Double Goals for New U.S. Indoor Coach Thorpe


Regy Thorpe, associate women's lacrosse coach at Syracuse, was named as the 2019 U.S. men's indoor team head coach on Wednesday.

The tagline for the 2015 Federation of International Lacrosse Men’s Indoor World Championship was “Lacrosse is Coming Home.”

The event was split between arenas on the Onondaga Reservation and nearby Syracuse, N.Y., in a celebration of the sport’s Native American origins. But it also brought the sport home to Regy Thorpe, a Syracuse-area native who was a captain on the 2007 U.S. indoor team that captured a bronze medal nearly a decade earlier.

“Watching the world games right in my hometown when I wasn’t involved, it just really fueled me,” Thorpe said. “I said if I ever get the chance, I’m going to go for this.”

Thorpe’s wait is over.

On Wednesday, US Lacrosse named Thorpe as the head coach for the U.S. team that will compete in the 2019 FIL indoor championship in British Columbia, Canada. But Thorpe’s charge is more than just trying to lead Team USA into the title game for the first time in the event’s history after four straight bronze-medal finishes.

“In making this hire, we were looking for a coach that can both be competitive in 2019 and help develop box lacrosse within US Lacrosse,” said Skip Lichtfuss, chair of the US Lacrosse Men’s National Team Subcommittee. “We think Regy has the experience, knowledge and reach to do both.”

Thorpe, now the associate women’s lacrosse coach at Syracuse, has a long connection to the indoor game. After helping Syracuse to the 1993 NCAA championship as a defensemen, Thorpe began a 15-year career with the Rochester Knighthawks of the National Lacrosse League. He helped the Knighthawks win NLL championships in 1997 and 2007 and served as the team’s general manager towards the end of his playing career.

“It’s such a pure game,” Thorpe said. “It’s fun to play, fun to watch and fun to coach. You have to always be on your toes.”

Thorpe has also coached some of the indoor game’s bright young talents in the highly-respected Ontario Junior A ranks, helping the Six Nations Arrows win the Minto Cup in 2007 as a head coach and in 2014 as an assistant coach.

“He grew up as a field player, but his experience as a player, coach and general manager in the indoor game goes back more than 20 years,” Lichtfuss said. “He has great insights into the U.S. players and our opponents. We all felt he was extremely prepared and has a strong sense of the direction he wants to go.”

How to build up the player pool in the U.S. system is one of the challenges Thorpe will work to address in the short term while helping to develop the long-term road map, but there’s little doubt to the benefits of the indoor version of the game. The success of Canadian and Native players in the collegiate field game in recent years has led to the introduction of box techniques and strategies at all levels.

“It used to just be the real good finisher inside,” Thorpe said, “but it’s evolved. The picks, seals, drags and working to get other teammates open are all a part of it. You see men’s and women’s lacrosse teams doing those things all the time.”

Thorpe’s enthusiasm for the indoor game was one of the reasons he was selected as the U.S. team head coach, and part of his own enthusiasm for his latest role in the sport was a result of the interview process.

“The seriousness of the selection committee and the commitment that US Lacrosse is showing towards wanting to grow the indoor game makes me feel good to be in this position,” Thorpe said. “It’s the right time.”

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