First, OH #BOY!
If it's true, this would be a big addition for college lacrosse overall.
Eri wrote a roundup of all the rumors a couple of days ago, and it looks more definite that it's going to happen. Now note, the school has yet to officially say anything yet, but when multiple sources (#GoodJournalism) confirm that something's happening, something is indeed happening.
This will be Utah's 18th overall varsity sport and their eighth men's sport. Since the school hasn't said anything about this yet, they could also take away a sport or even add one, pending on Title IX rules and other things that I don't know about. So let's stick to the lacrosse aspect.
Utah would be the first Pac-12 school to add Men's lacrosse, while the women's game has five D1 schools already (Stanford, Oregon, USC, Cal, Colorado). It would also be the most western school to add lacrosse, passing Air Force and Denver in the state of Colorado.
As you can see, and if you follow college lacrosse you probably know this, about 85% of the D1 teams are between New Hampshire and Maryland. That's where all the preppy boarding schools in New England such as Taft and Brunswick, as well as powerhouses such as Darien and New Canaan, are located. Further down, there's the MIAA and Inter-Ac schools in Maryland and Pennsylvania respectively, and altogether, they're all pretty rich locations. (Side Note: I hate the Main Line)
The women's D1 outlook is somewhat different (I'd show a map, but the one on Wikipedia hasn't been updated since 2011). The biggest difference is that there's D1 presence in Illinois (Northwestern), Oregon (Oregon), Tennessee (Vanderbilt), and a handful of teams in California. There's 109 D1 teams in the women's game, whereas the men's game has only 71 teams, with Cleveland entering in 2017. With the possible addition of Utah, it goes up to 72.
The women's game has gotten many small and mid-size schools to jump on the D1 wagon, such as Campbell, Central Connecticut State, Costal Carolina, Elon, James Madison, Kennesaw State, Longwood, Old Dominion, St. Bonaventure, Stetson, VCU, and William & Mary. I never knew Longwood existed until writing this piece! But with attracting more of the smaller schools, it may have seem to attract larger schools such as USC and Florida in recent years, especially in growing regions.
I'll talk about the possibility of more west coast teams following in Utah's path in Part 2 tomorrow, but read this piece I did about a year ago when Cleveland State added their D1 team.
As for who might be their first coach? Their current MCLA BOSS is Rick Kladis, but as @Horton1733 points out, he's gone 18-42 in four seasons with the team. That's bad. When Michigan moved from the MCLA to Division I, they kept BOSS John Paul, a successful MCLA BOSS, for the transition. However, he hasn't had that much success in the D1 game yet.
Brian Holman will be the head coach. https://t.co/qIDMVGY7rj— Jordan Harris (@JHLacrosse) July 12, 2016
So much for that...for now. Nothing's official yet, so let's take that into consideration. Brian Holman might change his mind and decide to stay at UNC (he was on campus earlier this week with potential recruits). Harris also tweeted that his son, Marcus Holman, a former UNC standout, would be on the staff as well. That's not a bad start for the program.
Meanwhile, (tall grass emoji, eyeballs emoji, tall grass emoji)
I hope it happens, because this would be a big step for the growth of the game in the collegiate level. I don't think it will trigger schools such as USC and UCLA and other big western schools to jump on the lax ship yet. But if Utah succeeds, they will come.
Part 2 will take a look at some schools that would be great to add lacrosse and more.