By Sarah Bartlett-Cahill | 11/1/12 3:51 PM
For this week’s Throwback Thursday we are not only going to look back at the career of one of MLL’s greats, but forward, as Dan Chemotti begins a new journey as head lacrosse coach at the University of Richmond.
Chemotti, an MLL veteran, joined the league in 2003. He was drafted by the New Jersey Pride after a standout career at Duke University, where he led the team to back-to-back ACC Championships and served as team captain his senior year. Chemotti spent five seasons with the Pride before moving on to the Washington (now Chesapeake) Bayhawks, where he played for one more year, retiring in 2009. The dynamic midfielder ended his MLL career with 38 points and 118 ground balls and proved to be a pivotal part of the league’s early years.
During his time with MLL Chemotti also served as an assistant coach for both Dartmouth College (2002-2004) and St. John’s University (2004-2006), working primarily with the offense and face-off men. Chemotti truly began to shine in 2006, when he took a position as assistant coach with Loyola (MD), a school he ultimately led from a 17thranked offense (in 2007), to a first-ever national championship – and an 18-1 record – in 2012. Men’s lacrosse at Loyola would advance to four NCAA tournaments and win three conference titles during Chemotti’s five seasons as the offensive coordinator, with 30 players earning all-conference honors and 12 being named All-American. Most recently, the 2012 season proved to be Loyola’s best yet; not only did the Greyhounds win the D1 title for the first time in school history, but the program saw eight of their players rack up ten or more goals, three tally more than twenty, and three reach the 50-goal mark, all under Chemotti’s direction.
Just this Monday, after months of rumors surrounding his plans for next season, Chemotti announced that he accepted a position as head coach at the University of Richmond, which will have its first NCAA Division I run in 2014. Although the lacrosse program at Richmond has been in existence since 1967, the school has primarily played at the NCLL and MCLA club levels in the past. This means Chemotti’s first head coaching experience will not only be a personal venture, but one for the program at Richmond, as it embarks on a new level of play and jumps head first into the Division I world.
Dan was nice enough to take some time out of his busy week to talk to us about his hopes for the future of lacrosse at Richmond, his thoughts on the growth of the sport, and the influence MLL has had on his coaching career:
First off, congratulations on your new position! What are you most excited about in regards to your new role?
Thank you! I’m most excited about representing the University of Richmond, a tremendous academic school that takes a lot of pride in their athletics. I think Richmond and lacrosse are the perfect match for each other, and I’m excited, and ready, to bring the school into the Division I lacrosse world.
Having vied for the head coaching job at Boston University, among other opportunities that arose in the past, what attracted you to Richmond specifically?
There were a lot of things that attracted me to Richmond. Again, the school is very well respected academically, and it has a great athletics program. The footprint of the university is appealing because it’s made up of a lot of students from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, which are target recruiting areas for lacrosse. Not to mention, the campus and the area surrounding the school are beautiful.
You obviously proved you had a lot to offer through your previous coaching endeavors, most recently helping lead Loyola to their first ever National Championship last season. What will you take with you from your five years with Loyola?
I think the level of discipline we instilled in our guys at Loyola was something big and it’s definitely something I’m going to take with me to Richmond. The guys at Loyola played so well last year and they played fast. It’s a lot of fun to coach in that sort of system and it’s a lot of fun for players to play in that system. I think it’s something Loyola is just starting to scratch the surface on but that discipline and the ability to play fast are two things that I’m really going to focus on and implement within the program at Richmond.
Looking back on your six seasons with MLL, would you say the experience shaped your passion to coach? Did it influence your coaching style at all?
I think I always knew I wanted to be a coach, but playing in the league allowed me to learn so much more about the game. As an offensive coordinator off the field, I played a lot of defensive midfield in the MLL. Being able to play on the defensive side and coach on the offensive side really helped me in both respects. While coaching, I was always thinking “this is how the defense thinks” or “this is how they’re going to react to this”, and as a defenseman I would think “this is what the offense is trying to do.” The ability to see both sides gave me an edge in respect to both coaching and playing.
Having been involved with the sport from an early age, how would you say lacrosse has changed since either your college playing days, or your professional playing days?
The number one thing that’s changed about lacrosse is the amount of kids playing, there’s so many more now. It’s a great thing and the game is really growing. It’s particularly evident in that the teams that once dominated at the high school level aren’t dominating as much now; because new areas are playing the sport, there’s a lot more parity across the board. The coverage for lacrosse has certainly grown, which goes hand in hand with the growth of the sport, but by all means, the amount of youth and high school players has increased tremendously. And, the more that number continues to rise, the better.
Having grown up in New York and coached in New England and Maryland, more “lacrosse focused areas”, do you think the addition of a DI program at Richmond means something for the growth of lacrosse in the South?
I think it’s huge. Other schools in the South are going to be looking toward not only Richmond’s advancement in the sport, but schools such as Furman, High Point, Mercer, and Jacksonville, who have really focused on lacrosse recently. If we can all set a good example in regards to being successful and competitive and producing quality players and teams, it’s only going to encourage other colleges and universities in the South to work on their own lacrosse programs. And again, growth of the game is always good.
With Richmond’s inaugural season beginning in 2014, can you tell us what your plans are going forward for next year, while the program is more or less gearing up?
My plan right now is to hit the recruiting trail really hard; we have to put a team in place. I’m going to look at the club team already in existence and build from there. I’m definitely going to be involved with that club team going forward, though to what degree is still being discussed, but we’ve really got to hit the ground running and start to prepare as a DI team.
Going back to your MLL days, what would you say was your most memorable moment from your six seasons with the league?
I’d say it was my 2003 season, my first year in the league with the Pride. There were just so many great players that I had grown up watching, idolizing, and to have the chance to take the field with those guys was truly a dream come true.
Lastly, do you have any advice for the young players out there who may be thinking about playing at the college or professional level?
I’d say you’re going to get out of it what you put in, so work hard. The reason that I had the longevity I had with the MLL was because I prepared myself for each season. I made sure I was in shape and that I took care of myself, and I did so seriously. There are always going to be talented players out there, but I think the amount of work you put into it is really what counts, and that’s what’s going to allow you to play at a high level.
Best of luck to Dan Chemotti on his new journey!
About Major League Lacrosse
Major League Lacrosse (MLL), the premier professional outdoor lacrosse league, was founded by Jake Steinfeld and is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. Major League Lacrosse commenced play in June of 2001 and will enter its 13th season in 2013. MLL has continued to lead the sport of lacrosse into the mainstream of competitive team sports. The league is made up of eight teams: The Boston Cannons, Charlotte Hounds, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Denver Outlaws, Hamilton Nationals, Long Island Lizards, Ohio Machine and Rochester Rattlers.
The 2013 MLL Collegiate Draft will take place on January 11, 2013 in Philadelphia, PA. The 2013 season will commence on April 27, 2013. More information about the league can be found at www.majorleaguelacrosse.com, or on Facebook or Twitter @mll_lacrosse.