MJ: Colorado College Wears Locker's Legacy
The presence of the Colorado College lacrosse team in this year's NCAA tournament is attributable to many factors and many people -- the current players and coach being foremost among them. When the history books are written about the genesis of competitive western collegiate lacrosse, however, it will be Doug Locker who is credited.
The current vice president and general manager for the Washington Stealth of the NLL, Locker showed everyone that lacrosse outside of the traditional hotbeds was possible when he built Whittier (Calif.) into a dangerous NCAA tournament team in the early 2000s, advancing as far as the national semifinals in 2003.
As Colorado College prepares to take on Roanoke today, they will literally have a piece of Locker's legacy to their credit. On Saturday, the Tigers won the first-ever Stabler-Locker Cup, named after for CC coach Doc Stabler and Locker, which is the prize for the now yearly meeting between Whittier and Colorado College.
"I'm honored and humbled to have this particular game played on annual basis, and played for a trophy named after both of us," said Locker. "Whittier versus Colorado College has always been a terrific rivalry and a symbolic game for the growth of the sport out West."
While Colorado College is the latest incarnation of Locker's legacy, there is no question about his allegiance.
"I have a very soft spot in my heart for the Poets," said Locker, who has helped guide the Stealth to the NLL championship game on Sunday that will be aired live on Versus at 2 p.m. "I spent some of the greatest years of my life at Whittier and follow how they are doing weekly. Brian Kelly is doing a terrific job, we talk often, and I'm very proud of the work his doing to keep Whittier lacrosse in the minds of people at the national level."
It could be argued that Whittier has been out of the NCAA tournament mix for so long because of Locker's success. The SCAC automatic qualifier this year and the Midwest Lacrosse Conference next year have emerged in no small part to Locker creating the foundation for successful western lacrosse.
All things considered, it should probably be called the Locker-Stabler Cup.
"I'm absolutely fine with however it reads -- I'm just proud to be associated in this way with two schools who made an effort and had such great vision to recognize lacrosse at the NCAA level so many years ago."
Despite Locker's allegiance, the Tigers should wear his legacy with pride today.