Ron Cogan and Jordan Jarvis back to coach Armory
(Rochester, NY)… The Upstate Collegiate Box Lacrosse League (UCBLL) announced its coaching staffs for the 2023 season, and it's an all-star lineup of National Lacrosse League standouts. For the second straight season, at least six NLL pros will be behind the benches in the UCBLL.
The league, run by the NLL's Rochester Knighthawks and Buffalo Bandits, opens its regular season schedule in June. Knighthawks Dan Coates and Ryland Rees and Bandits Ethan O'Connor, Dalton Sulver, Ian MacKay, and Chris Cloutier are behind the benches this summer.
Ten-year NLL defenseman Dan Coates will again coach the defending champion Hawkeyes. Joining the club is fellow Knighthawks defensive stalwart Ryland Rees. He joins a team fresh off an appearance in the 2022 National Collegiate Box Series (NCBS) National Championships.
"I am thrilled to be back behind the bench with the Hawkeyes this season," said Coates. "We made great strides as a team last summer and look forward to another opportunity ahead of us. We fell just short of our ultimate goal at the NCBS National Championships last season, and I know that has motivated our returners this offseason. We look forward to training camp getting underway and starting the journey as a group again."
Stony Brook and Rochester Knighthawk Ryland Rees
Rees has coached before in the NCBS, working with the Dragons of the California Collegiate Box Lacrosse League in 2021. He has also been an instructor and coach at the US Box Lacrosse Association (USBOXLA) Nationals. He will now begin his inaugural season as a coach in the UCBLL.
“I am looking forward to coaching in the Upstate Collegiate Box Lacrosse League,” said Rees. “Getting to be around Rochester more, going out to some youth field and box lacrosse practices, has shown me how much lacrosse there is in Rochester. Box lacrosse can and will thrive here in Rochester, and I am happy to play a small part!”
The Armory welcomes back Ron Cogan, who helped lead the team to the National Collegiate Box Series National Championships in 2021. Cogan is an accomplished junior, senior, and international coach. He spent time in the NLL with the old Rochester Knighthawks and the New York Titans as a player. Cogan rejoins box lacrosse veteran Jordan Jarvis, who is back for his third season. Jarvis has also coached Roots Box Lacrosse and the Jr. Knighthawks.
"I couldn't be more excited about coming back to coach a team that I helped build from the inception of the UCBLL in 2021," said Cogan. "Being reunited with Jordan is going to be great as we have formed a great friendship over the years; he is a great lacrosse mind on the offensive side of the floor, and the guys look up to him. I am grateful for the opportunity to coach the Armory again and look forward to a great season."
A pair of Buffalo Bandits players will coach each of the two Buffalo-based teams. MacKay and Cloutier take over the reins for the Rapids, while O'Connor and Sulver are back to coach the Buffaloes. Last season, the expansion Rapids advanced to the UCBLL Finals.
University of North Carolina and Bandits Cloutier to coach Buffalo teams
MacKay, who played Division I lacrosse at Vermont, cannot wait to pass along the knowledge he acquired growing up in Port Elgin, Ontario, and in the NLL with the Bandits.
"I'm looking forward to coaching the college box league this summer mainly to help these kids continue to learn the game of box lacrosse," said MacKay. "This is an area where lacrosse continues to grow, especially the box lacrosse game, and you're seeing kids get drafted from these leagues. So, to be able to work with these guys and help them at their craft and, hopefully, fulfill a dream of getting drafted is something I'll take a lot of pride in."
Cloutier, who starred at North Carolina, knows the benefits that box lacrosse can have on your field game. The Kitchener, Ontario, native was the second overall pick in the 2021 NLL Entry Draft.
"I'm excited to coach box lacrosse at the collegiate level not only because these guys are here and they want to get better," said Cloutier. "They are willing to do the work, but also because we can watch these players take what they learn in box and translate it to their respective field teams."
O'Connor enters his third season as a coach in the UCBLL. The Milton, Ontario, native is in his eighth season in the NLL and is a former NLL champion. He also played Division I lacrosse at Hobart College.
"I'm excited to enter the UCBLL's third season," he said. "I felt that the competition and talent across the league rose exponentially from the first to the second year and expect this year to be even better. For many of our players, this is their first real taste of box lacrosse, and because of that, a lot of what we have taught so far has been relatively basic. This year to stay competitive with the other teams, I'm excited to introduce more nuanced systems that are very similar to what we use at the professional level."
Hobart's O'Connor and High Point's Sulver to coach Buffalo teams
Sulver returns alongside O'Connor. He made his coaching debut last summer. The Kingwood, Texas, product played his college lacrosse at High Point University after being selected 76th overall by Buffalo in the 2020 NLL Entry Draft. Sulver made the practice roster and is now a mainstay on the team this year. In his second NLL campaign, he has 12 points in 10 games. He is grateful to have the opportunity to continue to help the Buffaloes compete in the competitive UCBLL.
“I’m incredibly excited to build on the foundation we laid last year,” said Sulver. “It was my first year with the league (in 2022), but I was impressed by how much the guys bought in and improved over the course of the summer. It was awesome to see how many of our guys got drafted and I’d love to see even more Americans get the chance to break into the NLL.”
The UCBLL is among the most successful in the NCBS circuit. Not only have teams advanced to the playoffs of the NCBS National Championships in back-to-back campaigns, but the league has seen six of its players selected in the National Lacrosse League Entry Draft.
In 2021, Hunter Lemieux (Philadelphia) and Nick Miller (Buffalo) were chosen in the draft. In 2022, the UCBLL saw double that number selected as Spencer Bell (Rochester), Austin Blumbergs (Buffalo), Ryan Sharkey (Buffalo), and Christian Watts (Buffalo) heard their names called at the draft in Toronto.
The league is open to current high school and college seniors (including 5th-year college eligibility). However, if you do not play for a collegiate team but are a high-level box lacrosse player elsewhere, you must be between 17-23 years old to be eligible to play in the UCBLL.
Registration is open for the 2023 season. The UCBLL is a National Collegiate Box Series-affiliated league designed to give college-age athletes a chance to hone their skills, gain valuable experience and help them take their game to the next level.
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