Gary Mercadante Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach @ Delaware Valley University Interview

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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

New NCAA recruiting rules = better college matches

It’s been widely reported how proposal 2017-1 banned any recruiting contact between college coaches and PSAs (prospective student athletes) until Sept. 1 of the recruit’s junior year.

Many of us know how many D1 programs there are (71 men’s, 112 women’s) and how many scholarships each program can give (12.6 men’s, 12 women’s) if fully funded (roughly half are).

But what’s much less reported and harder to find is the number of college transfers every year. As a community, we kept saying college is a 40-year, not a 4-year decision, and then we asked high school freshman to make this decision anyway.

As a company, we take great pride in our free College Matching Service.

But during webinars or at team recruiting nights, the irony of showing freshman how to filter college programs by major wasn’t lost on us. More time to develop their college preferences, not more filters, was what they needed.

We’re excited for this change as we believe it will help recruits focus on academics, enjoy their high school experience, better develop their college preferences and ultimately get recruited to the right school. We hope that it will reverse the increase in college transfers as recruits will have more time to find the right fit both on and off the field.

Here’s what we know based on our understanding. Formal legislation is yet to be published.

Players and Parents

Men’s and women’s D1 college coaches may not make off-campus contact with PSAs or reach out by phone, social media or during unofficial campus visits. So no meeting with the coaching staff during unofficial visits. We understand that prospect days (on-campus) are permitted but contact is limited to feedback on the recruit’s athletic ability, not their recruiting process.

Parents fall under the same rules as PSAs and thus may not act an intermediary. Club and high school coaches may not be used to circumvent these recruiting contact rules. Specifically, direct messaging or communication about verbal offers through these third parties is not permissible.

It is our understanding that college coaches can still speak with club and high school coaches in an evaluative process, such as about a recruit’s play at an event or their position on a college’s recruiting radar. With contact between college coaches and families restricted, we believe that a recruit’s coaches will increasingly assist in their recruiting process.

Based on our conversations, college coaches will still be targeting and recruiting high school underclassman. They will benefit from seeing recruits play more and being able to commit to a more developed player, also having a longer academic track record to evaluate and less concern over recommits. We recommend recruits continue to message coaches at their target schools and share their highlight videos and academic updates.

It’s widely understood that existing verbal commitments will be grandfathered and honored by college coaches. However, PSAs in the 2019, 2020 and 2021 classes that have already verbally committed will be unable to speak with the coaching staffs at their future schools.

Given this rule is effective immediately, many families nearing the end of the recruiting process in it’s current accelerated timeline will have to wait. We imagine this is frustrating, like walking into class to turn in a paper and finding the due date has been pushed back even though you were ready. And now communication is more limited. We hope that the delay results in a better college decision for the recruit. We also understand the counterpoint that deciding between Duke, UVA and Cornell is not inherently a bad decision. Again, it’s typically a commitment to the admissions process, not admission, as the recruit doesn’t have their test scores yet.

As the above illustrates, it’s a delicate issue as parents want the best for their children and lacrosse is a tool to get into a great academic institution. These rule changes do not change that, they just require patience in a process that has been in short supply of it.

Last, this only impacts 190 men’s and women’s NCAA Division I programs, not the 753 Division II and III men’s and women’s programs (includes new programs). We believe college lacrosse at any level matters and include over 1,500 programs in our college matching service.

Club and HS Coaches

Many club coaches we’ve spoken with are excited given committed players can be question marks for attending practice and events, which can frustrate other players on the team trying to get recruited. This dynamic within teams has helped fuel the pressure, often premature, to commit.

As mentioned, club and high school coaches may not be used to circumvent these recruiting contact rules. Specifically, direct messaging or communication about verbal offers through these third parties is not permissible. It is our understanding that college coaches can still speak with club coaches in an evaluative process, such as about a recruit’s play at an event or their position on a college’s recruiting radar.

Enforcing these new rules falls to compliance officers at colleges, who will be screening calls more closely as clubs can no longer set up a call between college coaches and recruits. While it’s understood that existing offers will be honored and grandfathered in, be mindful that some college coaches may use the rule change to change their position. Club coaches may want to validate their recruit’s commitments.

We believe club coaches will gain influence as a result of the new rules. High school coaches too given recruits won’t be committing as underclassman. Organization will be key for club coaches as the floodgates will be opening for all recruits at once.

Jack Cain (’19 Defenseman) Commits to Dartmouth College!!

Oooooh yeah! The Varsity Lacrosse Captain of Hinsdale Central High School, Jack Cain, has made the big decision to play college lacrosse at Dartmouth College!! Throughout the years that Jack played for Hinsdale Central High School and True Lacrosse, he has been awarded West Suburban (Chicago) Conference Honorable Mention as a freshman, Chicago Showcase All Star, and was also a member of the Brine National Illinois 2019 All American Team. During his search for the perfect college, he also considered Navy and UMass, but loved that Dartmouth gave him the “opportunity to combine high level education with Ivy lacrosse” and he “loves the direction the new coaching staff is heading”. Jack is excited to start his journey at Dartmouth, but not without giving a special thank you to his True Lacrosse coaches and teammates for the continued support!

Ethan Bell (’18 Goalie) Commits to Bridgewater College!

CONGRATULATIONS Ethan Bell on your big decision to play D3 Lacrosse at Bridgewater College!

Ethan is a goalie for Kellam High School and 757 Select. He will be attending Bridgewater College after his graduation next spring. He considered other schools such as Christopher Newport University and Lebanon Valley College, but ultimately decided that Bridgewater would be the best choice to excel in both lacrosse and academics. He would like to thank his parents and all of his coaches for their continued support over the years of his lacrosse career.

Chase LaDrido’s Makes Final Decision

Chase LaDrido is 14 years old and has already made a commitment of where he wants to play lacrosse after high school. Chase decided to go with Johns Hopkins and Chase became the first west coast player of the 2020 class to commit to a Division 1 men’s lacrosse. Chase’s biggest reason for committing so soon was because of the agony of a high school recruiting process. Anyone who has been recruited out of high school knows this process all to well. The numerous phone calls, the constant promises, and the why our program is better. This can take a lot out of a high school student when they are trying to focus on grades and also improving their game for the next level. The NCAA are working elegantly on passing rule that would ban college coaches communicating with student athletes until their junior year and this could happen as soon as April. Chase’s parents are happy with his decision and think it will make it easier on Chase. They believe that not worrying about applying and making college visits will allow their son to dedicate more time improving in class and on the field.

Lane Tourtellot (’17 Defense/LSM) Commits to Guilford College!

Lets hear it for Lane Tourtellot! As a senior at Needham Broughton High School, Lane has committed to play Division 3 Lacrosse at Guilford College! The Brine All-American also considered the lacrosse programs at Hampton-Sydney and Bridgewater. However, he ultimately chose the Guilford Quakers because he can participate in strong academics while also playing lacrosse at a high level.

How Early is too Early

Nowadays it’s normal to have a phenom freshmen on your team in any college sport. Usually you think of a senior being the vocal leader and carrying the team, but now freshmen can be expected to also carry this role. Although phenom freshmen may be a norm, it is controversial when the recruiting process should begin for these young stars. Bay Shore attack man Brennan O’Neill has committed to play lacrosse for Penn State in 2021 and Brennan is only a 13 year old eighth grader. Brennan is not the only one who has committed at an early age. Caitlyn Wurzburger and Justin Brown who were both in middle school committed to play college lacrosse. The reason coaches are recruiting this young is because they look at it as an advantage over their competitors.

Although it is illegal for college recruits to communicate with athletes until their junior year of high school, many college recruits are using a loop hole. Instead of contacting the Continue reading…

PJ Lombara (’17 Attack) Commits to Muhlenberg College!!

Let’s give a big round of applause for PJ Lombara after his big decision to play lacrosse at Muhlenberg College!! After considering both Trinity College and Saint Anselm College, PJ ultimately decided that Mulenberg “was the best fit for [him] academically, athletically and [he] really liked the campus and the coaching staff”. PJ will join the Mules next season after his graduation this year from St. John’s Prep.



Austin Burton (’18 LSM/Defense) Commits to Bridgewater College!

A big congrats to Austin Burton for committing to play college lacrosse at Bridgewater College! Austin is currently a junior at Parkville Senior High School, where he was recently named Second Team All County LSM in 2016, and also plays for the MD Wolfpack club team. Other schools that he considered were Immaculata, Arcadia, and Messiah, but he says the coaches and family atmosphere are what convinced him to play for the Eagles. Austin believes there is a bright future for the Bridgewater lacrosse program and is excited to be a part of competing for the ODAC Championship! Lastly, he would like to thank all of his coaches and his family, especially his mom, for all of their support throughout the years.

KateReagan Costello (’19 Attack) Commits to Winthrop University

Congratulations to KateReagan Costello from Gulf Breeze High School on committing to play Division 1 Lacrosse at Winthrop University! Read a little bit more about her below:

Why did you choose this college?
The coaches were amazing! Team is something special I can not wait to get there!

What other colleges did you consider?
Ohio State, St. Joe, Highpoint , Catholic University

Lacrosse honors:
All District team, Lead team in assists,

Academic honors:
Student Government History fair winner

KateReagan would like to thank her family, coaches and her teammates for their support and guidance throughout her lacrosse career!