BATON ROUGE, La. – With a new coach, the confidence gained from last year’s LSA tournament qualification and a competitive schedule, optimism is running high on the bayou as LSU gets ready for the 2018-19 season.
The Tigers say goodbye to former head coach Jeff Echols, who was instrumental in building LSU into the perennial postseason contenders that they are. They say hello to a familiar face in Shane Koppens, who was the offensive coordinator under Echols.
Koppens has a strong lacrosse pedigree, having been a four-year starter at NCAA Division I Loyola, where he was a two-time captain, two-time All-American and a Tewaaraton Trophy Top 25 finalist. He was also drafted by the Denver Outlaws of the MLL 21st overall in 2009.
“I’ve been blessed to play and coach the best sport on this planet,” said Koppens, who is the founder of FTK Lacrosse, which provides next-level lacrosse experience for kids of all ages. “Lacrosse has given me so many opportunities and has opened doors that I didn’t even know were there. I am truly grateful and honored to be the next head coach of the LSU lacrosse program.”
Joining Koppens on the staff this year will be Drake Arnold, who returns to his alma mater as the offensive coordinator. Arnold joins the Tigers after two years as the offensive coordinator at St. Paul’s (La.) High School, where he helped the Wolves to a pair of state championship game appearances and one title.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to join a great coaching staff and a team with some returning key players,” Arnold said. “The potential on this team is scary. As OC, I believe that great team defense leads to easy offense, and easy offense results in goals. My outlook is to be great in the transition game, capitalize on our chances, and take every advantage we are given.”
Former Tiger standout Chris Condon returns to campus as the LSU defensive coordinator. Condon played four seasons (’84-’87) for the Tigers as a close defenseman and was the team president. He has been the varsity head coach for North Shore (La.) High School, where he won the GCLC championship in ’15.
“I have great memories and great friendships from my playing days at LSU, and am excited about the opportunity to once again be a part of the LSU Lacrosse Program,” Condon said. “As defensive coordinator, I’m looking forward to working with Coach Koppens, Coach Farrar and Coach Arnold to help take bigger strides and make deeper runs in the playoffs in the coming seasons, including hosting home playoff games for the first time ever. The 2019 squad is loaded with talent; you won’t want to miss a game!”
Returning for his second season on the LSU coaching staff is Lane Farrar, who will be leading the specialist Units. Farrar, like Condon, is an LSU lacrosse alumnus where he was a three-time all-LSA honoree and 2017 team captain.
As a Coach, Farrar has worked with many high school faceoff specialists in Louisiana through free clinics and the FTK Lacrosse Program, where he is also the head coach for the 14U Team.
“It’s a challenging schedule. We play more ranked teams this season than ever before,” Farrar said. “We’re deliberately asking a lot of ourselves, but more than that we’re expecting to get the experience to continue pushing our program to be better. At the end of the day, we know we have to handle business in conference to be where we want to be, and we know each team in our division is looking to get better too. Our guys are looking forward to competing.”
Regular practices started on Aug. 27 for LSU and the Tigers eagerly await the schedule that lies head (listed below).
“The confidence I have in this entire group is through the roof,” Koppens said. “If we buy in to each other as teammates, if we buy into this coaching staff, if we buy into us as an entire LSU lacrosse program – it will show on the field this spring. The fall is about us coming together, getting in the best shape we possibly can and setting the table for a great 2019 campaign. One last thing – Geaux Tigers!”
2019 LSU Men's Lacrosse Schedule
|Feb. 2||vs. Auburn %||3 p.m.|
|Feb. 3||at Alabama||1 p.m.|
|Feb. 8||FLORIDA||8 p.m.|
|Feb. 10||OKLAHOMA||1 p.m.|
|Feb. 16||HOUSTON *||7 p.m.|
|Feb. 23||vs. Georgia ^||2 p.m.|
|Feb. 24||at Ole Miss||12 p.m.|
|March 8||TEXAS *||8 p.m.|
|March 10||CENTRAL FLORIDA||1 p.m.|
|March 15||at Texas State *||7 p.m.|
|March 22||TEXAS A&M *||8 p.m.|
|March 29||at South Carolina||7 p.m.|
|March 30||vs. NC State #||2 p.m.|
|March 31||at Clemson||1 p.m.|
|April 5||SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA||7 p.m.|
|April 27-28||LSA Tournament|
|May 6-11||2019 MCLA National Championships|
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* - indicates an LSA South division contest
^ - indicates contest held at Oxford, Miss.
% - indicates contest held at Tuscaloosa, Ala.
# - indicates contest held at Clemson, S.C.