Last spring, the California Lutheran University athletics department announced that they would be adding a 22nd sport to its roster: women’s lacrosse. Though the addition of the sport has finally been put into action, the athletic department is still setting up arrangements for the team’s first season in 2020.
Step one of the process involves hiring a coach to lead the Regals for their inaugural season. Originally posted as a part-time position, the job as head coach has now been re-posted as full-time.
“We’re in the process of still trying to find the candidate to be our coach,” Cal Lutheran Athletic Director Dan Kuntz said. “We initially announced it and advertised for a while and our pool of candidates wasn’t as big as we liked, so we continued the process. The university has chosen to move forward to make this a 10-month, full-time position.”
Interviews for the position will be conducted by a committee of coaches and various athletic administrators. One of the members of the committee looking to hire the first coach for Regals lacrosse is Associate Vice President for Athletic Affairs and Title IX Coordinator Jim McHugh.
“It’s open till mid-October and then we will look at the applications and do the phone interviews and, from that, determine who to bring to campus and then from there you determine who we’re going to hire,” McHugh said.
In addition to going through the hiring process, Cal Lutheran athletics is also working on preparing a place for the Regals to practice.
“In a perfect world, lacrosse would rather play on turf, but I don’t want to put another set of lines on the stadium, so for now they will be on North Field on the grass. And if we ever get financing for a track, then the infield would be turf where they could play,” McHugh said.
Along with a field to practice on, the athletic department is taking into account the equipment the Regals will need as well.
“We work with other institutions to identify what kind of equipment is necessary for the program itself and also for the facility itself, so that when the person comes in we have those resources available to get what they need,” Kuntz said. “We want the coach to have a say in that too, because they might have specific things they want to include or adapt to what they need over there.”
Director of Housing Operations Nate Fall is a supporter of the addition of the team.
“Any time we can introduce new affiliations to the university and attract new students, as well as current students, to be connected in other ways beside just taking classes, the research shows that only enhances student success and university affiliation,” Fall said in an email interview. “Athletics provides opportunities for not only those participating, but to other students and the community for something to engage in and attend events.”
Along with its future impact on the Cal Lutheran community, the addition of women’s lacrosse also makes the number of men’s and women’s sports teams on campus equal.
“To be in compliance and to have equal men’s and women’s athletics is very important and an example that Cal Lutheran wants to provide all opportunities for all of our students by investing in the appropriate allocations to have women’s lacrosse,” Fall said.
Though the process is still ongoing, the future effect the Regal’s lacrosse team will have on Cal Lutheran and the excitement among the community is growing every day.
“Once the coach is hired, then we can really put more gas to the engine there to get it moving,” McHugh said. “I think that with any startup of any team, you know, you’re not going to win conference the first year. It’s going to be a process, but we’ve got some interested girls here already.”