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posted 03.03.2014 at 10.47 a.m. by Corey McLaughlin

'12 Years a Slave' Producer, Oscar Winner Katagas Still Has 'Lax Bug'

Pictured l-r: Peter Schaffer, Randy Fraser, Brian Silcott, Gordon Purdie and Anthony Katagas at the 2013 Las Vegas Lacrosse Showcase. (Peter Schaffer)

Anthony Katagas, the producer of "12 Years a Slave," which won the Oscar for best picture at the 86th Academy Awards on Sunday night, is a huge lacrosse fan, a former Division III goalie and is still playing on the men's club lacrosse circuit.

Katagas, who started for four years in goal at Western New England and was team captain in 1992, as recently as November earned an MVP award playing for the LB3 squad that won a men's masters division championship at the Las Vegas Lacrosse Showcase.

Katagas has also played in the Vail and Lake Placid summer tournaments (he was named to the all-tournament team at the Vail masters level last July) and is the organizer of the Brooklyn Brawl fall club tournament in New York.

Even more, he is planning to play in this July's World Lacrosse Festivals, held in conjunction with the 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championship, hosted by US Lacrosse, in Denver.

Katagas plans to play in the 35-and-over division with Jagermeister and 40-and-over division with the Elder Statesmen, according to friend and LB3 teammate Peter Schaffer, a Denver-based sports agent who himself played at Franklin & Marshall in the 1980s.

"He's a huge lacrosse fanatic, a great player and an even better person," Schaffer said of Katagas. "He is a great ambassador of the game of lacrosse."

Katagas made 484 career saves in four seasons with Western New England and was an All-Pilgrim league pick as a senior. Then-coach Joel Castleman told the WNE athletics website that he inserted Katagas into the lineup as an untested freshman after the original starter left the team.

"Anthony's energy and skills exploded on the field and he ended up playing in most of the remaining games that year," Castleman said. "Anthony continued to play lacrosse for four years and remains a close friend of mine. He's a very creative guy."

In an NCAA.org story about Katagas' lacrosse roots, he said, "I've still got the lax bug — love it more than the movies, to be honest."

He must really be loving the movies now, though, after taking the Oscar, a Golden Globe and other major best-picture awards as producer of "12 Years a Slave." It was the 43-year-old Katagas' first time nominated for an Oscar. The independent producer formed Keep Your Head Productions in 1999, and has produced more than 30 films in the last 12 years. On "12 Years a Slave," he collaborated with Brad Pitt, whose Plan B Entertainment was the film's primary backer.

For more information on the 2014 World Lacrosse Festivals and FIL World Championships, visit worldlacrosse2014.com. The team registration deadline for festivals is May 1.