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Blaxers Blog: Recognizing Each Black Head Coach in NCAA Men's Lacrosse

US Lacrosse Magazine has partnered with Blaxers Blog to produce a series of stories that illuminate the minority lacrosse experience and promote the accomplishments of those individuals who have defied stereotypes to succeed in the sport.

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As lacrosse grows exponentially, the amount of Black coaching representation and visibility remains miniscule. Lacrosse must ensure true diversity and provide more opportunities to defeat the notion of exclusivity in the sport. This allied initiative will inspire prospective coaches, players and fanbases. According to the 2019 NCAA Demographic Database archives, Black head and assistant coaches only make up 3 percent (16 head coaches, 26 assistants) of the 1,273 coaches at 386 total men’s lacrosse programs.

“The visibility of Black coaches breaks down the typical lacrosse stereotypes and ushers in a level of comfort that many minorities have never felt in our game,” said Richard Carrington, the head coach at Tusculum. “The leadership and decision makers in our game would be better served to have representation from people of different backgrounds and social experiences.”

Nat St. Laurent of Ohio Northern shared a similar sentiment.

“The importance of coaches of color is imperative for the growth of our game at every level,” St. Laurent said. “More coaches of color will also hopefully inspire players to continue to play the game longer and eventually get into coaching themselves.”

Here's a rundown of each Black head coach in NCAA men’s lacrosse.

Note: Next week, Blaxers Blog will examine the accomplishments of Black head coaches in NCAA women’s lacrosse.

Division I

Chazz Woodson, Hampton

On July 20, Hampton hired Woodson, a professional lacrosse legend, as its new head coach. This spring marks Woodson’s debut as a collegiate head coach. Woodson was a two-time All-Ivy League winner at Brown. Woodson also co-founded Sankofa Lacrosse Foundation in 2013, an organization that conducts free clinics in underrepresented communities. Woodson is the co-founder of Nation United Lacrosse Club. It will be interesting to see how Woodson’s high flying and fast-paced playing style will mesh with the nation’s lone men’s Division I HBCU program. The youthful Pirates roster includes Aris Brown, son of the legendary Jim Brown.

According to the 2019 NCAA Demographic Database archives, Black head and assistant coaches only make up 3 percent (15 head coaches, 26 assistants) of the 1,273 coaches at 386 total men’s lacrosse programs.

Division II

Sean Blair, CSU-Pueblo

Blair has led the CSU-Pueblo lacrosse program since 2013 and remains the only head coach in Thunderwolves lacrosse history. In 2019, Blair won the RMAC’s Co-Coach of the Year honor. In 2015, the CSU-Pueblo program won US Lacrosse’s James “Ace” Adams Sportsmanship Award. Blair has produced 23 All-RMAC players, three USILA Scholar All-Americans and 21 First Team Academic All-RMAC winners. As a player at Grand Valley State (2005-08), Blair won the 2008 MCLA Division II National Championship, CCLA conference title and MCLA Division II All-Tournament honors.

David Olliver, Coker

Since he began his head coaching tenure at Coker College in 2013, Olliver has won 46 games and was also honored as the 2015 SAC Coach of the Year. Also in 2015, Coker was the SAC regular season co-champion. The Cobras appeared in their third consecutive SAC semifinal and had SAC Scholar Athlete of the Year, Dylan Marks. Before their 2020 season was postponed, the Cobras were 6-1 and received votes in the USILA D-II Coaches Poll. They produced nine SAC Commissioner’s Honor Roll awardees.

Rodger Colbert, University of the District of Columbia

Colbert has led the UDC Firebirds since 2017. Colbert helped the HBCU produce four All-ECC selections. In his tenure, two players were drafted to the National Lacrosse League (Chase Fraser and Braylon Lumb). In 2018, UDC finished fourth nationally in faceoff percentage. After playing at Georgetown, Colbert became the MLL’s first Black draftee in 2001 (12th overall by the Bridgeport Barrage) and played five professional seasons. Colbert also serves as Director of Programming for Winners Lacrosse.

Spencer Wims, Embry-Riddle

Wims helped Embry-Riddle transition to the NCAA level in 2018. In 2016, Wims served as the first assistant coach in University of Indianapolis history. While at UIndy, Wims helped the Greyhounds knock off No. 6 Lake Erie and No. 17 Lindenwood. As a player, Wims won two USILA All-American awards at Limestone, and was part of four NCAA tournament semifinal finishes and three Conference Carolinas titles. Wims was later drafted in the 18th round of the 2011 Major League Lacrosse Supplemental Draft by the Charlotte Hounds.

Richard Carrington, Tusculum

Carrington has served as Tusculum’s first and only head coach since the 2014 season and produced eight All-SAC honorees. In 2017, Carrington led the Pioneers to a program best 11-4 season and South Atlantic Conference runner-up finish. Also, Tusculum earned the 2017 NCAA Division II National Statistical Championship for assists per game (8.93). As a four year starter, Carrington finished as Mars Hill’s all-time ground balls leader in 2003.

Division III

Rashad Devoe, Amherst

Hired this summer after a brief stint at Hampton, Devoe will serve as Amherst’s new coach. Devoe possesses over 20 years of experience at various levels of lacrosse. During his career, Devoe has produced three All-Americans, 29 All-Conference selections and two conference Rookie of the Year recipients. At Beloit College, Devoe earned the 2017 Midwest Lacrosse Conference Coach of the Year award after leading the program to its first double-digit win season and a regular season conference championship.

Darry Thornton, Brevard

On May 8, Brevard hired Thornton to lead the Tornadoes. Thornton has been coaching at the college level for 11 years and served as a lacrosse evaluation consultant for 25 different programs between the Division II, Division III and NJCAA ranks. Previously, Thornton was head coach at Lee-McRae College (2013-17), Mohawk Valley Community College (2012-13) and Mount Saint Mary’s College (2009-11).

Atsen Bulus, Messiah

Bulus entered his sixth season atop the Messiah men's lacrosse program in 2020. He led Falcons to a MAC Commonwealth Championship game in both 2015 and 2016, tallying a total of 23 wins in those two seasons. Before arriving at Messiah, Bulus spent time as an assistant at Ohio Wesleyan and Michigan (when it was an MCLA program under John Paul).

Ben Coughlin, Beloit

Coughlin joined the Beloit program before the start of the 2019 season. He brought three years of experience leading a newly founded NAIA program at Benedictine form 2017-19. He also served as an assistant on two occasions on the staff at Aurora, and lead Illinois' MCLA program. Coughlin spent three seasons playing for Kansas State (MCLA) before serving in the military.

Vincent Culpepper, Cairn

On February 12, Culpepper was tabbed the inaugural head coach for Cairn ahead of the 2021 spring season. Culpepper was previously Wabash College’s assistant coach and defensive coordinator (2017-18) and associate head coach at Xenia High School (OH) in 2017. Culpepper helped Wabash earn the most home wins in program history, as well as its largest ever recruiting class. He was also integral in an inaugural prospect day and summer youth camp. Culpepper began his playing career at Wittenburg University and later transferred to Indiana (MCLA D-I). He led the Hoosiers in ground balls and earned second-team All-UMLC honors as a short stick defenseman.

Brian Jenkins, Hiram

Jenkins has led Hiram College since the 2012 season. His son, Hunter, was named a 2020 USILA Scholar All-American (a Hiram program first). Under the direction of Jenkins, Hiram has produced six All-NCAC awardees and three NCAC Academic Honor Roll members. Jenkins was previously head coach at Shenandoah (1999-2011), setting that program’s season wins record in 2005 with nine and led Shenandoah to its first Pennsylvania Athletic Conference tourney appearance. In 2006, Jenkins was named the PAC Coach of the Year. At SUNY Cobleskill, Jenkins was a two-time All-Region winner (1984-85) and NJCAA All-American in 1984. Then he joined SUNY Cortland and won the 1986 and 1987 SUNYAC Championships.

Kyle Morris, Oglethorpe

Morris was named interim head coach on Sept. 8 after serving as an assistant at Oglethorpe from 2017-19. He spent the 2020 season as an assistant at York. Morris graduated after a four-year career at Shorter University, where he also spent a season as an assistant coach. 

Brandon Sewell, LaGrange

Sewell guided LaGrange College in its inaugural season in 2020. Before arriving at LaGrange, Sewell was an assistant coach at Huntingdon College (2017-18) and led the Hawks to a second-round appearance in the NCAA tournament after winning the 2018 USA South Championship. While playing at Huntingdon (2012-15), Sewell broke the program’s all-time records for points, assists, ground balls and faceoffs won.

Dwayne Stewart, SUNY New Paltz

Stewart led SUNY New Paltz in its inaugural season in 2020. Previously, Stewart was an assistant coach at Lincoln Memorial and guided the Railsplitters offensive to consecutive top-five statistical finishes and top-ten extra man unit rankings. As a player at Albany, Stewart earned 2010 America East All-Rookie honors. Stewart also competed in the 2018 FIL World Championships as a member of the Jamaican national team.

Nat St. Laurent, Ohio Northern

St. Laurent has served Ohio Northern as its first head coach since 2016. In 2018, Ohio Northern won its first regular season championship while finishing a program-best 14-3 record. In 2019, St. Laurent led the Polar Bears to their first OAC tournament title. St. Laurent also serves as head coach of the PLL’s Redwoods Lacrosse Club.


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