Building Beloit’s First Lacrosse TeamsPosted by admin on 7/12/12 • Categorized as Summer 2012
By Hilary Dickinson
For the first time this spring, intercollegiate lacrosse will be front and center at Strong Stadium.
Building men’s and women’s teams from scratch, however, was neither quick nor easy. Head coaches Bob Dignazio and Meredith Newman have been hard at work for a year now in what Newman describes as “a roller coaster filled with excitement and some stressful moments.”
The process started last summer with the hiring of Dignazio as the men’s coach and Newman as the women’s. Both came from Kenyon College in Ohio, where Dignazio served as the men’s defensive and recruiting coordinator and Newman worked as the women’s assistant coach and offensive coordinator.
Once at Beloit, the two immediately began scouring the country for the best talent. From California to New England, they attended lacrosse tournaments and visited camps to watch players in action and make introductions.
Dignazio and Newman searched for student athletes who possessed certain qualities, including athleticism, leadership skills, a passion for the game, strong academic standing, a commitment to excellence on and off the field, and the drive to be a part of something from the beginning.
Dignazio, who joined Beloit in mid-July, attended most of his tournaments and camps in the summer, and Newman, who started in mid-August, traveled in the fall and winter. Once they returned to campus, they made follow-up contact to schedule visits.
“The biggest challenge for me was getting them on campus, but once they saw the school and the facilities and spoke with people in admissions and the other coaches, they were very impressed,” says Dignazio, adding that the new turf field was a crowd pleaser.
“It definitely helped establish our vision for our programs and made it more tangible for the students. At the end of the visit when they went down to the stadium, a lot of them were blown away by the facilities.”
Both coaches believe recruits were also enticed by the pride that comes with being part of an inaugural team.
“They’re making history with everything we do,” Newman says. “Being a part of that and saying they were the foundation for the program’s eventual success—that’s a very unique opportunity.”
Still, they didn’t always get the players they wanted.
“Recruiting is like being in a relationship,” Newman jokes. “I got broken up with more than I’d like to say.”
Newman and Dignazio were not the only two involved in recruitment. In the beginning, the coaches met with Beloit’s admissions counselors to tell them about lacrosse and to teach them some lingo to use with potential students. Conversely, the counselors filled them in on the mission of Beloit College and how to describe it to prospective students.
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