PHOTO COURTESY OF MARCUS CRAIGWELL

Blaxers Blog: Marcus Craigwell Implementing Positive Culture at BC High


A poised focus requires limited distractions and total confidence. Setbacks often teach us how to capitalize from mistakes while maintaining focus.

Boston College High School head coach Marcus Craigwell is looking to sharpen his program after finishing as Massachusetts state finalists.

“Resilience means executing at a high level regardless of the circumstances or adversities you encounter,” Craigwell said.

Fueled by those he encountered in life, Craigwell aspires to achieve greatness with his competitive spirit.

“Some people have set the blueprint to greatness, and I want to replicate that as a coach,” Craigwell said. “I know that placing my players in the best position to succeed can propel us further.”

MARCUS CRAIGWELL

Hometown: Boston, Mass.
College: Hobart (2006-09)
High School: Kent School (Conn.), Weston (Mass.)

Notable Accolades:

  • Boston College HS boy’s head coach (2019-pres.)

  • 2018 DCL Coach of the Year

  • 2014 DCL Assistant Coach of the Year


“I loved the athleticism of the sport and got hooked once my talents got better.”

— Marcus Craigwell


LATE BLOOMER

As a freshman in 2000, Craigwell grew tired of running track. A friend suggested his talents was best suited for lacrosse and lent him some equipment. The sport’s crossover appeal enticed him to become a three-sport athlete while attending Weston High School.

“Initially, mastering stick skills was challenging,” Craigwell said. “I loved the athleticism of the sport and got hooked once my talents got better.”

Craigwell grew up in a competitive family, as his twin brother Miles was a wide receiver at Brown who transitioned into a rugby wing on the United States national sevens team.

Their father Mark was a former Tufts basketball captain who later played professionally in Paraguay.

Their older siblings, Miranda and Noah, played basketball at Brown and DePaul, respectively, while their younger sister Bianca was an UMBC volleyball player.

As a senior in 2004, Craigwell became Weston’s captain and offensive MVP. After matriculating, Craigwell played a post-graduate season at the Kent School in 2005.

“Kent School was a great experience that prepared me academically and allowed me to play against top competition,” Craigwell said. “It was the first time I was on a team with college commits and the caliber of talent was crazy. Kent made me elevate my game while showing more accountability.”

After a 10-4 season at Kent School, Craigwell focused his sights toward the collegiate ranks. He wanted to attend a school with a fair balance between academics and athletics. Due to the intimate settings of Weston and Kent, Craigwell sought to continue at a smaller institution with a big lacrosse program.

After enjoying his on-campus visit and narrowing his search, Hobart reigned supreme, as the college checked all his boxes. He admitted his decision was a quick process despite offers from several Division III programs.

“In terms of practice times and study hall sessions, we had a pretty strict structure,” Craigwell said. “The academic and athletic balance at Kent prepared me well for Hobart.”

During his summers away from Hobart, he coached at MetroLacrosse, where he later became the high school program manager (2009-11). In 2009, Craigwell graduated with his Bachelor of Psychology degree. He owes his connection between non-profit and Hobart toward landing his first post-collegiate job.

In 2013, Craigwell became a founding member of the Sankofa Lacrosse Alliance Ambassadors, who scrimmaged Brown and English national team.








ART OF COACHING

Coaching lacrosse requires the intangibles to focus. According to Craigwell, the ability to build player trust and foster relationships outside of the sport are essentials each successful coach possesses.

For Craigwell, the most enjoyable part of being a coach is implementing strategies with players and viewing their execution during games.

“I love seeing their success as they overcome their adversities with my instruction,” Craigwell said. “At Hobart, I was a player who continued to grind for playing time while understanding the game after being a late-blooming freshman at Weston. I think I was a better Division I athlete than a lacrosse player, which forced me to learn the fundamentals by asking questions. As I studied coaching techniques and systems, I learned to better understand my players.”

Coaching consists of mentorship qualities that makes longstanding impacts onto players. Craigwell explained how his father remains his biggest mentor and how he shaped his coaching career.

“My father cemented passion and the fierce mindset into my siblings and I,” Craigwell said. “He knew what it took to grind coming from a Division III school and showed me how to compete with the big dogs. The will to win and getting your hands dirty triumphs over excuse making.”

While working with MetroLacrosse, it was important for Craigwell to deliver lacrosse within Boston’s city limits. In 2018, MetroLacrosse merged into Harlem Lacrosse-Boston’s program.

“Living in Boston all of my life, I realized that picking up lacrosse earlier would’ve progressed my game further,” Craigwell said. “It was imperative to immediately give back to the community I was from, as it molded my coaching career. Working for a non-profit requires you to put in more hours than usual. Passion was more of a driving force than money.”

For children of color, coaches like Craigwell foster confidence and assurance in their lives. As Metro Lacrosse’s high school program manager, he ensured a smooth operation by leading the boys’ team while creating schedules and booking tournaments. Due to the lack of varsity high school teams within the Boston public school system, the club programs filled the competitive void by playing as independents against neighboring towns.

He passed on some words of wisdom for aspiring coaches to build upon.

“It doesn’t have to be the top and worst programs, you got to start somewhere while building your own culture,” Craigwell said. “Taking a leap of faith takes courage. For coaches of color, we belong here as much as any other coach. Even if you think you’re underqualified for a position, get your hat into the mix. We represent ourselves and push ourselves to be more involved.”

From 2010-15, Craigwell served as a program manager with Royal Lacrosse, a New England based club program. His duties entailed recruiting, coaching the top team and managing day-to-day operations.

In 2015, he co-founded Titletown Lacrosse, a travel program based out of Massachusetts.

“Club impacts a lot of recruiting, as kids play year-round now,” Craigwell said. “Our club isn’t too expensive and operates as a B-level team that offers proper instruction. We wanted get kids who got overlooked by other clubs.”




PHOTO COURTESY OF MARCUS CRAIGWELL


EYE ON THE PRIZE

In 2013, Craigwell joined Wayland High School as a defensive coordinator, and the Warriors suffocated opponents into a 4.0 goals against average. Massachusetts’ top defense would finish with a 19-4 record.

After the 2014 and 2015 campaigns, he improved his assistant record to 50-16. Craigwell was promoted to head coach in 2016 and guided the Warriors to a 40-18 record over the next two seasons.

Craigwell described his stout defensive team as fun due to their creative abilities. The defenders moved in sync as they implemented slide packages.

Two weeks before the 2019 season began, Craigwell was selected to lead defending Massachusetts state champion Boston College High School. With limited time to install his system and bond with players, he guided the Eagles to the state quarterfinals and a 12-9 record.

Despite the 2020 season being canceled, Craigwell used 2019’s momentum as fuel during the pandemic. 

In 2021, he willed the program with 2019’s momentum into a 14-4 record and a state championship game appearance.

“I implemented a culture of no one person is bigger than the next,” Craigwell said. “Our brotherhood mentality allowed us to play hero ball without arrogance. People want to play for each other when keeping that mindset.”

Craigwell believes that Boston’s lacrosse growth is trending in the right direction as more schools add the sport while opening additional recruiting opportunities.

“Lacrosse is the sport of the future,” Craigwell said. “Kids aspire to play in the PLL one day as the league grows.”