by Murray Kastner
Four years ago, the Millsaps men’s lacrosse team was a first-year program and barely had enough players to field a team. They have gone through ups and downs, but now have a core group of senior leaders and are looking to continue their steady improvement.
The Majors finished last year with their best record in school history and had four players on the SAA’s All-Conference Honorable Mention list. With Chris Hood, Kirk Clark and Hunter Stevison returning for their final year, all signs looked toward the Majors having another successful season. However, Head Coach Luke Beam unexpectedly decided to leave the program to take a coaching position at his alma mater, Messiah College. This left the team without a coach weeks before school started.
Shocked by their coach’s departure, the returning Majors moved on and are looking to start a new chapter of Millsaps Lacrosse. “It was a little weird at first, but we understand that it is his job and ultimately his professional decision. We have been working out really hard together as a team,” explains Junior Attackman Scott Budd. The entire team decided to take it upon themselves to push each other in twice daily pre-season workouts, even with no coach to provide any type of guidance. They are dedicated to having another successful season.
After weeks of helping interview potential coaches, the Majors finally found the new coach that would lead them this upcoming season. With Jon Hoeffler as the new head coach, the team is eager to get started. Senior Midfielder Ryan McKay notes, “He is young, energetic and wants to win right away. You can expect a more up-tempo offensive team this upcoming season. It is a new team and a new year and we are excited to compete for a conference championship.”
Although their official season doesn’t start until January, the team is still shedding their sweat and blood every day to build the program into a landmark for Mississippi lacrosse. Four years ago, the program was at the bottom of the conference. Hard work from seniors like Julien Speyer, Kevin Tighe and Kobie Baus has the Majors ready to compete with the top of the SAA. The Millsaps men’s lacrosse team is a true example of the old adage “hard work pays off.” Look for them to do big things once the season rolls around.