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May
25
2015

Denver Men’s Lacrosse Wins the NCAA Division I National Title – What Are The Implications For The #ACC?

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Happy Memorial Day wherever you are, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) fans!!  Today, we remember and honor those who sacrificed their lives in defense of this great country on Memorial Day.

It’s become a Memorial Day tradition for me to watch the NCAA Men’s Division I Lacrosse Final Four and Championship over the long holiday weekend.

This year, a new team won the NCAA Men’s Division I Lacrosse Championship:  As you can see from the graphic above, the Denver University Pioneers defeated the University of Maryland by the score of 10-5.  And to be fair, this game was never in doubt.

Bill Tierney is one of the best coaches in the game.  Under his leadership at Princeton, the Tigers won  SIX NCAA Men’s Division I Lacrosse Titles.  In Tierney’s first five years at Denver, his Pioneer teams went 66-23 – and his teams made three trips to championship weekend (the Pioneers have made the NCAA tournament every year he has been at Denver). His team that won the title this year is the first team west of Chapel Hill, NC to win the NCAA Men’s Division I Lacrosse title.

This year, Denver was preseason ranked #1 – and pretty much held that ranking all year.  This was not a team or a program that came out of nowhere – Denver and Bill Tierney are well-respected in the NCAA lacrosse community.  So why Denver?  Well, because there are talented lacrosse players everywhere in the United States now (and Canada) – and not just the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast (which is the ACC’s recruiting ground).

I was curious about where the players came from on each ACC team roster – and the Denver Roster.  In particular, I wanted to find out how many players from California (the most populous state in the USA at approximately 37,250,000 according to 2010 Census data)  are on each ACC team’s roster – and how many were are Denver’s team.  I was also curious how many international players are on each ACC team’s roster – and how many Denver has.  Let’s get these answers below:

Institution

Number of Players from California

Number of Foreign Players

Total Number of Californian and Foreign Players

North Carolina

1

4

5

Duke

2

0

2

Virginia

1

1

2

Syracuse

1

3

4

Notre Dame

4

1

5

Denver

5

6

11

You know what’s interesting here?  Denver and Notre Dame made the NCAA Men’s Division I Lacrosse Final Four.  Syracuse, Virginia, North Carolina, and Duke did not.  To be fair, I did not quantify the number of minutes each Californian and foreign player had for Denver and Notre Dame in the NCAA tournament.  That said, I’ve watched the entire tournament – and know that these players logged a lot of minutes.

As the sport is growing, the ACC can no longer just depend on the geographic footprint of the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast for recruits. There are talented players all over the United States now – and internationally. This is how Denver won – they got players from all over the country – and Canada for that matter. I think this is just the beginning of things to come.  The recruiting footprint just got larger for ACC men’s lacrosse – and it must focus on California and Canada.

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