Hope College will be starting their first year as a Division III program next spring after eight years in the MCLA. Leading the Flying Dutchmen will be Head Coach Michael Schanhals. Michael played goalie and attack at Hope and was a captain in 1990. He has coached top notch high school programs at East Grand Rapids and Grand Haven until being hired by Hope at the beginning of the 2005 season.
Hope won the Central Division in 2010 and Schanhals was the CCLA Coach of the Year in 2009.
I had a chance to talk with Coach Schanhals about the Hope program:
What’s the history of the Hope program? When did it start?
Hope has had a program since 1974. It is the second oldest program in the state behind the University of Michigan. We have a strong tradition and have alumni continuing to grow the game by serving as coaches in several other states as well as Michigan. The alumni support at Hope is a big asset to our program.
How did the decision to go from a club program to Div. III come about?
Eight years ago I was hired to lead the program into the MCLA, and as our natural conference (the MIAA) looked to add lacrosse, the discussions began to elevate our status to NCAA DIII. It is a great fit for us. School is first, and then we play ball.
What are the challenges in making such a move?
Organizing our recruiting efforts has been the biggest challenge, without Jamie DeWitt in our Athletic Office it would have been even tougher. When competing in the MCLA, I typically had a dozen or so serious recruits, and once the announcement was made of our move to NCAA play my database was jammed with over 300 potential players. We have worked hard to communicate the goals of our program and to bring in quality student-athletes.
What are the immediate goals of the program?
We want to be immediately competitive in the MIAA, and to compete with class while enjoying the sport of lacrosse. I want our players to have a great experience and we work hard to make things challenging and fun.
How has the school been in terms of backing?
Hope has been very supportive in all aspects of developing our program. We have beautiful facilities and an excellent educational environment. We signed an exclusive STX equipment contract and our players will be completely outfitted as we begin NCAA play. Hope College is committed to providing an excellent lacrosse experience for our student-athletes.
Who will you play in the 2013 season?
We are looking forward to playing our traditional rivals in the MIAA, and we have out-of-conference games vs. teams including Carthage, Bethany, Baldwin-Wallace, Hendrix, and Wilmington.
Schools of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association include:
Adrian, Alma, Albion, Calvin, Kalamazoo, Olivet, Saint Mary’s, Trine and Hope.
What type of facilities do you have? Where will the games be played?
Our home games are played in beautiful Van Andel Stadium. Our weight training facilities are in the DeVos Field house.
For a look at the stadium, go to:
How has recruiting been going?
Recruiting has been going well. We have a nice group of 18 incoming players from five different states who will compete with our returning players for 28 roster spots. I will be on the road this summer at a variety of recruiting events including the Adrenaline Black Card Showcase, and Top 205 West in Boulder, Co. It should be a fun summer.
What type of player are you looking for?
We are looking for serious student-athletes who want to work to become better lacrosse players in their four years at Hope. I also appreciate people with a sense of humor, who get along well with their teammates, and want to enjoy playing the game every day. I love lacrosse and can’t wait to get to practice every day… I hope that our players share my enthusiasm for the game.
How can a player contact you and what should they have prepared for you?
Potential student-athletes should research Hope at www.hope.edu and see if it is a good fit for their priorities and academic interests. When doing my initial assessment of a recruit I check their admissibility (3.8 or better GPA and 28 ACT averages) and I like to see a short film clip. I am looking at footwork, ground ball play, stick handling, shooting and passing. I also enjoy watching summer ball… you can tell a great deal about a recruit by how hard they play in the summer. Please fill out a prospective player form:
Any questions can be directed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks Coach for the time and good luck this summer on the recruiting trail.