New Funding for Men's Lacrosse
With three losses just five games into its historic 2012 season, the men's lacrosse team was at a crossroads. Coach Andy Shay, adding a page to the coaching handbook, brought an empty water jug to practice. “I needed a prop to impress upon the players the importance of details. I told them we’d take a penny out for each little mistake—like using one hand to pick up a grounder—and add two when two hands were used,” he explained.
The turnaround began the next game. Though the team fell to Princeton in the fifth overtime, the players won the following nine games—four by just one goal—and survived seven overtime matches en route to claiming the Ivy League Tournament championship and a bid to the NCAA tournament. By the end of the season, Shay noted, “The jug weighed fifty pounds and must have held $150 worth of pennies.”
Michael McCormack SY '13, now captain of the 2013 Yale squad, recalled how quickly his teammates bought into the coach’s message. “We could see ourselves getting better game by game,” he said.
Advancing lacrosse at Yale
Inspired coaching also matters to David Ryan '92, who as a senior played on the last Yale lacrosse squad to have made it to the NCAA tournament prior to 2012. Now a managing director at Goldman Sachs based in Singapore, Ryan has stayed close to a game known for its fast pace, teamwork, and sportsmanship.
David Ryan and his sister Susan Ryan Forst '87 (together with their spouses, Caroline Ryan and Edward Forst) have endowed the men’s lacrosse coaching position with a gift honoring their 20th and 25th reunions. Andy Shay has been named the first Ryan and Forst Family Head Coach of Men’s Lacrosse.
“Lacrosse was a crucial part of my experience at Yale,” Ryan said. “Susan and I are proud to advance a sport that has meant so much to our family.”
Great coaching, great teaching
The funding of the men’s lacrosse coaching position brings to eleven the number of varsity athletics head coaches who hold endowed posts at Yale; the goal is to endow all coaching positions, which provide leadership for Yale athletes competing in thirty-five Division I programs. With permanent support for coaches, these teams can be increasingly competitive in attracting the most talented people to their leadership positions. Coaching endowments can also free up funds to cover other expenses, including equipment, travel, and training, that are necessary for a team to compete at the highest levels year after year.
“Yale has a proud tradition of athletic success,” said Director of Athletics Thomas Beckett. “And it is because of the loyalty and devotion of our supporters—many of whom participated in varsity sports and benefited from the experience—that we are able to add to this distinction. Putting great coaches together with talented student-athletes creates the kinds of teaching moments that not only contribute to victories, but also influence the players long after they have graduated. We are grateful to the Ryan and Forst families for their support of our men’s lacrosse program.”
“The Ryans and Forsts have been extraordinarily generous,” Shay said. “It is an honor to be the first in what will be a long line of Yale men’s lacrosse coaches to this named position.”