Category Archives: Players

Introducing Austin Heaton, Director of Player Development and Operations

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I am pleased to announce that Austin Heaton will be joining our Team as Director of Player Development and Operations.  Austin is a US Lacrosse Level 1 certified coach and will also be the Offensive Coordinator/Goalie Coach for Dunwoody High School.

Austin Heaton began his lacrosse career during the 4th grade with Atlanta Youth Lacrosse. He found his niche early on playing both Attack and Midfield at the youth level and in turn, played both Attack and Midfield as he grew into the competitive level.  Austin played for The Lovett School for 3 years at the Varsity level.  Injuries forced Austin to switch to the Goalie position for his senior year.  In 2009, Austin was voted as 2nd Team All-State as a Goalie for his lone season at the position.  Austin is a Two-Time State Champion, winning Championships in both his Junior and Senior seasons.

Continuing his studies at The University of Mississippi, Austin played for the Ole Miss Club team for his freshman year in 2009-2010.  Beyond his day-to-day duties, Austin acts as provisional Director whenever Lou or Mary Jo are away from the fields. He is also the Head Coach for the Regional Coyotes.

Austin’s long-standing passion for the game and developing Atlanta’s youth into both players and young men is what makes him show up day in and day out. “Growing up, I always thought that the young men and counselor’s teaching me in the sport were the coolest guys around.  I always looked up to them.” Austin now reciprocates that feeling of appreciation and gratitude by helping teach and guide those younger than him with his vast IQ of the game.

Mary Jo and I have known Austin and his family since he was a young player and I am thrilled that we will be working so close together developing players for Atlanta Youth Lacrosse.

See ya on the field…Mary Jo and Coach Lou

KIDS HELPING KIDS

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For those of you that do not know about our STAR (Students That Accept Responsibility) take a look at this terrific article about the Tidewater Lacrosse program.  http://www.uslacrosse.org/blog/youthful-ambassadors-spreading-lacrosse-goodwill

This year will mark the 18th time I will speaking at the US Lacrosse National Convention in Baltimore.  I will be presenting our STAR program which was the brainchild of my wife Mary Jo 10 years ago.  The STAR program much like the Tidewater youth ambassadors (mentioned in the above article) is something that young people can wrap their arms around and help others.  Our STAR’s are committed young men/women who want to help spread the great game of lacrosse.

About the STAR program:

Our STAR’s are upstanding members of the community that recognize the value of volunteering their time and energy to provide a wonderful experience to everyone who comes out to enjoy lacrosse. As the name implies, we cultivate a culture of responsibility at our fields where our volunteers are expected to show up on time, work hard, engage with the players and coaches, assume leadership roles and, most importantly, have fun.

The Intangibles

  • S.T.A.R.s learn how to behave professionally in a work environment
  • They learn how to properly communicate their availability through e-mail
  • As our S.T.A.R.s grow older their responsibilities grow as well.
  • S.T.A.R.s learn how to use criticism to their advantage because occasionally mistakes will happen. We do not shy from critiquing the work of any S.T.A.R. but we do provide an environment where mistakes are okay because they are the only way to learn.

Volunteer Hours

Many schools in Georgia require volunteer hours, many colleges like seeing applicants who have volunteered in their community. Our S.T.A.R. program provides ample opportunities for students to accumulate  volunteer hours along with the potential to earn a paycheck.

S.T.A.R.s are a very visible part of our lacrosse program and they understand that their actions while working reflect the character of Atlanta Youth Lacrosse.
We expect all of our volunteers to respect players, parents, and their fellow volunteers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And another reason why we coach

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Over the years people have asked me why I coach.  A good deal of my answers revolve around the fun I have watching young people excel at something that they are passionate about.

It could be the first time they pick up a ground ball, score their first goal, make a nice check or a great save.  Sometimes it is the thrill of being in a close game and trying to make all the correct decisions to give your team the chance to succeed.

It could be achieving a team goal or a championship.  I have coached at every level (except pro) and I have seen wonderful things on and off the field.

This past weekend in the town of Farmville, Virginia, Legendary Hampden  Sydney Head Coach Ray Rostan bid farewell to his last senior class.  The importance of this day did not go unnoticed by people that are involved in our great game.

This marks the 37th year that coach Rostan has patrolled the sidelines, 31 years for the Hampden Sydney Tigers.  Coach Ray has amassed over 300 wins in his career and he decided this year he would retire.  By way of the Facebook posts I have seen the last few days there looked like hundreds of former players attended Coach Ray’s last home game before competing in the ODAC, NCAA qualifying tournament.  They defeated a very good and nationally ranked Lynchburg team (last years NCAA runner-ups) 13-9.

I first met Coach Ray at the US Lacrosse Convention some ten years ago.  As one of the convention committee chairs I was responsible for getting coaches to speak at the national event.  I had spoken with coach several times over the phone and we hit it off right away.  Could it be that he was from Copiague, Long Island and I was from West Babylon (bitter rivals) or that he coached several of my players (Bobby Fulton, David Beman, Brad Mostowy) and guys I coached with (John Pritzlaff & Ryan Harrington).

I asked Coach what he wanted to talk about and he said how about shooting.  Now mind you we had several professional players that were going to talk about shooting so I was a little hesitant to have another shooting presentation.  But I said sure that’s fine coach.  Coach Ray brought his long time assistant Jay (who happens to be his son) and they put on a shooting display that people still talk about today.  Coach Ray was happy to rip corners and put balls where ever he wanted.  Not only was he a great speaker but he was able to demonstrate the art of shooting a lacrosse ball in layman’s terms and everyone that was in attendance were very impressed.

Coach Ray is just a genuine all and all good guy.  He always takes your call he answers emails (sometimes not timely) and is always there if you need him for any reason.  Not only did he impact many players during his career but he impacted many Moms and Dads and siblings.

So to answer my question Why do I coach?  It’s because of guys like Ray Rostan who don’t do it for fanfare, prestige, money or fame.  They do it because they want to make a positive impact on young people’s lives.  Coach Ray is a DIAMOND in the rough and we will all miss him a great deal.

From one Coach to another…THANK YOU COACH RAY you have blessed all of us.

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