On this week’s episode of New England Lacrosse Journal’s “Chasing The Goal” podcast, hosts Kyle Devitte and Jack Piatelli were joined by Bowdoin head coach Bill Mason.
Mason’s first year in charge of the Polar Bears was very successful. He led Bowdoin to a 9-1 record in the NESCAC and an 18-3 overall record. Only two teams were able to defeat the Polar Bears — Tufts and eventual NCAA champion RIT.
Mason spent six years as the head coach of Lasell College before joining Bowdoin last fall. With the Lasers, he won two GNAC championships and won 76 percent of his games in charge.
Before that, he was an assistant at Bates College under former head coach Pete Lasagna.
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Kyle Devitte: At Bowdoin, you had a very historic first season. What’s your initial impression of that first run?
Bill Mason: It was pretty incredible, and I think when we first started this, I don’t think anyone probably thought we were gonna do as well as we did. It’s just a testament to the group of guys that are here, and how hard they’ve been working in between COVID and losing seasons and everything like that.
I mean, these guys prepared themselves so well for this season. And we just took it one day at a time and that just happened to lead to 14 wins in a row and an 18-3 season. And definitely we’ve set the bar really, really high. Hopefully we can continue to keep sustaining it and, knowing the type of guys we have this locker room and the type of recruiting we’re doing and the type of support we have at a school like Bowdoin, we feel like we’re hopefully gonna keep this thing rolling.
Jack Piatelli: When you came on campus, you met with the players who had not really played in a couple of years. What was your message to them as the new head coach?
BM: My message to them was, essentially, I know that there’s a lot of talent in this room and I wanted to really make sure that that talent was being pushed to the limit as much as possible. And so when it comes to practices, we’re gonna be playing as fast as we possibly can. The ball is gonna be flying in and out of the drill as quick as possible.
I really just wanted to see these guys get the muscle memory back, of how fast this game is. We focused on transition, focused on all the fun stuff that is in this game. And, you know, you just started to see the light bulbs kind of go off with the talented players that we have on this team.
And then they just felt that freedom I was giving them as a coach so that their creativity started to grow a little bit. They started trying new things.
As a coach, I don’t need to be a critic of them. They are their hardest critics. So it’s more of just supporting them and supporting that they want to be great. And it becomes a relatively easy job to be their coach.