Silence of the Lamb: Adams St. Regroups
When Jason Lamb walked into the team meeting room two weeks ago and told the players, all of whom he recruited to Adams State, that he was leaving to take an administrative role with Notre Dame, the reaction was predictable.
"They were shocked when Coach Lamb gave the speech on a Monday night, and their mood at that meeting was pretty terrible," said John McCreery, Lamb's assistant who has been elevated to interim head coach. "Kids were crying, and stuff like that. But the next day was great. They just needed to get over the shock. We didn't lose anybody, so no one transferred out. We are in Alamosa to play lacrosse."
The initial shock wore off quickly, mostly because 18 to 22-year-olds are incredibly resilient. The players also realized this was a no-brainer for Lamb, despite the awkward timing of his depature.
"They loved Coach Lamb, but they all understand that the gig at Notre Dame was what he wanted to do, so they all pretty much said, 'Coach, you can't turn that down,'" said McCreery. "They were really very supportive of Lamb making that move. It's been a week and I haven't heard a thing [about Lamb leaving]."
The person who took Lamb's departure the hardest was freshman goalie Derek Lamb, the former coach's son, but perhaps not for the reasons one would think.
"He was a little shocked and sad, but not because of his dad moving away and not coaching him," said McCreery. "It was more about his teammates and how they would react."
The players on the 50-man roster have done well. McCreery said they played cohesively in preseason scrimmages against Colorado College and Air Force Academy despite putting in the offense just days before, and recently doubled up the Fort Lewis MCLA squad. They have one last scrimmage against Colorado State, which McCreery said is important because of the in-state recruiting implications of knocking off one of the top teams. The regular season kicks off on Feb. 25 at WILA rival Colorado Mesa.
It took McCreery a little while to get comfortable, as well. While he has head coaching experience (UC Santa Cruz), he wasn't expecting such a sudden transition. Now that he has the reins of the Grizzlies, things are going much more smoothly and Larry Mortensen, the athletic director, has told McCreery that if he can hit several benchmarks – none of them having to do with wins or losses – the job could be his.
"He is very supportive of the team; he comes out to practice," said McCreery of Mortensen. "He watches games and he loves lacrosse now that he knows what it is."
Yes, things have returned to normal in Adams State. Now the hard part begins.