indiana University (08′) and know some of the players on the team.
I have the utmost respect for Coach John Paul and what he has done with that program. It pains me to say this as a Hoosier, but the stability and professionalism he provided as a coach was the envy of our team and likely the MCLA.
Captains and coaches come and go. Every wants to leave a legacy. Even as an opposing player, it was more than obvious that he was building a stable foundation and lasting legacy for his program.
ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Michigan University.