As the Kalamazoo College Men’s Lacrosse team draws closer to its first varsity season in the 2014-2015 school year, newly appointed head coach Vince Redko finds himself without an established program history or even a full team. But he does possess a vision that he plans to lay at the College and the standard he wants to impose upon his newly formed team.
“It’s really not an X’s and O’s thing,” said Redko. “It’s what kind of intensity are we bringing and what kind of focus. It’s how do we do the little things within a practice session or a game and how we conduct ourselves.”
Redko accepted the Kalamazoo position on July 1, 2014, bringing with him a good amount of playing and coaching experience. The three-year starter at Ursinas College in Pennsylvania also gained valuable coaching experience at Misericordia University and later Connecticut College where he acted as defensive and recruiting coordinator. His background in recruiting will be especially necessary in order to recruit players to a program that is not in existence yet. Redko admits that finding the players that want to start a program from the ground up can be difficult yet rewarding.
“Some guys really feel great about it,” said Redko. “They say ‘I want to put my stamp on something, I want to watch something growth, I really want to leave my mark on the school’ and this is a great opportunity to do that.” Redko expects around 20 committed recruits for next year’s season and is already a quarter of the way there with five.
A handful of current Kalamazoo College students will also make up the first varsity men’s lacrosse team in the coming school year, and will also play for the club team this spring if the team can field enough players. Kalamazoo College sophomore Clapton Marquis plans to join the team for the coming season, and shares Coach Redko’s philosophy of building from the ground up.
“I thought it would be nice to come into a program that is starting fresh completely,” said Marquis. “I’m hoping we’ll get players that will take losses in a good way and take the wins in a really good way and focus on what we want to become.”
Redko plans on evaluating the team’s success this coming season not in terms of wins and losses, but on how the team establishes it’s identity.
“It’s all about laying the foundation for what the culture of the program is going to be,” said Redko. “It’s about how we act on campus, what are we doing in the classroom, and letting guys know that these are the expectations and what it takes to become a Kalamazoo College lacrosse player.”