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posted 12.19.2011 at 9.00 a.m. by Paul Krome

January's US Lacrosse Convention Marks Milestone

We haven't mentioned this often in our materials regarding the 2012 US Lacrosse National Convention, presented by Champion, next month in Philadelphia, but the Jan. 13-15 event will mark a noteworthy anniversary.

Ten years ago, also in the City of Brotherly Love, US Lacrosse brought together coaches and officials from both the men's game and the women's game for a unified professional development event. While lacrosse organizations had hosted separate clinics for years, the 2002 US Lacrosse National Convention at the Philadelphia Marriott marked the first setting in which men's and women's lacrosse were showcased together.

"This convention was a significant move towards unifying the culture of our sport," US Lacrosse President and CEO Steve Stenersen said in the March 2002 edition of Lacrosse Magazine.

As a sport, we may not be united quite yet, but we've certainly come a long way. The convention embodies that, having evolved to welcome the youth of the game with the addition of Fan Fest on the Saturday of the convention weekend. In addition to an anticipated 3,000-3,500 lacrosse coaches, officials, trainers and administrators there to hone their respective crafts at the convention, expect another 1,500 or so lacrosse fans of all ages to descend on the Pennsylvania Convention Center for Fan Fest. You'll get demonstrations and autographs from U.S. national team players and the NLL's Philadelphia Wings and the latest and greatest lacrosse gear and apparel in a huge expo hall.

That's just one of a number of highlights of the convention weekend. A couple other nuggets to digest:

The speaker lineup for coaches is impressive. If you're a high school coach looking to learn from college coaches and network with them, you'll have access to some of the best. On the men's side, coaches like John Danowski from Duke, John Walker from Virginia and Jim Berkman from Salisbury. The women's side includes Kelly Amonte Hiller from Northwestern, Kerstin Kimel from Duke and Karin Brower Corbett from Penn, and that's before National Hall of Famers Bonnie Rosen (Temple) and Chris Sailer (Princeton). If you're a youth coach looking to learn from high school coaches, there will be plenty there as well.

If you wear the stripes, as I do (albeit in a different sport), you may strive for and appreciate anonymity. So you may or may not know names like Al Blau, Bob Curcio, Jen O'Donnell and Sue Diffenderfer, but they are some of the best in the business, and they'll be in Philly. We all recognize the need for quality officials to keep pace with the explosive growth of players in lacrosse. The convention will be a great place to raise your game.

There's plenty of other highlights about the convention, and you'll find them referenced on the convention homepage, Facebook and Twitter. There's one piece of big news that we can't announce just yet, but if your family and friends are asking you what they can get you as a stocking stuffer, tell them a Sharpie would come in very handy.

Register for the US Lacrosse National Convention before Dec. 28 for just $105, a savings of $45 on the walk-up price.