Former Michigan Lacrosse Coach, John Paul, gets professional lacrosse head coaching position

Submitted by twotrueblue on December 11th, 2018 at 6:56 PM

John Paul, the first ever coach of Michigan Varsity Lacrosse, has supposedly accepted a head coaching job in the PLL, the Premier Lacrosse League. This is a new league starting in 2019 featuring the best players in the sport including names like Paul Rabil, Tom Schreiber, Kyle Harrison, Brodie Merrill, Myles Jones, and Michigan's current assistant coach, Justin Turri.

What's different about this league? It's veering from the traditional franchise model. The MLL, Major League Lacrosse, has 9 teams in cities around the US including Dallas, Denver, NYC, Boston, Columbus, Charlotte, Atlanta, Miami, and Baltimore. In the PLL's model, teams will not be bound to cities, but travel from city to city. It's similar concept to those 3v3 basketball leagues in the summer, and the $1 Million ESPN Basketball Tournament. The PLL will be holding games in 12 different cities over the course of its 14-week season.

The PLL will have six teams competing each weekend, and we know now John Paul will be one of the coaches for those teams. Good to see that he didn't give up on the sport and continued to stay involved with the sport after UM let him go last spring. Hopefully it pays off for him.

For those who don't follow lacrosse, what do you think of this touring model for professional sports? Do you think it could ever replace the current franchise model?



December 11th, 2018 at 7:10 PM ^

Now, I’m washing lettuce. Soon I’ll be on fries. In a year or two, I’ll be a head coach in the PLL, and that’s when the big bucks start rolling in...


December 11th, 2018 at 7:29 PM ^

Sounds similar to the old barnstorming baseball leagues back in the 20s.  Interesting idea, and a good way to drum up interest in the sport, though it could be hard to build a real team or league loyalty.  But as an attraction, would definitely be interested in going to see if they're in my town.  


December 11th, 2018 at 7:51 PM ^

Congrats to JP.  He is a class act.  The way he supported the players and team even after he was out showed a lot of class.  I'm really happy for him.

I'm curious how this league does.  If they came to Detroit I would go see a game.  I don't think its sustainable for the sport to ever really take off as you won't develop a local fanbase. But as a way of drumming up interest and getting out to see all the (limited) fans I think it's a good short term solution. 


December 11th, 2018 at 8:18 PM ^

In a way - WWE is a barn-storming sport. One of the advantages of team sports is they naturally have to root themselves somewhere, but for sports that don't have huge followings this is a smart way to drum up support. I think the franchise model builds a cultural loyalty but first it needs to have enough of a fanbase for that to work.

So - short term smart move. I'm sure if lax gets more popular, the MLL will be the answer.


December 11th, 2018 at 10:32 PM ^

Interesting idea.  If they decide to use a red, white and blue ball and have a three-point shot line in addition to the MLL's two-point shot line, then it'll seem somewhat like when the ABA built some strong teams in regions outside the NBA footprint in order to lead to the NBA-ABA merger.

The popularity of lacrosse has been growing at the youth and high school levels where kids who are used to playing hard-hitting and fast-paced sports during the fall and winter (football, soccer, hockey, wrestling) have given up on the slow pace of baseball and turned to lacrosse in the spring. Bringing the professional game to areas where it's not often seen can't hurt for the sport's future.


December 12th, 2018 at 8:56 AM ^

It works in basketball because a LOT of NBA fans are just that - NBA fans.  They glom on to superstars and have an array of jerseys from Shaq and Iverson to Steph and KD.  They may not even have a favorite team, just favorite players.  They're more interested in the names on the back of the jersey and will watch them regardless of what name is on the front.  Could be Chicago, Boston, or SuperPrimeDynastyPlayaz.

Lacrosse fans might feel the same, but there aren't enough of them to make barnstorming a big thing and attract new fans to the sport.