Professional Lacrosse Player Jake Deane '02 Holds Clinic at Suffield Academy
On Wednesday March 28, Jake Deane ’02 held a clinic for the members of the Suffield boys’ lacrosse program. Jake’s visit came near the start of Suffield’s season, as both experienced players and those new to the game are working on honing their fundamentals while preparing for a tough upcoming schedule. With this in mind, Jake covered a host of topics, including passing, catching, and shooting; ground ball play; dodging; individual defensive play; uneven situations; and facing off. Both the varsity and JV teams attended the session, and Jake’s advice was applicable to those of all skill levels. He also spoke about the passion he has for the sport, and the drive players must have to push themselves to raise their games.
While at Suffield, Jake led the Tigers to the 2002 Western New England Division II Championship. Headmaster Charlie Cahn, who had the opportunity to coach the championship team, remarked, “Without question, Jake had the most unbelievable work ethic of any athlete I have ever coached.”
Upon graduation, Jake traveled up I-91 to UMass, where he starred for four years for the Minutemen. He holds the UMass single season ground ball record, was honored as an All-American, and captained his squad to the 2006 National Championship game. Since 2006, Jake has played professionally in Major League Lacrosse for the Chicago Machine, Toronto Nationals, and Chesapeake Bayhawks. He is the co-founder of True Lacrosse, an organization dedicating to growing the game through clinics, camps, and other playing opportunities.
"The guys were really excited to learn from a pro who played at Suffield Academy,” said Head Coach Dave Pillsbury. “He ran an amazing clinic, and we are all grateful for his time and energy that he pumped in our season as we get underway."
Alumnus Deane ’99 Speaks at All-School Meeting
After a glowing introduction of Cardigan alumnus Jake Deane ’99 to the full community, his former Cardigan lacrosse coaches, Mr. Kreuzburg and Mr. Gray, who sang Jake’s praises as being one of the most determined players each had ever had the pleasure of mentoring, they played for us some spectacular video highlights of Jake’s final season at UMass-Amherst. Jake had ultimately become a master at face-offs and essentially a ground-ball king, and, as captain, he took his team all the way to a national championship game against Virginia that year.
Jake then stood before those gathered to talk about what it takes in life to get where you want to be. He attributes his coming to Cardigan (for even just the single—ninth-grade—year) as being the beginning of his realization that, with determination, any type of adversity can be overcome. “I have a lot of really fond memories from this place, but also I think a lot about what it did for me as a person, and what it’s done for me going forward in my life. Living away from my home and family—that was the toughest part, never mind Cardigan’s being out in the middle of … well … way out there! I didn’t know anyone when I came here, or how it would turn out, but that is what has done so much for me!” he said.
After his year at Cardigan, Jake went on to Suffield Academy—where he became an All-American in lacrosse—and on from Suffield to UMass-Amherst. Incidentally, past parent Marina Chaney (P’10) was instrumental in putting us in touch with Jake, as he has also recently been back (in a lacrosse mentoring capacity) to Suffield Academy, where Derek Chaney ’10 is now enrolled and pursuing a path toward playing college lacrosse.
Jake told us he had had plenty of trying moments along the way, and he acknowledged that the boys sitting before him have surely had times when they have felt really down, “but trust me! This experience will only help you down the road!” He went on to say that his having gone to Cardigan made the transition to Suffield easier, and likewise college, when for many students that’s their first time away from home. “This place prepares you! When I think about what I was taught in the classroom, all the independence I gained, and my ability to face challenges … this place is truly preparing you for life!”
Jake grew up in Annapolis, Maryland (where many kids have lacrosse sticks in their hands early on!) but now lives in Chicago, where he started his own company, True Lacrosse. The company is responsible for organizing camps, clinics, and travel teams throughout the Midwest. “I still play professionally [for the past seven years, for the Chesapeake Bayhawks], but now I get to coach—I’m doing something I love as a profession.”
Before responding to a number of questions about his lacrosse career, Jake left the boys with a final thought about how to handle adversity. He explained that there were bound to be plenty of times when the boys would be denied in life—perhaps, say, from a school they hoped to attend or a job they wanted. “That’s part of life!” he said. “It’s how you react to that situation that will determine what happens next.” You could remain down and throw in the towel, he said, or you can respond with determination (if it’s something you really want) and do whatever you can, whatever it takes, to prove your doubters wrong. “Attack life like nothing else!” The positive outcomes may not come immediately, he added, so patience, resilience, and persistence, too, are required, and he talked about his sitting the bench for the first two years in college (zero playing time). Each season, however, he continued to apply the same effort and determination, and by senior year he was the captain with vast amounts of playing time.
In the Q&A that followed Jake’s words of wisdom, it became clear from his responses that he would place his college lacrosse experience above his professional one in terms of value, as there is nothing like playing for your teammates and your school, as opposed to playing for your own name on the back of a professional jersey. He also encouraged the boys to be multi-sport athletes, and to be hard workers in their off seasons as the commitment to a higher level of play increases.
After some prize voting done by the student body at the end of the meeting, Jake joined all of the lacrosse teams on the Back 40 fields for a special afternoon of skills and drills, which he orchestrated. What a treat to have him return to The Point! Thank you, Jake!
True Lacrosse is committed to the expansion and progression of lacrosse. Our combined knowledge, experience, and passion allow us to offer the best service, products, and guidance necessary to further develop the fastest game on two feet. Our mission is to spread the game of lacrosse throughout the entire Midwest and onto areas of the country where lacrosse has not been fully embraced. We understand that lacrosse is a lifestyle not a hobby and we value the dedication required to excel in this sport.