Nov 5, 2009

BU lax player brings execellence to Regis

(Editor's note: This is a story I did for a class earlier this year. I liked how it came out so I'm posting it to my blog.)

At 24, Jake Kravitz is the youngest Varsity lacrosse Head Coach in Regis College history… He’s also the first lacrosse head coach so he gets the title by default. Hired last fall as an Admissions Counselor and part-time Varsity lacrosse Head Coach, Kravitz has the daunting task of building a team, and a program from scratch. “It’s been a lot of work, but it’s also been fun because I’m doing something I want to do,” said Kravitz.

Earlier Years

Born in Pennsylvania, Kravitz was raised in Dresher, a town 15 miles north of Philadelphia. Involved in sports since he was young, Kravitz played a myriad of sports including swimming, wrestling. At Upper Dublin High School, Kravitz played football for the varsity team until a back injury forced him to stop.

In eighth grade Kravitz was introduced to lacrosse through a friend. “He would bring his lacrosse stick to study hall,” Kravitz recounts. “He’d let me try to cradle with it, and when he realized I could, he said I should join his town league.”

In middle school, the lacrosse team was split into an “A” team, comprised of eighth graders, and a “B” team made up of seventh graders and eighth graders who had never played the sport before. Kravitz was relegated to the “B” team.

“It was funny, as an eighth grader on the “B” team; I was the largest kid on the field. I had not stick skills, so they put me on defense and my job was to knock down whoever had the ball, scoop the loose ball and then give it to someone with better stick skills,” said Kravitz of his first lacrosse game experience.

The skills would come, and as they did, Kravitz was able to contribute more than just his size, especially as he moved up and began to play varsity lacrosse for his high school he lost the size advantage he enjoyed in eighth grade.

Upon graduation from Upper Dublin, Kravitz entered Boston University in the fall of 2003. Despite the fact that BU did not have a varsity lacrosse program, Kravitz was still eager to play for the club team. “I looked up the website for BU Club Lacrosse and emailed to coach to express my interest in playing for the team,” said Kravitz.

The College Years

When he arrived on campus, as a freshman, Kravitz soon realized the club lacrosse team was not what he expected. “The team was in shambles. Their season had been cut short, last year, due to an alcohol violation, some of the players had been caught drinking with the coach,” explained Kravitz.
His freshman year was not much better. The low point came the morning of an away game against Worcester Poly Technical. 14 people including the coaches showed up for the bus. They barely had enough to field a full team. “I don’t think we won more than two games my freshman year,” recalls Kravitz.

If nothing else, his freshman year taught Kravitz how not to run a team. As a sophomore, Kravitz was named club secretary, and began to work with the other officers to move the lacrosse program in a new direction. Little by little, BU Club Lacrosse became more legitimate and their play improved in the league.

By his senior year, the BU lacrosse team had become a contender in their league and was invited to play in a postseason tournament in New Hampshire. As team president for the second year, Kravitz had played an integral role in increasing recruitment by “Storming the dorm” and handing out flyers.

Despite losing to Boston College in the first round of postseason play, Kravitz was happy to see the progress the team had made since his freshman year. “It felt good to be a part of the team knowing where it was when I joined and seeing how far it had come when I graduated,” said Kravitz.

Post College

After graduating, Kravitz worked as an EDI analyst for a software company processing thousands of healthcare claim forms. “My life was the movie Office Space. I had several bosses, and hated it,” said Kravitz.

In his free time, Kravitz would play pickup games of lacrosse and joined various summer leagues to maintain his skills. In 2007, he helped manage a spring lacrosse league in Boston for the company ULAX. The summer, the opportunity to be a head coach at Regis College presented itself to Kravitz, who was looking for a way to break into coaching.

“I don’t think I was there first choice for the position, but my work at BU, rebuilding the club team, really impressed them [Regis College Athletic Director, Marybeth Lamb, Assistant Athletic Directors, Heather Gilmour and Jessica Gould].”

Kravitz is optimistic about the newly established Regis Men’s Lacrosse team. “I want to win the league in five years,” he says. When pressed as to why he thinks a league championship is possible in five years, Kravitz relates his philosophy on why working as the Men’s Lacrosse head coach is less like work and more like a passion.

While many hours of work have gone into setting up the team, Kravitz won’t know how successful his efforts have been until May 1. “May 1 is the deadline for deposits. I’ll have a better picture of how well I did recruiting after that date… I’m excited to see the turnout,” says Kravitz.

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