Scott Howe led St. Xavier (Ky.) to their 12th championship, second straight, this past season. Howe has been the only coach that the Tigers have ever known and is regarded by many as a “founding father” of Kentucky lacrosse. While Howe is regarded as a legend in the state his leash has never been shorter than it is now, even with all the success that he has had over the years.
According to multiple sources, the St. Xavier lacrosse program could have a changing of the guard sooner than later, and it’s not just retirement rumors anymore. Over the past few weeks there have multiple meetings between St. Xavier athletic director Alan Donhoff and parents of lacrosse players about the Tigers and the direction of the program.
Current and former players, parents, and Alumni of St. Xavier are not happy with the way in which the lacrosse program is being run under Howe, and haven’t been for multiple years now.
Over the past few seasons these complaints have seemed to ramp up and action has started to take place between parents, players, and Alumni of the program. This goes deeper than running up the score and beating teams by twenty of more points, which they did multiple times this past season.
Many are unhappy with the way that Howe leads, carries himself, acts towards, and treats players. Just this past season half of the senior class quit before the season because they “Didn’t want to spend their last semester of high school playing for that man [Howe].”, said a St. Xavier lacrosse parent.
While many have been unhappy about Howe’s coaching style and apparent disregard for sportsmanship there have been other culture issues as well. Multiple sources have said that Howe breeds a “bro culture” that is unacceptable at a private catholic school.
According to a source, St. Xavier athletic director Alan Donhoff was made aware at a meeting over the weekend that there are multiple players who have already said they will not play this next season, their senior year, because of Howe.
There were also a few names mentioned to Donhoff over the weekend in regards to replacements. Those names include L4 Lacrosse founder and director Reid Wesley, Christian Academy (Ky.) head coach Ryan Smith, L4 Lacrosse box director Dylan Gatt, and Collegiate (Ky.) head coach Bobby Schmitt. Both Wesley and Schmitt are graduates of St. Xavier and all four played in college at Bellarmine.
According to multiple sources, Howe is trying to put a plan in place where he would be the head coach for the next two seasons, riding out with the 2021 class. Howe is looking to bring in KCD head coach Andrew Wolford on as an assistant for the next two seasons and then hand over the reigns to Wolford after the 2021 season.
Sources have said that Reid Wesley and Bobby Schmitt have both told St. Xavier that they would not take over as the head coach if offered the position. Schmitt reportedly has said he would be willing to come on as an assistant, but will not take over as the head coach due to work commitments outside of lacrosse. In addition, Ryan Smith has not shown any interest either.
First-year program DeSales could benefit greatly from this turmoil at St. Xavier, reeling in players that might not have gone to DeSales in the past. Trinity and other established programs could also benefit as well.
For the time being, Scott Howe remains the head coach at St. Xavier but change could be coming to the Tigers program sooner than later. Only time will tell how soon that change could be coming and what ultimately happens.