Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington



From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302


Coach hopes to expand lacrosse program beyond Gonzaga Prep

by Mitch Finley, Inland Register staff

(From the Dec. 21, 2006 edition of the Inland Register)

Lacrosse presently is played at Gonzaga Prep, Spokane. The team’s assistant coach hopes to expand participation in the sport in the Spokane area over the coming months. (IR photo from Gonzaga Prep)

“From direct, personal experience, I am absolutely passionate about the benefits that come from participation in youth sports. The lessons I learned in the gym regarding perseverance, teamwork, sacrifice, hard work, and time management have served me well and at least as often as the academics I studied.”

The speaker is Mark Finley (no relation to this writer), assistant lacrosse coach at Spokane’s Gonzaga Prep.

Finley wants to develop what he calls “a sustainable youth lacrosse league in Spokane,” a town he characterized as “sports crazed. Spokane has Bloomsday for runners and Hoopfest for basketball players. Spokane manages to place not one but two high schools in the top 10 national rankings in cross-country. How can it be that Coeur d’Alene, with a population of 35,000, has two full-fledged high school Lacrosse programs, each with junior varsity teams – over 140 players in all, yet Spokane has only our Gonzaga Prep team of 20 players?”

State-wide, Finley says, the number of boys’ and girls lacrosse teams grew from just 14 in 2000 to 89 for the 2005 spring season. Indeed, in Washington State, lacrosse is now played as young as the first grade level, for boys. “What Spokane is in the perfect position to assist in delivering is a youth lacrosse league,” Finley said. “It will ultimately grow into something too large for just the Catholic schools, but people will always remember who took leadership, responsibility, and commitment to community service, and stepped up to the challenge of creating an opportunity for the youth of Spokane to learn great life lessons while building strong, healthy bodies. All we need to do is organize in similar fashion to the parochial youth football leagues and see what level of interest exists.”

Finley said that the coaches and lacrosse players at Gonzaga Prep are prepared to offer clinics for the new lacrosse league’s coaches and players. “We can assist in providing referees for games. We are ready, willing and able to make this a reality for this coming spring season. But we need to organize quickly to deliver a well-trained group of coaches and get the maximum possible number of players.”

(For information or to contact Mark Finley, call 509-624-5003, go to www.gpreplax.com, or email him at coachfinley@mac.com.)


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