Student head coach leads Olympic-style club lacrosse team


The Next Collegiate League and Next Level Sports and Entertainment

Da’ron Goodman, who went to high school in the Bronx, is one of few players on the team with previous lacrosse experience.

One head coach on campus is a student ⁠— and not only is he coaching lacrosse, some of the young men he’s guiding are learning their sport of choice for the first time.

Head coach Ryan Pratcher-Bcy coaches the Coppin State lacrosse club team. He’s an undergrad student majoring in urban arts with a concentration in theater who has coached youth lacrosse in past years and now relishes the challenge of Olympic lacrosse.

“My experience with youth and high school players makes it easy to teach fundamental skills but there has to be a marriage of those skills, athleticism, and a willingness to grow in the game,” he said. 

Olympic lacrosse is unique in its style and rules. “It is a 6v6 instead of 10v10. The traditional field is 110 yards versus 75 yards in the Olympic-style game. There are some elements that are different including all players using short sticks and the inclusion of a 30-second shot clock,” Pratcher-Bey said.

Coppin State’s team has already begun its first season competing in the Next Collegiate League,  of which it is a founding member. The league, which launched this spring, includes five other historically Black universities.

The league funds equipment and more for the players involved. “Our equipment is supplied by NCL and its partners. Chest Pads, arm pads, gloves, and sticks are all provided by Maverik Lacrosse and our Helmets are provided by Cascade,” Bey said. “All players get a travel bag, practice jerseys, shorts, shirts, and other cool Coppin gear.”

There are varying levels of lacrosse experience on the team, which consists partly of young men who spent time playing Coppin State club football. Some knew nothing of the sport shortly before the season began.

“It’s a welcomed challenge,” Pratcher-Bcy said. “About 70 percent of our players this season are football players that sought out the sport for conditioning and fun.”

Junior psychology major Da’ron Goodman, who said the team practiced for only a few days before the season started, played lacrosse in high school once football season ended in New York. Coppin State holds a record of 1-5 as of April 21.

Goodman mentioned the lack of experience at times can make for a steep learning curve for his fellow club members.

“It’s the guys first time picking up a lacrosse stick, and then we have a game and it can be difficult with other teams who have been practicing for weeks,” he said. 

Sophomore early education major Nekaijah Cordell thought being small would be a limitation. Cordell is 5’5 and weighs 138 pounds. According to LacrossePack,  an average college lacrosse athlete weighs 182 lbs and a height of 5’11. 

“I was scared because everyone is bigger, but as I am playing and now another small player joined it makes the sport less intimidating,” Cordell said.

Coppin lacrosse is becoming a community attraction, Bey mentioned. “We’ve got a ton of support from the local lacrosse community and have had collaborative practices with ACCE Academy, Forest Park High School and a few youth programs including Baltimore Lacrosse Elite and the Baltimore Terps,” he said.

Students interested in playing can reach out to Coach Ryan Pratcher-Bey at [email protected] or on Instagram at @CoppinStateLax.