BATON ROUGE, La. -- After five seasons leading the Louisiana State University men’s lacrosse program to its most successful stretch in team history, head coach Jeff Echols has announced his retirement.
Echols ends his stretch with the Tigers amassing a career record of 40-35, which is the best five-year run in team history.
In 2014, team president David Escott and the student executives reached out to coach Echols at a local Catholic High School in an effort to bring professionalism and discipline to an organization that was ready to take the next step.
“I always felt fortunate that I got the chance to coach at the collegiate level," Echols said. "My plan and purpose from day one was to change the culture of the LSU lacrosse team, build respect for our program and provide the opportunity for our players to participate in a near-varsity experience while playing a club sport.
"I was most proud that we built a winning environment while striving to maintain the integrity of the game. Being twice chosen as the Ace Adams Award recipient (2014, ‘17) for sportsmanship at a national level was a huge honor. Having the goal to leave the program better and more advanced than when we started was the overall objective. I felt we accomplished that.”
Echols’ tenure was full of first time accomplishments and reached a level of achievement unheard for LSU lacrosse.
The program experienced its first playoff victory along with wins over conference opponents Texas and Texas State. Along with individual conference honors for players such as 37 all-conference selections, two All-Americans, five scholar athletes as well as Offensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player a foundation of success had been laid and the culture of the program changed.
Koppens, the LSU offensive coordinator and former member of the Denver Outlaws of Major League Lacrosse, will be taking the reigns for the 2019 season.
“It was great having coach Echols as not only a coach, but as a mentor," Koppens said. "He truly loves the game and the program and I learned so much by working for him. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.
"I couldn’t be more excited for the group of players and coaches we have at this program. We want to keep building competitive schedules to challenge ourselves and use our team first mindset to continue to put a great product on the field and enjoy the hard work that comes with success. This is a team of unique talents that are all about coming together as a family with one goal.”
The entire LSU program would like to thank Jeff Echols for his countless hours of involvement.
Echols would like to share appreciation for Texas A&M coach Tony Scazzero, who was his mentor and coach as well as Jim Rice and the late Steve Kenety from Chatham, N.J. for his first coaching opportunity. Also, Bret Smith, who stood as the associate head coach throughout Echols’ time at LSU.