Wolfpack Lacrosse Club: A Tradition of Community and Growth

The Wolfpack Lacrosse Club, established in 1989, is a significant part of the lacrosse community in Toledo. After a brief hiatus, the club was revitalized in 2021 to provide opportunities for young athletes and promote the sport’s love. In an interview with Luke Walters, we delve into the club’s history, objectives, challenges and impact on the community.

Origins and evolution

Wolfpack Lacrosse Club was founded in 1989 when lacrosse was gaining popularity in the area. It was the first of its kind, as no high school or youth programs were available at the time. After a hiatus in 2004, the club was re-established in 2021 to fulfill a need for the sport in the area.

“I wanted to reuse the name,” Walters explains, “because my son, who went to Rossford High School, didn’t have a team to play for. He played youth lacrosse but wanted to continue, and the other options were either expensive or not conducive to building team relationships.”

Program goals and inclusivity

The club’s primary goal is to provide high school students with an affordable platform to play lacrosse. Ensuring that the sport is accessible, the annual fees are set at a reasonable rate of $90, taking equipment into account. The club aims to prioritize fun and inclusivity. They strive to make practices and games enjoyable and to foster a sense of belonging within the Wolfpack family. The philosophy also extends to inclusivity and development, ensuring that new players receive ample playing time and feel integrated into the team.

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Challenges and successes

Running a non-profit lacrosse club comes with challenges, including managing finances, scheduling and overseeing equipment. However, the club has seen significant achievements since its re-establishment, having completed its 50th game in the 2024 spring season and seeing players move on to play college lacrosse.

Community engagement and impact

The club is actively engaged in the local community, collaborating with area athletic directors and providing coaching for the Sylvania Indoor recreation teams. Their impact goes beyond the field, promoting friendships across different schools, communities and economic backgrounds.

Logistics and operations

Managing a team with players from various schools requires effective communication. “I’m a fan of over-communication,” Walters emphasizes. “We use multiple tools, including a dedicated sports app, email, text and a player-only group chat. We’ve never had an issue with miscommunication.”

The club keeps membership dues low by practicing cost-effective strategies. “We play mostly road games to avoid the high cost of hosting home games. Our coaches are volunteers, and we practice in Toledo City Park for free,” Walters explains. “Dues go towards new equipment, maintaining gear, jerseys and a year-end team picnic.”

Coaching philosophy and future plans

The coaching philosophy at Wolfpack Lacrosse Club focuses on fun and fundamentals. “Keeping it fun is number one,” says Walters. “We end every practice with a fun drill and keep games serious but simple. At half-time, we discuss improvements and positives, maybe even something funny that happened.”

Looking to the future, Walters, who recently retired from coaching, remains committed to the club’s growth. “Our goals and values will remain the same. As the president, I’ll ensure the team remains fun and inclusive. With great volunteer coaches stepping up, the team has gained momentum. As long as kids are interested, I’ll be here to give them a place to play.”

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Accessibility and support

The club aims to make lacrosse accessible by reducing costs and being open to players of all experience levels. They also utilize the USA Lacrosse Grant to support new players by allowing them to try the sport before making substantial investments in equipment.

Personal motivation and rewards

His passion for the sport drives Walters’ involvement with the Wolfpack Lacrosse Club. “I played lacrosse in high school and coached for the original Wolfpack. I love teaching the sport and interacting with players and parents,” he shares. The most rewarding aspect? “Meeting so many individuals and knowing that when they look back on their high school years, I was a major part of it.”

The Wolfpack Lacrosse Club, with its rich history, community focus and inclusive philosophy, continues to be a beacon for young lacrosse players in the Toledo area.

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