|The Asbury University Eagles were 6-4 in their inaugural season (Photo / Asbury Athletics)|
Wilmore, KY – Josh Stewart is a Maryland native and the current head lacrosse coach of Kentucky’s Asbury University, located roughly 15 miles to the southwest of Lexington.
As an undergrad, Stewart was a goalie for Pennsylvania’s perennially strong Messiah College lacrosse team. His Eagles compete in the NAIA and Asbury’s top man is currently busy on the recruiting trail for the 2016 season and beyond. We caught up with him briefly for some thoughts on his program, and the NAIA’s early efforts to gain a presence in the collegiate lacrosse world.
Stewart: I grew up in Carroll County and played for Francis Scott Key High School (2A) and then for the Central Maryland Lacrosse Club in the summer. I played in the first two CMD summer seasons.
Stewart: I started playing lacrosse very early on – maybe first or second grade – and I was always a bigger kid so they looked at me and said “You’re going to be a goalie.” I just took it and ran with it, playing up in age and getting to see better action earlier than most kids my age.
We had so many kids playing in my age group that we had two rec teams at each level that fed our high school which is maybe why we were so successful when I was there. We all knew each other and had played together for six years before high school started.
I looked at him in all seriousness and told him that no one played lacrosse in Kentucky. But I sent my resume in and fell in love with the town, the school and wanted to be a part of it.
Stewart: Recruiting is going well, but very tasking at times when I’m on the road for three straight weeks and my family is back in Kentucky. We Skype often and I get a lot of phone calls from my daughters but they understand that I’m doing my job and they love the end result of watching my boys play.
With the NAIA so new to lacrosse, and Asbury a small private school in Kentucky, my job is to educate the players I see week in and week out about both.
I believe that both the NAIA and Asbury are great institutions and I want the players I come into contact with to know that. Whether they choose Asbury or not is not my decision and I hope they find the right fit in the end. I think it helps when I can provide these future college student-athletes with knowledge about other opportunities than the ones they have in front of them everyday.
|The Eagles on attack (Photo / Asbury Athletics)|
They’re a great group. The town of Wilmore sits just south of Lexington and right in the heart of the bluegrass. It’s beautiful here and the people are awesome. Our athletic facilities sit alone at the back of campus and the Luce Center acts as the hub for all the athletic programs. It seems like each year we add something to the athletic facilities or upgrade existing ones so it’s an exciting time for Asbury Athletics.
It definitely helps if the guy we bring in can recruit and develop the players on the field, too. [laughing]
The amount of money that the NAIA gives nationally for athletic scholarships is unreal and it’s great for those student-athletes needing some help to attend school and want to play lacrosse. It’s a great step for the game as a whole in my opinion. The NAIA Invitational is the first step in helping grow the game even more at the college level. It’s a tremendous step for the game as a whole.
|Lacrosse will become an invitational sport in 2016 (Photo / NAIA)|