Describe the qualities that your program is looking for in a potential student-athlete?
When recruiting I look for several qualities. #1 for me is toughness. I want a player that is not afraid to hit, be hit and sell out for his teammates. Tough players are not afraid to work hard and push themselves, this is what leads me to #2. Players with a strong work ethic. Though sometimes this can not be recognized through watching them play only a couple times but this is when you contact their high school or club coach and find out about a player’s work ethic. It needs to be strong to compete and achieve success at a Division 1 level. Another indication is his grades. Competitive people are truly competitive in everything they do. We want our student athletes to put the same effort into school as they do in the classroom. In my opinion, you can teach players concepts and fundamentals. You need a desire and work ethic to improve on the fundamentals taught and a competitive edge to continue to get better.
Could you give an example of a current or former player who exceeded your expectations, highlighting the reasons that player excelled?
My best friend and former teammate Joe Reale, embodies the ideal tough, hard working, competitive student athlete. Joe was a captain with me in 2009 and is the ONLY walk-on captain in the 19 years of Coach Cannella being at UMass. Joe did not have the best fundamentals or lacrosse sense initially. But, he never stopped working hard and was tough enough to push himself harder then those around him. He continued to learn and improve because he put in more work then the talented players had done. Their complacency and Joe’s constant work, allowed Joe to pass them on the depth chart. Joe did all of this while being a 3.0 Chemical Engineer major at UMass, one of, if not the most challenging majors on campus.