It is a well-known fact on campus and in the sports world that Deerfield’s lacrosse program has an impressive reputation, but few people realize that this powerhouse program has a tradition of success that is over 70 years old.
The lacrosse program started in 1933, but the team didn’t start playing games until 1934, when it won three out of its first ten games, including the very first match. At first, Deerfield played only against different college freshman teams, but it quickly soared to lacrosse supremacy, and had its first undefeated season, winning all ten of its games, in 1937.
Head coach Chip Davis explained that he has used the knowledge of this long and successful history to help motivate his players.
“We didn’t have a single undefeated team from 1958 to 2002,” Mr. Davis explained, “but [in 2002] in our last game I put a picture of the team from 1958 on the door… It was cool for those kids to play that game and see that connection.”
Mr. Davis started at Deerfield Academy as an assistant coach. When the previous coach took a sabbatical, Mr. Davis earned the job as head coach at the surprisingly young age of 24.
“I was just receiving good fortune at 24 years old… Even though I was pretty young, I was excited about it.”
Mr. Davis expressed his belief that the time period from 1994 to 1996 was when the program really “took off.” He believes that Deerfield Academy’s reputation as an excellent school for both athletics and academics helped the team stay strong by attracting great new recruits. “Like any good program at Deerfield, once it kind of gets going, it builds its own momentum,” he explained.
Brian Browne ’11, John Hogan ’11, and Stephen Sousa ’11 all agreed that Deerfield’s lacrosse reputation helped attract them to the school.
Browne, who only applied to Deerfield when ready to go to high school, admitted that he applied “for the academics and lacrosse.”
“I always wanted to play at a better level than at a public school,” he revealed.
Sousa and Hogan, both post-graduates, expressed their excitement for Deerfield’s traditions such as the bagpiper leading the team down to the field. They also said they knew that Deerfield had a remarkable distinction for helping PGs continue to play at a high level after high school. According to Mr. Davis, postgraduate players have played a crucial role on the lacrosse for quite some time.
Davis has enjoyed coaching a team full of skilled and motivated players and remarked, “Good players are the ones who make good teams, so I would always extend the significant gratitude to the players that Deerfield has had that have carried the team.”