ESPN 850 WRUF – Gainesville, Florida

Around the Crease with Lacrosse Legend Casey Powell: Florida's Lacrosse Ambassador

By on December 16th, 2013

Zak Dahlheimer / ESPN 850 WRUF

Casey Powell

Casey Powell: Florida's Lacrosse Ambassador

In the sport of professional lacrosse, Casey Powell ranks near the top.

Powell has left his mark on the oldest and fastest growing sport in the United States, with a resume that includes being a four-time All-American at Syracuse and a professional career that spans 14 years in both the indoor National Lacrosse League and outdoor Major League Lacrosse.

Growing up in Carthage, NY, Powell first got interested in lacrosse when his fifth grade gym teacher brought in a stick to show his class. From then on, he and his brothers, Ryan and Mike, were hooked and started to follow the Orange.

“We (Casey, Ryan, and Mike) researched the game a little bit and found it was popular at Syracuse. We would travel down to hide in the bushes and watch some of the top high schools practice where we wrote down some of their plays and drills and tried to replicate it back home,” Powell said. “We went to watch a game at Syracuse where the Gait brothers were playing, that really inspired us, and the rest is history.”

At Carthage High School, he was a two-time All-American and for a time held the national high school leading scorer record with 553 points. After high school, he went on to play at Syracuse, and donned the number 22 jersey, following in the footsteps of his childhood idol and fellow Syracuse and professional lacrosse legend Gary Gait.

At Syracuse, Powell was a four-time All-American, two-time Division 1 national player of the year, and was a member of the 1995 national championship team. In 1999, Powell was drafted with the first pick in the National Lacrosse League Draft by the Rochester Knighthawks. He’s also the only remaining player in Major League Lacrosse that helped establish the outdoor league in 2001.

“It really wasn’t on my radar. My dream was to play lacrosse at Syracuse and all the extra lacrosse I’ve played since I’ve graduated has been a huge bonus,” Powell said. “The growth of lacrosse and professional lacrosse has been surprising.”

In 2010, Powell jumped at the chance to captain the N-L-L Orlando Titans, the first-ever professional lacrosse team in Florida. But, the Titans folded after just one season. So in 2011, Powell became the Director of Lacrosse for the St. Andrews School, a state and national power located in Boca Raton.

“They’ve been the Florida powerhouse for a long time and I had the opportunity to be a part of that program. We won a state championship and were around some talented players,” Powell said.

In August of 2013, Powell was offered the opportunity to run his own team, and he accepted the positions of Head Coach and Director of Lacrosse for North Broward Prep in Coconut Creek, FL.

“I’ve been influenced by some fantastic coaches who are my role models in my life. That’s what I want to be eventually,” Powell said. “I love teaching the skills, I think that’s the most important part of the game.”

In addition to his coaching duties in south Florida, Powell was also a member of the 2013 M-L-L champion Chesapeake Bayhawks and recently signed with the N-L-L Colorado Mammoth.

While some consider Powell to be one of the greatest of all-time in lacrosse, he humbly would like to be remembered most as an ambassador to the sport.

“It’s the word I’m most proud of that comes up with me. That’s really what I love doing, and I love that I’m looked upon that way,” Powell said. “I try to play it and represent it with honor. It has done a lot for both my family and I in my life. To have the opportunity to play and spread it, as well as to give kids an opportunity is the reason I do it.”

Powell’s role as an ambassador of the sport reaches beyond just his career as a player and coach, especially in the state of Florida. Powell confirmed the return of pro lacrosse to Florida with the M-L-L's Florida Launch, which will begin play in Palm Beach County in April 2014. It was also confirmed on December 3rd that Powell would play for the Launch this upcoming season after being traded from the Bayhawks.

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