Recruiting Insight with Hartwick College Assistant Coach Henry La Sala

One aspect a recruit looks for when joining a school is the state of the coaching staff.  As a young man, it’s important to find a coaching staff that cares about your future but also knows how to work well together themselves.  Hartwick College is a school that comes to mind when you think of a well put together coaching staff as they have a very unique quality, which is two brothers working the sideline together.  Henry LaSala, one of the two brothers on the staff, serves as assistant coach of Hartwick College.

Coach LaSala is entering his 2nd year as a member of the Hartwick coaching staff.  Success has followed LaSala throughout his career as prior to joining Hartwick, he served as an assistant coach on numerous top ranked Adrian College teams.

We sat down with Coach LaSala to learn more about the up and coming Hartwick program as well as what players stand out on his recruiting radar. Some players might think being a specialist is what gets you into college, but Coach LaSala tells players otherwise as he and the rest of the Hartwick staff value versatility over anything.

What advice do you have for players interested in Division III schools?

Figure out what you want criteria wise.  What do you want to study, do you want a big school, near a city or a town setting?  Once you figure those questions out, visit as many schools as possible that fit your criteria.  Don’t close the door because maybe a team didn’t do as well the year before but you might find something that you won’t expect or will entice you when you do make a visit.

What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?

Email us with a video.  Spark our interest that way and keep us updated as to where you will be playing as we keep a pretty good job of getting out and seeing the guys that do email and come in touch with us.

What type of players do you primarily look for, a raw athlete or refined lacrosse player?

Right now we’re leaning more towards a raw athlete.  We look for guys that can fill more than one role as we’re getting away from the specialized mindset of lacrosse.  We don’t necessarily need a specific player, but rather a guy who is athletic enough who comes in as an attackmen but can fill the role as a midfielder.  Or a face-off guy who is confident staying on the field after the face-off. We want versatile guys who can fill more than one role for us.

What areas of player development would you recommend players focus on to elevate their game?

Biggest thing is I think is getting tougher.  There are so many events out there that kids are playing so much lacrosse that it’s hard to keep the competitive level up.  A guy who is tough stands out from the crowd at all of the various lacrosse tournaments and events.

We look at which guys are playing hard and working hard, but not just necessarily on the ball. We want guys who are working hard away from the ball, whether that be recovering on defense or working hard to support the ball on offense.  We want guys who are competing at all times on the field.

What is special about playing at Hartwick College?

Best thing is about Hartwick is that we offer an opportunity to play right away. We’re a brand new coaching staff, going into our 2nd year.  We’re recruiting our first fully recruited class this year so the opportunity to play right away is a realistic opportunity with us.

Also, our conference, the Empire Eight is one of the top Division III conferences.  Year in year out there seems to be 2-3 teams from the Empire Eight in the top 20.  If we position ourselves towards the top of the conference then we will have a chance to be top 20, which is a unique opportunity to have in Division III.

Are there any last pieces of advice for players and families you’d like to share?

Understand that at the next level that a lot of work goes into it.  You really have to love this sport to play in college.  You’re putting in a lot of hours, whether it is practice, meetings, scouting report, film, study hours, for an opportunity to play 14 times a season.  Kids must understand that even though it is a very rewarding experience, it is also a very serious commitment.

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Henry LaSala or Hartwick College.

Will Kelley was born in Wilton, Connecticut and has lived there his whole life. Growing up he loved to play and watch all types of sports, especially lacrosse and basketball. He started playing basketball in 2nd grade and lacrosse in 4th, the two sports he played all the way through high school. Playing at Wilton High was a unique experience for him due to the former greats that had come through . He attends Elon University in North Carolina where we still maintains his passion for both sports. Will is a Sport & Event management major with a Broadcast Journalism minor, hoping to find a career working for a professional sports team. He has been raised a Boston sports fan his whole life, he enjoys hanging outside and being around all sports.

Next ArticleRecruiting Insight with Kean University Head Coach Shelley Sheiner