Lacrosse Magazine's Person of the Year
With leaves changing colors and a bit more nip in the air, it's time to begin the discussion of who might be Lacrosse Magazine's Person of the Year for 2014 — and there are several worthy candidates.
In years past, these discussions have been held in-house, at some lengthy meetings where we hash out who has done great things in the game, and attempt to come to a consensus on who most deserves the honor among a distinguished crowd. We've done that again, but we'd like to hear from our readers as well. Who do you think has earned the title in 2014?
Below is a rundown of the people that we've had in our discussion thus far. Who makes the grade for you? Or do you have someone else you'd like to nominate? Let us know by voting or leaving comments, and we'll announce the winner upon the release of our December 2014 issue!
2014 Person of the Year Candidates
The following are presented in alphabetical order.
Who, you might ask? Sean Bratches is an executive vice president of sales and marketing at ESPN, and was one of the key figures in the huge number of games that fans were able to watch from this summer's FIL World Championship on the ESPN family of networks, both broadcast and online. While having experienced broadcasters like Quint Kessenich in the sport certainly helped the case, the fact remains that more games were available from this world championship event than any in the history of the sport, and it took Bratches' buying into US Lacrosse's efforts to get as many games out there for fans for that to happen.
A bit esoteric, but the debate rages on regarding whether or not the shot clock will be a part of the future of lacrosse, and whether that will be a good or a bad thing. The NCAA men's rules committee stopped short of implementing a basketball-style shot clock for 2015, instead opting for the incremental change of making the "timer-on" countdown in a stall situation an actual 30-second clock visible on the field. Will that pave the way for a more MLL-style clock in the future starting on change of possession? We'll see.
As a sophomore, Cummings was all-everything for the NCAA champion Maryland women, scoring 63 goals to go along with 128 draw controls, 37 ground balls and 30 caused turnovers, leading the Terps in all of those categories. She also added 24 assists and got the better of Syracuse's Kayla Treanor in a championship game showdown of the nation's two best players. For that, the U.S. national teamer became the first female player to take home the Tewaaraton Award as a sophomore and the first since Mikey Powell took the first of his two awards way back in 2002.
A tremendous story and world-class player, Carroll was a defensive stalwart for Duke's second straight NCAA title and third in five years. A player on Duke's 2006 team that had its season ended after allegations of sexual assault that were later proved false, Carroll served as an Army Ranger for several years before returning to campus to earn a graduate degree. Armed with a year of extra eligibility, the 29-year-old Carroll returned to the field for the Blue Devils and provided a veteran (pun unintended) presence on the back end and an inspirational story for Memorial Day weekend.
A seeming zen master of the game, Danowski, who was LM's inaugural Person of the Year in 2007, guided Duke to its second straight NCAA crown and third this decade. Along the way, his team took its usual early-season lumps, but was once again a well-oiled machine when tournament time came around. Plus, he gave us this video from his team's ACC title celebration.
A former Louisville player, Dixon was integral in the Dream 2014 campaign that helped bring Uganda to the FIL World Championship -- the first African nation to participate in the tournament's history. An associate director for Fields of Growth International, Dixon helped build the development plan for Uganda and helped shepherd the team to Denver, where it was the darling of the lacrosse world.
Any time a conference like the Big Ten becomes involved in the sport of lacrosse, it's huge for the sport's potential gains, given the resources that schools committ to the sport at that level. And with Johns Hopkins joining as an associate member on the men's side (the women are independent for now), the Big Ten will be one of the premier conferences in the sport right from the start. Delaney, as commissioner, oversaw the process.
It's just as controversial as the shot clock, depending on whom you talk to, but the Florida High School Athletic Association board's decision to mandate head protection in women's lacrosse this spring has drawn further attention to US Lacrosse's efforts to develop and implement a standard for that gear for the game. The FHSAA recently agreed to adopt that standard once available and also became the first state governing body to mandate that all of its officials be US Lacrosse-certified.
John Grant Jr.
There isn't much that Grant hasn't done in the game, but his lengthy career saw a strange twist this summer, as his application for a theraputic use exemption for medically proscribed testosterone was denied, leaving him off the field for Canada's FIL World Championship run. Grant assisted with the team's offensive coaching alongside Matt Brown, helping his team to a gold medal the only way he could. Soon after, Grant went on a tear in the MLL, leading the Denver Outlaws to their first-ever title as championship game MVP.
His history may be in upstate New York, but Powell's work now has him growing the game in Florida, where he both coaches and had yet another amazing year on the field, winning Coca Cola MVP honors after leading the expansion Launch and the MLL with 63 points, leaving him with an all-time best 468.
Guiding Maryland to the NCAA women's title with an almost-perfect, one-loss season, Reese earned the IWLCA's National Coach of the Year award for Division I. In winning her second NCAA title as a head coach (and ninth overall, with four as a player and another three as an assistant to Cindy Timchal with the Terps), Reese's team went 23-1 and outscored opponents 350-191, with two of her players (Megan Douty and winner Taylor Cummings) earning finalist spots in the Tewaaraton Award race. Moreover, Reese's teams are universally praised for their sportsmanship and winning the right way. She has become one of the sport's central ambassadors.
If only her on-field exploits were considered, Sileo would still be in this conversation after leading all of NCAA women's lacrosse in assists (89) and points (144) for the NCAA Division II semifinalst LIU Post. Along the way, she set the all-time NCAA career points record for all of women's lacrosse. But with a 4.0 GPA and a strong record of service projects, Sileo is among nine finalists for the NCAA's Woman of the Year award, which will be announced at a banquet this week.
The architect of a growing Shootout for Soldiers event which raised $175,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project in its 24 hours of lacrosse this summer in Maryland and one of the key figures in the development of lacrosse in Uganda, Steinhardt has become a fixture in this discussion in recent years despite his youth. Team Uganda's general manager just began his junior year at American University.
Where do we even begin? First, the debate splits here because we discussed how to even include them in the discussion. Is it about the Thompsons — the whole family from father Jerome Sr. down to cousin Ty? Is it Lyle and Miles Thompson as first-ever co-winners of the Tewaaraton Award? Is it Lyle as the generally agreed-upon preseason Player of the Year for 2015 and proverbial straw that stirs the drink of the Albany offense that also featured Miles and Ty? However you want to break it down, the Thompson family played a major role in the lacrosse world in 2014.
The backstop of Canada's run to FIL gold, Ward earned All-World status after helping stymie the U.S. in the final. He paid homage to his predecessor, the late Chris Sanderson, a three-time All-World goalie for Canada, by donning jean jacket during post-game celebrations in Denver. Ward, a 2013 Bellarmine graduate, also had a stellar NLL season, finishing as runner-up choice for Rookie of the Year with a .773 save percentage and earning a five-year contract extension from the Colorado Mammoth.
In spite of it being a non-competition year for the U.S. women's national team, the all-world goalkeeper made major headlines in 2014 by becoming the first female player to make a Major League Lacrosse roster, earning a spot on the Long Island Lizards' practice squad after a solid performance at training camp prior to the season. She never saw time in a game, but the USC assistant and two-time gold medalist certainly deserved a spot in this conversation either way.
2013 Honoree: Lindsey Munday
Lacrosse Magazine is happy to announce Team USA women's lacrosse captain and USC women's head coach Lindsey Munday as its choice for 2013 Person of the Year.
A fixture for the past two FIL World Cup championship teams for the U.S. Women, Munday served as sole captain for the squad in Oshawa, Ontario this summer, leading a record-breaking group and making her second All-World team.
Beyond her on-field excellence, Munday has been a top coach as well, finishing her first season as a head coach at the University of Southern California this spring after serving as an assistant at her alma mater Northwestern under previous Person of the Year winner Kelly Amonte Hiller.
Soft spoken but tremendously well respected, Munday has risen to the forefront of women's lacrosse as a strong leader and example of how to play and teach the game properly for players and fans.
Read more about our 2013 honoree here:
Previous Person of the Year Award Winners
2007: Duke coach John Danowski
2011: Michigan coach John Paul
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