BOZEMAN — The Bozeman Boys Lacrosse team has won the state championship three out of the last four years that they’ve been able to play and this year, they have coaches from various backgrounds -- from guys who have played and coached at the NCAA division one level to even law enforcement.
“We’ve got probably one of the strongest coaching staffs that I’ve seen Casey Rose from Rutgers, Captain there, academic all-American," said head coach Dan Springer. "We’ve got Casey Stevenson from Cornell and also coached at Boston College which is incredible.”
Not to mention Springer, is the Gallatin County Sheriff.
Six years ago, a coach came and asked me if I would help him coach lacrosse, so I came out and started helping with that," he said. "My role here is to really kind of keep the program organized. I’ve got great people who understand the skill-sets and the play-sets. My job is to really manage the program."
Rose had a little fun with Springer when he came on-board as an assistant.
“My first question was, 'Hey Dan where can I call you? Where’s my get out jail free card man?'" Rose said with laugh. "Dan’s an awesome guy. Someone who i definitely look up to. He’s really good about building the culture of the team and he’s done it with his guys, his police force and now he’s doing it with these young guys out here so it’s been really cool to see.”
Just like his Sheriff’s Department, Springer doesn’t just manage, he also brings discipline to the program.
“Discipline is a big part of the program, it’s also a big part of lacrosse," Springer said. "It’s a very disciplined sport. You want kids learning to be disciplined on the field, not just go crazy out there. I bring a different expectation of high standards, high behavior standards and that is absolutely and expectation of the program.”
For the players, having Springer around makes sure they always hold each other accountable.
“He kind of sets the ground rules and we listen to the other two coaches that have good college experience and he’s there and always provides support for us," said Bozeman senior Grayson Cetraro. "You carry yourself a little bit higher when he’s there. You want to do the right thing, that echoes all the time but definitely do a little bit extra.”
“He’s kind of the team dad," said senior Nathan Martel. "Casey (Rose) and Casey (Stevenson) are both a little more light-hearted and Dan’s definitely kind of the head honcho, make sure we’re all in check.”
Rose was a team captain at Rutgers and as assistant for Bozeman, he coaches offense. He chose to come to Bozeman to enjoy skiing, but also be a part of a growing lacrosse community.
“Having someone that when they tell you what to do and then you go do it, you know it's going to work and you know you’re going to score goals because of it, it’s been really awesome,” Martell said of learning from Rose.
Casey Stevenson went to Cornell and has coached at the Division one level. He’s Bozeman’s defensive coach.
"I think these players are really fortunate to have us, which is cool to say," said Rose. "We love being out here and sharing the information and knowledge that we gained in college. It was passed along to us, we want to pass it along to them and couldn’t imagine a better place to do it."
All three coaches are excited about the growth of the sport in Montana and are looking forward to continuing to develop the program, but it still has a long way to go.
“A lot of people don’t even know there’s a lacrosse program in this town, let alone a very strong lacrosse league throughout the state," said Springer. "Letting people know that, getting that word out is big. Trying to run, a couple of coaches and I have done little clinics at middle schools and those kind of things to get little kids to know what the sport is.”