NAMPA, Idaho – The Northwest Nazarene men’s lacrosse program has announced a pair of coaches joining Tom Blanchard’s staff for the 2022 season.
Drew Leisten was named the assistant offensive coordinator for the Nighthawks while Jackson “J.R.” Rice will handle the faceoff unit.
Leisten, a local product out of Eagle (Idaho) High School, played for both Arizona State and Boise State during his collegiate days. During the 2021 season, he was an assistant coach for the Mountain View (Idaho) High School junior varsity squad.
“We are excited about building out our men’s lacrosse coaching staff,” said Blanchard. “Drew is someone that is passionate and energetic about the game and he sees the vision I have for our men’s lacrosse program. He was every enthusiastic about wanting to be part of what we are building here at NNU.
“Our programs success is going to be built on the foundation of community, culture and character. It was very important to me that whoever we brought on now, or in the future, understands and shares our vision for this program."
Rice played for Mountain View High School, leading his team to a pair of Idaho Lacrosse State Championships in 2017 and 2018. In those two seasons, Rice was named first team all-state as a faceoff specialist.
“My decision to coach at NNU was motivated by the drive this program has,” Rice said. “The athletes foster a strong work ethic that will help them grow and succeed in their lacrosse careers. I’m excited to be part of this program's development and I look forward to working with the staff and players.”
Upon graduation from Mountain View, Rice played one season at Boise State, earning second team all-PNCLL honors at faceoff. He has also been a coach at True Lacrosse and the nearby Bishop Kelly varsity team.
“Building up our coaching staff with high character, enthusiastic and passionate coaches has been a top priority,” said Blanchard. “We are adding a solid all-around person who is well-respected and well-accomplished in our community. I have no doubt that Coach J.R. is going to have an immediate impact on our team’s success, and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Nighthawk family.”