It's fall ball season. Hope springs eternal. Everyone is 0-0 and in the hunt for the natty.
As such, we're checking in with programs across the country and divisions to see what's happening. We're continuing with Rhode Island’s new coach, Charlie White.
Larry Madeira announced his retirement and you're the head coach now after playing for him and being his top assistant last year. What did you learn from him, what will you carry over from his term and what will you do differently?
Charlie White: Larry has been a great influence over my lacrosse career. From being my first coach in elementary school to closing my playing career out under him, it has been an unbelievable ride that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
He’s probably forgotten more about the game than I’ll ever know and he has been a great mentor, leader and friend along the way. My main goal as the head coach here is to carry on his legacy and make him proud.
Each season presents new challenges and no one understood that better than Larry. I wouldn’t say I’m coming in and changing much about how the team as a whole operates, but maintaining and perfecting the vision he has set forth for the program.
You lost to one D-II last year and it was in the quarterfinals. Was it a matter of running into a hot team on the way to a title, or was there something missing from the 2022 squad? What are your thoughts on the game?
CW: First off, all the credit in the world goes to Dayton. The resilience they showed all year, especially in the tournament, is something you as a coach have to appreciate. Hats off to them.
We were more than equipped to win a national title with our team last year, but there are no ‘off-days’ in May. No matter which way you slice it, you’re playing one of the 16 best teams in the country every game and there’s no room for error.
At the end of the day, we didn’t play our best game and that will end your season in the national tournament every single time. Like any loss, there are a lot of things you look back on that you wish you had done differently, but you have no choice but to learn from it and come back even stronger.
Although ending your season on a loss is never a good thing, we’re ready to take what we’ve learned to make us a better unit in 2024.
Eligibility-wise, you don't graduate anyone off last year's team. In reality, who is leaving and who is coming back this season. What will be the strongest unit? Are there any newcomers who can make a difference?
CW: We did graduate six players off of last year's squad, all of whom were very important pieces to our team. Each player is different in their own way, so it will be impossible to plug a new player into their roles and expect the same results.
One of the challenges that our coaching staff is looking forward to is how do we maximize the roles and skill sets of this year's team to put our best foot forward? We had a great week of tryouts and are very excited about the promise of the team so far.
Everyone can play; that’s one of the things we pride ourselves on when putting together our team each year. We expect meaningful contributions from the entire roster from our seniors all the way down to our freshmen.
In terms of the strongest unit, we’ll have to see where we stand when we get some live action under our belt, but we have the utmost confidence that we are as deep and talented at every level of the field as anyone out there.
Playing down in Alabama last year really jump-started the Rams repeat hopes. What's the schedule look like this year? Any interesting trips or new opponents?
CW: The schedule this year is shaping up to be a great one. Every game we play is going to test us, and we’re looking forward to that challenge.
Nothing has been officially locked in at this time, but we have a trip to the Midwest sometime this spring in the works to play some of the top teams in the nation.
You have a full-time job, but what drove you to get into the coaching ranks and help out your alma mater? Sense of duty to the program? Love of the sport?
CW: Coaching has always been a passion of mine. Even during my playing days, I loved the challenge of dissecting exactly why things happened on the field instead of just marveling at the results.
Some of my best memories in life have come from being part of a team. Working hard every day to better yourself and the guy next to you to reach that ultimate goal – I wasn’t ready to give that up.
Not everyone gets the privilege to lead the program that gave them so much as a player, so it was an easy decision for me to take this position.
[Want to participate in the "Fall Check In" series as a coach or player? Email [email protected] to request your five questions]