College To Field Inaugural
Team In Spring Of 2014
BY TATE RUSSELL
SUN SPORTS WRITER
The lacrosse era at Tusculum College officially began Wednesday afternoon as athletic director Frankie DeBusk introduced Richard Carrington as the school's first director of lacrosse and head coach.
"I think that bringing lacrosse not only to our campus but to our community is going to do so much for our campus community, for Greeneville, for Greene County and for the whole East Tennessee region," DeBusk said.
Carrington believes the school is a natural fit for the addition of lacrosse.
"The school of Tusculum has a 218 year tradition of academic success and to me it's a perfect marriage when you talk about introducing it to America's first sport in Lacrosse," he said.
Lacrosse is popular in the Mid-Atlantic and throughout the Northeast, as well as Canada, but does not have much of a foothold in the south. This is a fact that is not news to DeBusk or Carrington but they feel now is a good time to introduce the sport to East Tennessee.
"As I started looking at who to hire as the new director of lacrosse I made sure to make whoever I was talking to aware that within an hour of here no one has ever heard of lacrosse," DeBusk smiled. "Within an hour of here people probably could not identify a helmet, a stick, a ball and I use those terms lightly because as I was starting the interview process I had to confirm exactly what those were all called myself."
Recruiting players to Tusculum may be a difficult task for Carrington because of the lack of participation among high school students in Tennessee. According to the Tennessee Scholastic Lacrosse Association the state only has 33 high schools that field lacrosse teams; the closest to Tusculum is Knoxville West High School.
Carrington believes he can use Tusculum's location to his advantage on the recruiting trail, confident that the fairer weather of the south will lure players form lacrosse hotspots like New York and Canada. He says he has already received interest from both junior college and high school athletes.
The Pioneers will field their first team starting in spring of 2014 and will play their homes games at Pioneer Stadium. The South Atlantic Conference will also adopt lacrosse as a sponsored sport starting next season. Lenoir Rhyne, Catawba, Wingate and Mars Hill are the four schools in the SAC that currently field men's lacrosse programs.
Carrington joins Tusculum after one season at Virginia Military Institute as an assistant coach. He has also served as head coach at Alvernia University in Reading, Pa. Prior to his stint at Alvernia he started the lacrosse program at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, Pa.
Toughness is what Carrington wants to define his program and plans to utilize what he learned at VMI to ensure his Pioneers embody that characteristic
"(VMI) is the toughest military institute in the country. I want to bring some of that toughness some of that willingness to fight through tough situations to our program here at Tusculum," Carrington said. "I'm looking for students that are willing to embrace the adversity. Students that say we know were a first year program and are motivated by that."
Carrington will be the director of lacrosse and the head men's lacrosse coach. Debusk plans on introducing women's lacrosse to Tusculum in the future but feels that it is best if the school undergoes one transition at a time