Coach MacConnell

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I coach lacrosse because I love it. I have a very strong passion for the game and all that comes with coaching the sport. Being in a position where I am able to have a positive and meaningful relationship with the youth and my college players is my favorite aspect of coaching. While being the head coach of Young Harris College occupies the majority of my time, I still make it a priority to work with the youth throughout the year by doing different camps and clinics. I have a passion to grow the sport by teaching players both on and off the field which is why I enjoy coaching at the collegiate level so much. There are so many life lessons to be learned through being a member of a sports team at the collegiate level and competing alongside one another throughout the year. It’s the competition, speed of the game, team camaraderie, commitment, hard working mentality, intensity, drive in each player, personal development, passion, and sense of fulfillment. Those are just some of the things that I love about the sport.

Coaching at the collegiate level, it is all about the balance of academics, athletics, and social life. Before you can even step foot on the lacrosse field, the NCAA requires you to perform in the classroom. Playing college lacrosse provides a lot of structure in student-athletes lives. From weightlifting, conditioning, study hall, practice, and games to film study; lacrosse will occupy a good amount of your time but will also provide you with the resources needed to succeed and motivation to excel within the classroom. Being able to have lifelong relationships with all of the players that I coach and serving as a sort of mentor for them is something that I take a lot of pride in maintaining. Through this game, I have been able to build invaluable life long friendships and have had some incredible experiences along the way. I have been very fortunate to surround myself and learn from some of the most incredible players, teachers, and mentors in the game.

Being one of five kids growing up, there never lacked anyone to play some sort of game with. Often times, we had to use a bit of creativity and imagination, but there was always some sort of competition going on. Being competitive, creative, and a gamer are all traits that I’m sure will always stick with me which I’m proud of. Along with the games, I also played just about every sport having played soccer, football, and basketball the most growing up. I actually didn’t pick up my first lacrosse stick until my Freshman year at Cary High School which was the first year they added the sport. I played lacrosse and football in High School and ended up choosing to pursue lacrosse in college although I may have been a better football player at the time. Once I got to college at Lees-McRae, I was transitioned into a defensive midfielder where I would start every game except my first one where I got on for maybe 30 seconds. I guess you could say that not playing didn’t sit well with me so I worked a lot harder. We didn’t win too many games while I was at Lees-McRae but I definitely don’t regret my decision to go there as I was able to meet some of my closest lifelong friends and have my younger sister attend with me for a couple years. My freshmen year in college was when I knew that I wanted to pursue being a college lacrosse coach. I would line my summers up working Navy, Xcelerate, Birmingham Southern, UNC Chapel Hill, and all sorts of other camps, clinics, and club teams. This allowed me to travel to new places that I hadn’t been before and I didn’t know it at the time but I was doing a great job of networking within the lacrosse world.

After college, I coached middle school lacrosse back home at Cary Academy. The following year, I took a leap of faith and ended up with my first college coaching job up at D-III Bethany College up in West Virginia. I spent a season up there working with the offense and then moved back home where I coached as an assistant for the Cary Academy High School team. I thoroughly enjoyed my time working at Cary Academy but really missed the college level. That following summer, I ended up taking the job up at Young Harris College where I have been the Assistant Coach and Defensive Coordinator for the past three years. In the fall of 2016, I took over as Head Coach at Young Harris College and am thrilled to have such a great group of young men to work with.

Young Harris, GA has now been my home away from home for going on four years now. It is a very special place for me and I have had some incredible memories here. The most meaningful one of them all being that I proposed to my wife up top of Bell Mountain. She moved up here soon after and we had our wedding on June 11th, 2016. We currently live down the road from Young Harris and love the life that we live together. She is an eighth grade language arts teacher and cheer leading coach at the local middle school and I’m very proud of her. We enjoy traveling, cooking, going for walks, kayaking, playing games, and just hanging out with one another whenever she can pry me away from coaching. Where we are located up in the mountains, it’s like being in a play land for myself as I am a huge outdoors enthusiast. I enjoy backpacking, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, tubing, hiking, and all of that fun stuff. Both of my brothers, my dad, and me are all Eagle Scouts which has played a huge part in my upbringing and overall interests in life.

If I wasn’t a coach, I would want to be a teacher like my wife. Being able to be in a position where I’m able to have a positive impact on people and teach them about life is what I am passionate about. I definitely don’t plan on changing careers though as I love what I do and couldn’t see myself doing any other career at this point of my life.

Go Mountain Lions!

-Coach MacConnell