Boston University Athletic Director Mike Lynch introduced Ryan Polley as the new men’s lacrosse coach at Agganis Arena on Thursday. Lynch had announced that Polley would be the first coach of the new men’s lacrosse program on June 20, but the rest of BU athletics got their first looks at Polley at the reception.
Polley, who was a two-time Division II Coach of the year with Merrimack College, said he was thrilled with the opportunity to build a winning program in Boston.
“I’m ecstatic,” Polley said. “It is a tremendous opportunity. Going to the Patriot League is very exciting from a standpoint of competitiveness. It’s a great conference with great lacrosse, and I just can’t wait to kind of get here and get started and just kind of build a program from scratch.”
Building from scratch was one of the things that brought Polley to BU, as the former Yale University assistant coach said he was prepared to take the necessary steps to build a winning program on Commonwealth Avenue.
“I just think it’s figuring out there is a right way to do things,” Polley said. “Bringing in a large number or a large recruiting class is challenging. We are starting a little late on the 2013 class but the great thing about lacrosse is that it is a growing sport and there are still a lot of great players out there. So we are trying to secure the best remaining available players. And then we will get right on to the 2014s and the 2015s.”
Polley said he thinks BU is a good spot to recruit incoming student-athletes thanks to Lacrosse’s recent popularity increase in the area – an area that the former Andover high school girls’ lacrosse coach knows well.
“I think the location played a big part just because it is a very attractive place for student-athletes,” Polley said. “It’s very well sought after by prospective student-athletes, and it’s a desirable location to come. Kind of right away the interest level has been through the roof. I think it’s the location and the hotbed of Massachusetts lacrosse in Boston in general is really going to play to our benefit.”
With only one other school in Boston to recruit against (Harvard University), Polley noted that BU will likely become one of the top options for local lacrosse talent.
“There is just not a lot to choose from,” Polley said. “If you want to go to school in Boston and you want to play Division I right now you only have Harvard. If you want to consider UMass you can, but that is still an hour away and that is out in Amherst . . . . That is kind of our goal, to get to that level and start competing with them for recruits and start securing those recruits.”
While Polley will be recruiting a lot of young players to join the inaugural squad, he has the club team as a resource to build that team with some older talent.
“I think we will pull as many that are capable Division I players, that are going to buy into what we do from a time, from a workout prospective in practicing six days per week – it is going to be a little bit of an increase in commitment level,” Polley said. “But if they are good enough and they want to buy into that and they are going to be good teammates, absolutely they are going to have the opportunity to make the team.”
When the team is finally prepared for action in 2013, Polley knows it is likely unrealistic for his first team to be an immediate champion. However, that does not mean he has low expectations from the start.
“I’d like to be competitive,” Polley said. “We are going to try to bring in the best possible class that we can, we are going to bring in the best staff that we can, we are going to work towards being competitive at first, but our expectation is to be good in very few years. It is a great league, but we want to bring in great players, and we think with what we are selling and kind of my vision of the program, I think we can do it in a very short time.”