brown timberlands a Men’s Lacrosse Program
Utah laid a blueprint for how a Division I lacrosse program at a big time school can become a reality.
For the Utes, a big piece was David Neeleman, the founder of four commercial airlines in the United States, who’s donation was integral to Utah elevating to NCAA Division I. From our September issue cover story: “The beauty in Utah’s path is not simply the creation of a new Division I program, it’s also the creation of a blueprint for how other Division I programs can come into being. That blueprint is not simply ‘Throw money at the problem and everything will happen.’ It requires a multi faceted strategy and a boots on the ground leader.”
Will UConn be the next school to follow the blueprint? A major donor to the institution interrupted a speech he was giving at a news conference to make a quick pitch for DI men’s lacrosse. The video, posted on Facebook, was shared by The Growth Blog Twitter account, which does an excellent job tracking the explosion of the sport into new areas.
In the full video below, Peter Werth talks about entrepreneurship and his $22.5 million donation. It is the second biggest gift in UConn history. Werth founded ChemWerth Inc., a company that supplies and develops generic active pharmaceutical ingredients.
Scroll to 26:30 for the lacrosse portion.
“Someone’s gotta go down to Fairfield County to some of these rich people and come up with about $10 to $15 million to get a men’s lacrosse program. ” he said. “within three years you’ll have a national championship.”
UConn has a women’s lacrosse program, and starting in 2018 will be part of the newly formed American Athletic Conference. The men compete in the MCLA, and there was NCAA men’s lacrosse there until the early ’80s. It’s consistently one of those schools suspected and desired.
Back in 2013, IL Publisher Terry Foy wrote an excellent piece on the subject, “Why did they add men’s lacrosse?” that is worth revisiting in this discussion.
No matter what, folks talking about the prospect of men’s DI at brand name schools is exciting. And remember, UConn’s Rentschler Field will host the NCAA Championship Weekend in 2021 and ’22.