New Paltz Men’s Lacrosse has officially hired a new coach just in time for the upcoming spring 2023 season.
After a self-disciplined fall-ball season littered with Captain’s practices and minimally structured training, the Hawks have finally found a coach that suits their needs as a team. In a much anticipated effort to recruit a new coach, there was an intense interview process to ensure that the team feels comfortable and motivated to work with the new hire.
“We had five candidates come in. We interviewed the first three. It was pretty much a 50/50 vote on what coach we wanted. We really couldn’t decide,” said James Flanagan, second-year attackman. “We interviewed the fourth coach. Again, it was like 50/50. Some people liked them, some people didn’t.” Eventually, a fifth coach was interviewed and the decision was unanimous. “Dylan Neisler came in who was someone who already worked with some of the kids on the team. Everyone had positive things to say,” Flanagan stated.
Since Neisler has worked with some members of the team before, there is already a sense of familiarity between the coach and players. Flanagan said, “Our new head coach actually was an assistant coach for former coach, Coach Dwayne Stewart. They worked with each other and Dylan Neisler reflects some of the values of Coach Stewart, but he has his own spin on things.” The sense of familiarity with Neisler has been helping the team adjust more efficiently than if a new hire had no connection with the team initially. “It’s kind of like where Stuart left off, Dylan Neisler picked it up. It’s not too much of a change. So everyone’s happy with where we’re at,” Flanagan remarked.
To make up for lost time, the Hawks have been working daily to work on new training with Neisler as their newly official coach. “We’ve been doing an offense that’s new to a lot of people with our new coach,” Flanagan said. “We’ve been working every day of the week— Saturdays, Sundays, we’ve been cramming between finals and getting a coach so late so it’s been a pretty big adjustment period, but we’re looking good for the season.”
Neisler has only been working with the team for a couple weeks and with the semester winding down, there is only a short amount of time to prepare for the spring. “We’ve had off this Monday and Tuesday, but we’re back Wednesday till next Wednesday. So we have another week of practice,” said Flanagan. “We’ve gotten a lot so far. And the good thing about practicing this late is we don’t have that much time between our off-season and our actual season. So I’m sure we’ll be ready for our first game.”
Though practice time is coming down to the wire, morale is high and the team is optimistic for the future. “While we were interviewing our coaches, we got to hear about our schedule, and it’s a lot of games I think we could win,” says Flanagan. “I’m looking forward to really showcasing a better record than our previous season. I think this is our year to show what New Paltz lacrosse can be.”
As for the spring season, their first away game will be played on Feb. 25 against Utica. Their official schedule has been posted to the Hawks website, which will be updated with any changes moving forward.