Gary Mercadante was named the first-ever men’s lacrosse head coach in Delaware Valley history on August 12, 2013. After spending the first year organizing the program an Delaware Valleyd recruiting, he has led the squad to 13 wins and one conference playoff appearance in just two seasons of competition. Mercadante led the 2015 edition to five wins – the most victories by an Aggie team in any sport in their inaugural season. They won the program’s first-ever game, an 8-7 triumph over Immaculata University, and produced victories in three of its first four games. Prior to coming to Delaware Valley, Mercadante spent four years as a full-time assistant coach at nearby Ursinus College. He was the defensive coordinator for the Bears and also coached the man down unit as well as running the substitution box. Mercadante also served as the team’s academic, budget, recruiting and video editing/software coordinator.
- What do you look for in a recruit? What type of player best fits your program?
While evaluating on the field we always look for athleticism and consistent effort. We play a fast tempo style of lacrosse and want players who can sustain that effort and intensity for 60+ minutes. Players tend to evaluate their own play based on the time they spend with the ball or covering the ball, but this is only a small percentage of the game. I always make a point to watch off-ball to see if a player does the little things consistently well. Among many others, these can include setting screens, back cutting, chasing out shots, winning GBs, picking off passes in a skip lane, and being in position to cover two players at once. Once the recruiting process begins, we spend a lot of time getting to know student-athletes and their families. We want great people who want to leave our University and program a better place than when they got here.
- What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?
Have a plan. If you are interested in a school, reach out to the coach with a personal email. Let us know why you are interested and where you will be playing (tournaments, club team, etc.). Do your research. I am impressed when I speak with a student-athlete who is knowledgeable about our university, what we offer, and our program. It demonstrates you have taken the time to educate yourself about us and have a legitimate interest in the school and our team.
- What areas of player development should recruits be focused on?
There is a lot of pressure on young players right now to focus all their time and effort strictly on lacrosse. Be an athlete! Multi-sport players demonstrate stronger IQ’s and develop quicker as athletes. Some of the best players I have coached were two sport athletes in high school competing in sports such as football, hockey, and basketball. The skills they acquired from these sports helped them immensely on the lacrosse field. Lastly, your stick should be an extension of your arm. Commit to the wall on a weekly basis with fun and realistic wall ball routines.
- What common recruiting mistakes should players and parents avoid?
In navigating the landscape of college recruiting, it is important to view it as a job process. You are currently building your resume and everything you do as a student-athlete on and off the field is a part of that resume. Before you even search for the job you must first do a few important things: A phone call is our primary point of contact with student-athletes. Start by creating a simple, mature voicemail. College coaches will call you on your phone and you want to leave a strong first impression. Also, make sure your voicemail is not full. Eventually a coach will stop calling if they are unable to get in touch with you and cannot leave a voicemail. This sounds very simple, but happens much more than people would think. Second, create an email account with an easy to use address that you can use for tournaments and college coaches. Do not use your parent’s email address. Take ownership of the college search process. Players often make the mistake of mass emailing us through recruiting services or having their parents send emails for them. An email from a parent on behalf of a student-athlete is a big red flag. The student-athlete will take on all the responsibility once they get to the college level and it does not project well when a parent does everything for the them.
- What should a recruit include in a message to you that will draw your attention?
We pride ourselves on responding to every personal email we receive. A well written email from a student-athlete that shows genuine interest in our University and program gets our immediate attention. Don’t be afraid to promote your success as a student and athlete. Lastly, include a highlight film. The quicker we can evaluate your play, the sooner we can begin the recruiting process.
ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Gary Mercadante or Delaware Valley University Interview