Ambrose’s newest coach is bringing an East Coast sport right to the playing fields of the Bees.
Brad Keel was named head men’s lacrosse coach in early December and just moved in to his new residence in lower level Davis. His first duty may be to explain the new varsity sport.
“It’s the perfect mix of soccer and hockey,” the recent Missouri Baptist University graduate said.
Starting in the 2013-2014 season, St. Ambrose will have a new men’s varsity sport to add to the roster. The practices will be held in the Ambrose Dome and home games played at the Davenport Soccer Complex. Keel is excited and nervous about starting this adventure for the Fighting Bees.
“Once I got on campus it was a different feel from anywhere else,” the St. Louis native said. “It’s close-knit and everyone is extremely helpful, so the nerves have settled a bit.”
As he starts his first head coach position he is also looking to start graduate school here in the master’s of organizational leadership program.
Keel is looking for a roster of 20 to 25, building the name up for the first couple years and winning conference by the second season. For those potential recruits he stresses to start thinking about it now.
“It’s a beyond exciting time,” he said. “This is a great area for the growing sport. Minnesota, St. Louis, Chicago. Lacrosse is expanding. It’s going to be special.”
Athletic Director Ray Shovlain agrees and talks about why Keel is such a great fit for Ambrose.
“Brad brings some significant coaching experience with him as well as many contacts from high schools and clubs in the St. Louis and Chicago areas,” Shovlain said. “He is well prepared.”
Keel has already been in contact with some high school players and even current SAU students who played in high school. He says by next week two or three will sign.
“We’re set up for success here,” Keel said. “With the support I’ve received from the athletic department and being a full time coach, we have a very promising start.”
Coming off a win in the Great Rivers Lacrosse Conference in 2011, he knows a thing or two about how to get things done. Although that winning picture is the only decoration in his office, Keel says he’s settling in nicely.
“It’s like a mini St. Louis,” he said. “It’s the perfect place for my first job. I’m thankful for all the support I’ve received. I hope people will get to learn about lacrosse and come to love it like I do.”