Lasting Impact from Beville's Iroquois Experience
From a philosophical approach to the game, Steve Beville's selection as the head coach of the Iroquois National team that participated at the World Games in Denver was an interesting choice.
As Cortland's head coach, Beville oversees a grinding defensive unit combined with a highly structured offense to wear down teams. While his teams have certainly boasted plenty of individual talent, the Beville's Red Dragon squads rarely have an individual player take over a game. They are a seemingly monolithic entity working in concert, and it has paid off in a national title and three other finals appearances in the last eight years.
With the Iroquois, Beville was blessed with hyper-talented personnel, most notably on the offensive end where the Nationals boasted one of the most creative players our game – um, their game – has ever seen in Lyle Thompson. The dynamism of the Iroquois stood in stark contrast to Beville's disciplined approach.
The heterogeneity of the challenge proved to be a fulfilling one for Beville, who guided the Iroquois to its first medal at a senior world championship with a third place finish.
"Obviously, it's a contrasting situation coaching a men's group – older guys – and particularly with a difference culture, a different community, with a different way of looking at things," Beville said. "Nonetheless, it was great, and as far coaching a group of some of the most talented players in the world, obviously that was a great opportunity for me and a great honor. Besides my family, lacrosse is the most important thing in my life. To coach the community who are the creator's of the game was one of the greatest opportunities of my life. Although it was a different experience, I look back on it without one tiny regret. It was one of the best experiences of my life."
It would make sense for Beville's fondest memories from Denver to arise out of the 16-5 thrashing of Australia in the third-place game or perhaps another on-field moment. That wasn't the case.
"The lacrosse side of things was incredible, working with those guys from a professional standpoint and a lacrosse standpoint," Beville said. "But I'm going to remember the meals; the opportunity to sit down and meet the guys and interact with the players. Get to know them and their families. It was a great joy for me to build relationships and get to know a group of people and a new group of guys."
That might not be the only lasting remnant of Beville's time as the coach of the Iroquois.
"I think going forward, we could change things up a little bit in our approach to our structure and the way we do things," Beville said, referring to his Cortland operation. "After watching the incredible creativity that I saw from [the Iroquois], we may loosen things up a little bit and give the players a little more opportunity to be creative. A little bit less structure and a little bit more freedom."
It's a startling admission for a coach with so much systemic success. Whether that manifests itself in more no-look crease feeds or behind-the-back shots remains to be seen, but it's safe to say that Beville's connection with the Nationals didn't end in Denver.