With over 150 of the world’s best players ready to compete in the inaugural season of the Premier Lacrosse League, one question has remained: Who will coach the best collection of players in lacrosse?
That has finally been answered.
The PLL has unveiled the six head coaches who will lead its teams, beginning in June 2019. It is a group of some of the best leaders, strategists, and innovators that the game has known – headlined by National Lacrosse Hall of Fame member and four-time NCAA national champion, Dom Starsia.
“The PLL has continued its mission of putting world-class talent on-field,” said Mike Rabil, co-founder and CEO of the Premier Lacrosse League. “Watching these six coaches lead their teams every week, set the locker room standards, and build competitive edge, will be a revelation for lacrosse fans everywhere. We are a stronger league today thanks to the addition of their deep knowledge and skill sets.”
Starsia, a former head coach at Brown University and the University of Virginia, is widely-recognized as one of the best coaches the game has ever seen. During a coaching career that spanned from 1982-2016, Starsia’s teams produced over 100 All-Americans, won eight conference titles, and four Division 1 National Championships.
In 2011, after Virginia became the first team with five losses to win the title, Starsia was nominated for an ESPY Award for Best Coach, alongside Jim Calhoun (UConn men’s basketball), Rick Carlisle (Dallas Mavericks), Gene Chizik (Auburn football), and Mike McCarthy (Green Bay Packers).
“To have the opportunity to return to the sideline and work closely with the finest players in the world is a profound motivation,” said Starsia. “I applaud how the league is built by the players, for fans. It’s something truly special. I’m honored to be a part of it, and can’t wait to begin the journey towards a PLL Championship.”
In addition to Starsia, the PLL’s six teams will be coached by:
Chris Bates – Formerly the head coach at Princeton University, where he oversaw two NCAA Tournament teams, and at Drexel, where the Dragons achieved a national ranking for the first time in school history. Bates is currently the head coach at Episcopal Academy in Philadelphia. Bates serves as a member of the Ann’s Love Build Foundation, which brings together members of the medical community and lacrosse world to build outpatient hospitals, homes, and churches all over the world.
Nat St. Laurent – A Veteran of the U.S. Army, who decided to enlist after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, St. Laurent is the Head Coach of Ohio Northern University. Previously St. Laurent coached at Washington and Lee University and the Virginia Military Institute, and was integral in launching the program at Ferrum (Va.) College.
John Paul – A former head coach at the University of Michigan, Paul oversaw the Wolverine program’s elevation to Division 1 status, helping build the program from the ground up. From 2002 to 2009, Paul was the President of the MCLA, helping secure venues and television contracts for the league.
Jim Stagnitta – With over 30 years of experience at major programs like Rutgers and Washington & Lee, Stagnitta secured ten NCAA Tournament appearances, and three Final Four appearances. Stagnitta served as the President of the USILA from 2000-2005, and currently works with organizations such as the Charlotte Hornets and Carolina Panthers to develop leadership and thriving cultures.
Andy Towers – A Brown University All-American and member of the Connecticut Lacrosse Hall-of-Fame, Towers brings 19 years of coaching experience, previously serving as the head coach at Dartmouth College, with additional stops at Brown University, Yale University, Fairfield University, and the University of Hartford.
“Great coaches can change the outcome of a game,” said Paul Rabil, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of the Premier Lacrosse League. “The PLL’s head coaches are comprised of the best lacrosse minds in the history of our sport. Our product and competition just got better, and the players are thrilled to have the opportunity to play for them.”
The Premier Lacrosse League will begin its inaugural season in June 2019, kicking off a 14-week, 12-city season. Six teams, comprised of the best players in the world, will compete throughout a regular season, all-star weekend, playoffs, and championship.