(Photo Courtesy of Henry Clay Lacrosse)
After all the offseason changes and preseason banter, the high school lacrosse season in the Bluegrass State is just days away. And one common theme seems to be echoing across the state: newness.
Not only does 2020 push Kentucky lacrosse into a new decade, but also brings new programs and coaches to the forefront. And above all, there is new energy lurking across the state as the possibility of the KHSAA sanctioning the sport in the near future looks more realistic than ever.
While the alpha dogs of the state (Trinity and St. Xavier in the KSLL, and Henry Clay and Lexington Catholic in the CLL) are expected to stay at the top, there could be some shakeup in the second and third tiers of the power structure across the state this season, especially with some of the coaching changes that took place over the offseason.
First off, DeSales and St. Henry will be making their entrance into the Kentucky lacrosse scene as first-year programs this season. DeSales, led by St. Xavier grad and former Atherton head coach Tyler Whitchurch, will be competing in the KSLL and St. Henry, led by UMass grad and Ohio native Jim Kennedy, will be competing in the CLL. Both programs will be looking to get started off on the right foot and bring some new competition into their respective and leagues. St. Henry will also be fielding a girls program for the first time this year, as well.
In addition to two new programs coming onto the scene, there were a plethora of head coaching changes over the offseason. The most notable of those changes is Devin Mayer replacing Matt Campbell as the head coach at Lexington Catholic. As a first-year head coach, Mayer is tasked with upholding the standard at one of Kentucky’s premier high school lacrosse programs. The Knights won the CLL championship in 2018 and were the runner-ups last season.
Some other notable hires include, Phil Brock taking over as the head coach at Eastern and becoming one of just three head coaches to coach at two different programs that compete in the KSLL, former college head and assistant coach Ben Murphy taking over at Lafayette, and Dan Dunn taking over as the head coach at Dunbar – who were CLL quarterfinalist last season.
Other big offseason new bits included the KHSAA conducting a survey on the possibility of sanctioning lacrosse and Fayette County Public Schools announcing that lacrosse will now be classified as a varsity sport, thus having the sport now fall under the athletic departments at each school that sponsors the sport across the county.