Sunday Sit Down: Fairmont Senior Girl’s Lacrosse Head Coach Jon Cain
Cain breaks down the progress lacrosse has made over the last decade & the future of the sport in WV
FAIRMONT, W.Va (WDTV) - Jon Cain has been at the head of Fairmont Senior girl’s lacrosse since it started, “We started a program back in 2005 and at the time, there was only two teams in the state, which were Morgantown and University. and a bunch of the kids got together with some parents and said can we start lacrosse and I was coaching soccer some at the time and they asked if I would be interested and I said I don’t know the first thing about the sport but I learned real quick so I mean actually the first game I ever coached was the first one I’d ever seen live so it was a little ugly at first, but it took us a couple years but after a while the kids really took to it,” said Cain.
Lacrosse in West Virginia currently lies under the WVSLA umbrella, and is considered varsity at many schools, though it is not sanctioned by the WVSSAC. For schools like Fairmont Senior, lacrosse generates some of the most participation, some years with over 60-70+ kids coming out between the girls and boys teams. Being under the USLA allows the team to be nationally ranked, as well as receive All-American and other top honors for the success they have.
Throughout the last decade and a half, he has seen the sport grow immensely with teams popping up in all parts of the state, “It’s taken off, like I said at the time there was only three boys teams and three girls teams, Fairmont, Morgantown and University. and know you see 13 or 14 teams on the girls side, I mean it’s a little slower than what we’d like to see, but I mean it’s getting there and the thing that really is exciting to us is how well, the sport has grown in the state when it comes to the college level I mean the Mountain East conference has six teams that compete and now these kids have the chance to go to the next level and play. The kids are getting the opportunity that was never there before, I look at lacrosse as being like what soccer was 30 years ago, you know when all these teams were starting programs, they were looking for kids, now all these soccer programs are locked in and they maybe only look for two or three kids a year in the state but lacrosse is still trying to fill teams, so there’s a lot of opportunities for these kids,” said Cain
With all the teams that have come through the Polar Bear program, Cain has always had the same hope for them, “That’s it, we want these kids to enjoy their time, you know this is their time, this is their high school experience, we let these girls really take a lot of responsibility with the team you know we coach and we try to guide them the right way but some of the decision we let them be a part of that and I think it helps because they understand that this is something I am a part of and also its responsibility, I look at, whenever I have coached, I always look at coaching as an extension of the classroom, I’ve never been a teacher but I always thought of that that these kids should understand it’s an extension of the classroom,, we’re trying to teach you how to be leaders,’ we’re trying to teach you how to be teammates, we’re trying to teach you some life lessons,” said Cain.
Middle school and club programs in this area have allowed the girls to come into high school more experienced than they were back when it all started in 2005, but the sport is still growing, We’re starting kids out at fifth or sixth grade and they progress through the middle school and by the time they get to us they’re ready to go, I remember in 2005, we had to show the girls how to hold the stick but now we’re actually going right at it as soon as they get here, running drills and stuff,” said Cain.
Colleges in the area have played a role in the growth of lacrosse, but being sanctioned by the WVSSAC in the future could really elevate the number of teams in the future, “I think the colleges taking on the sport definitely has drawn the biggest interest of all these schools taking on the sport itself and helping grow it and like I said, I really believe once we get sanctioned in the state I know that it will really take off, that’s what we’re hoping for, but I mean we’re been hoping since 2005 so we’ll keep chugging along and go from there,” said Cain.
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