COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Written by: Bill Sutley, University Relations
Columbus State University will field a men's lacrosse team as a club sport starting next fall, playing its first games in spring 2015, Campus Recreation officials have announced.
In preparation for the addition of CSU's 16th club sport, Columbus State is hiring Brendan Bonacum, a former lacrosse standout at Dominican College of Blauvelt, N.Y. After graduating in 2012 with an education degree, Bonacum served briefly as an assistant coach and interim head coach at Dominican. Most recently, he was an assistant coach at Briarcliffe College on Long Island, N.Y.
"This decision reflects the continued commitment to athletics and recreation overall from the university," said Rick Cravens, assistant director of Campus Recreation. "I believe that it strengthens and builds the university as a whole."
Gina Sheeks, CSU's vice president for student affairs, said the move reflects the growing popularity of lacrosse in, not only Georgia, but beyond the state's borders, where CSU is attracting more and more students.
"As we broaden our footprint in Georgia and the surrounding states, where lacrosse is a very popular sport, this represents an appropriate resource for the recruitment of not just athletes but also good students in general," Sheeks said.
Michael Speight, Campus Recreation's club sports coordinator, said he anticipates no problem lining up a schedule of opposing teams.
"Lacrosse will not only strengthen our department but will also add more life to our already vibrant campus community," he said.
Within Georgia alone, 70 high schools field varsity lacrosse teams. At the college level, there are more than 10 lacrosse club programs and five varsity programs in the state. Although club sports aren't considered varsity teams that adhere to NCAA standards, CSU's club teams in such sports as football do play club team counterparts from other schools and, occasionally, face "second team" varsity squads.