On this week’s episode of New England Lacrosse Journal’s “Chasing The Goal” podcast, hosts Kyle Devitte and Jack Piatelli were joined by Waterdogs LC assistant coach and new Elms College head coach Rob Cross.
Cross recently agreed to become the first men’s lacrosse head coach at Elms College. The team will start competing next season in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. With coaching stints at Mercyhurst, Rutgers, Harvard and Siena, Cross is a seasoned Division 1 coach helming a D-3 team.
With playoff heroics from the likes of Michael Sowers and Kieran McArdle, the Waterdogs were able to defeat reigning champion Chaos LC in the PLL championship game last month.
As an assistant coach, Cross was a critical part of the Waterdogs’ first championship. On the podcast, he details his playing background at UMBC with the likes of Brendan Mundorf and Drew Westervelt, and how that impacted his coaching philosophy.
The full podcast can be accessed below and is available on all major platforms. If you enjoy it please leave a rating and a review.
Jack Piatelli: So if I’m a high school lacrosse player why would I even take a look at Elms College? What does it offer that might interest me and and my ability to play lacrosse in college?
Rob Cross: It’s gonna offer you flexibility and balance, right? Between your academic schedule, the support you’ll get from professors — tutors, if needed — and the opportunity to be a trailblazer, right? You’re gonna be a person that’s gonna strap it on for the first time ever at the collegiate level.
We’re in a great conference. The GNAC is made up of 14 different teams now, so there’s a lot to play for, right? And there’s opportunity there. So I think in terms of opportunity, being added to the (Springfield-area) mix with the rich history of Springfield and Western New England … now we get to take on our role in that responsibility. I just want to get good fast.
I’ve connected with about 75 kids in two weeks. Some juco, some grad students, some high school, and I just really want to get this thing going. But I would say, to answer your question, you have the opportunity to come here and be a part of history. Then also be a part of what I think is very important at the next level, which is the great community that we offer here on campus.
Kyle Devitte: I know this is not a visual medium, but Coach has on his background a blanket that is made of all T-shirts; they’re mostly lacrosse T-shirts. It looks like your athletic journey there.
I have the same blanket with all my stuff, except my story with that is that I wasn’t told that my stuff was getting taken and cut up and put into a blanket. I didn’t know that it was happening.
So, I’ve got all the places that I coached at — Plymouth State, Franklin Pierce, Saint A’s, Emerson and Daniel Webster — all on the blanket. As well as Clark, where I played, but I didn’t know it was being taken. And when it was presented to me in the blanket, I had almost what I would refer to as a nervous breakdown because all my stuff got cut up and put into a blanket and it freaked me out.
Rob Cross: If I could chime in right there, a similar thing happened to me. My wife was trying to get rid of all my old T-shirts. I was like, “No, no, no. You’re not doing that.” So, last year for my birthday, my mom gives me this present.
I open up, it’s all my T-shirts in a blanket. And I was like feeling all these emotions, reliving everything, all at once. I didn’t even know what to say. It was just so cool that I had to hang it up in my office.