Catching Up with Danny Lawson of Emmanuel College Men’s Basketball

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Danny Lawson (middle) was recently named earlier this month the third men’s basketball coach at Emmanuel College. (PHOTO CREDIT: David Le ’10/ Endicott College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

It was announced earlier this month that Danny Lawson had been named the third head coach of the Emmanuel College men’s basketball team.

Lawson arrives in Boston, Massachusetts after a successful assistant coaching stint last winter with the Endicott College men’s basketball team. He helped coach Kevin Bettencourt and the Gulls to a 19-9 record, as well as a return trip to the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Championship against Nichols College.

No stranger to New England basketball, Lawson played at Lexington High School before continuing his career at nearby Bentley University where he guided the Falcons to an impressive 101-27 record in four years, which included a number one and two national rankings, along with an NCAA Elite Eight appearance (2007) and an NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance (2005).

Since graduating Bentley, Lawson has enjoyed a great deal of success in the basketball world, working for numerous programs at all three levels in the college world, while assisting the Boston Celtics during their 2008 NBA Championship run.

Noontime Sports recently caught-up with Lawson to discuss his excitement for the upcoming season with the Emmanuel men’s basketball team.

What interested you in becoming the program’s third head coach? And just to confirm, this is your first-time head coaching position, right?

When the job opened up, I was very excited to apply. Being from the Boston area, I knew a little bit about the history of Emmanuel’s academics and how it is has really exploded as an institution within the last decade. To me, it represented a college with great leadership and continuity. Combined with a tremendous location in the city of Boston – we are next to Fenway Park – I felt it could be a great opportunity for student-athletes academically, athletically and socially. Also, it certainly has always been a goal of mine throughout my coaching career to run my own program.

What did you know prior to accepting to the head coaching position about the Emmanuel men’s basketball program? 

I knew the program was relatively new since the college went co-ed in 2001. The athletic administration structure and support was very evident and crucial for me (throughout the interview process). Also, the program enjoyed success in the early-to-mid 2000s, winning between 17-to-20 games each season. As I prepared for my interviews,  I saw the roster was filled with some talented and young student-athletes, which will be returning this upcoming season. Throughout the interview process I also gained a lot of valuable information about the character of our returning players that are eager to be successful.

You were an integral part of Endicott College’s run to the CCC Championship last winter, so what were some things you learned from that experience, whih will help you in your new role with the Saints? 

I got to work alongside three excellent coaches and close friends in Kevin Bettencourt, Luke Richards and Lance Greene. I have known all three coaches for quite some time – I grew up and played basketball with Kevin, competing on the same AAU team since seventh grade. All three coaches helped me gain an understanding of the D3 landscape, including what it takes to coach at this level to recruiting. I had only coached in Division 1 and 2 levels, so last year’s experience was really instrumental in gaining an understanding of D3 basketball, but also how to be successful at this level, too. The group of players I had a chance to coach at Endicott was a really special group that made my experience at Endicott a lot of fun.

It sounds cliche, but looking back to both your playing career (at Bentley) and other stops, both in college and with the Boston Celtics, who have been some of the coaches and people that have molded you into the coach you are today? 

Like most coaches, I’ve been molded by every coach that I have played and worked for, beginning with my high school coach at Lexington, Bob Farias. Coach Farias had a legendary hall of fame career – he was the best motivator and developer of confidence that I have ever experienced.

Certainly the biggest influence has been my father, Jay Lawson. It is indescribable how much of an impact he has made on my coaching career, specifically in teaching and leading players.

I was fortunate to work for Jim Ferry for seven seasons – he is the former head coach at Duquesne, LIU Brooklyn, Adelphi and Plymouth State. The various opportunities he provided helped me become the coach I am today.

Jack Perri, who I worked with at LIU-Brooklyn – he would eventually become the team’s head coach and lead them to the NCAA Tournament. Jack was one of my assistant coaches when I played at Bentley and is someone I consider a true mentor.

I also spent a great season learning under Steve Evans at LeMoyne College. Steve had a lot of success at LeMoyne from a recruiting and coaching – he is one of the best teachers of the zone defense.

Finally, my season with the Boston Celtics was about as great first basketball coaching experience. Learning and watching from guys like Doc Rivers, Tom Thibodeau, Danny Ainge, Mike Longabardi and Ryan McDonough, as well as the players really helped shape my daily work ethic and approach.

Speaking of the Celtics, you were a member of the team’s 17th championship run, so how much do you think about that experience and being able to celebrate a title with a group that certainly seemed to buy-in from the get-go? 

I was very fortunate to be a part of the Celtics organization during their 17th championship season. To say it was an unbelievable experience would probably be an understatement. One of the biggest things I took away from the experience was how important an unselfish mentality and willingness to sacrifice for the greater good of the team is to a program’s success. Boston’s big three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen only cared about winning. They became totally invested in the team’s success right from the start when the team began its season training in Italy. And they had a great veteran bench presence combined with some young talent, as well. They also had a high level coaching staff and management team, but it all just came together at the right time and at the right point in their careers. It was really special.

Are you a Celtics fan or root for another team? 

Yes, absolutely. I grew up here and have always been a Celtics fan.

What does a new coach need to do to get prepared for a new season with a new program? How will you use the next few weeks and months to make sure the team will be ready to go come mid-October? 

Obviously there are a million things you need to accomplish when you take over a new program, but my focus this summer is all about building relationships, beginning with the current players in our program. Additionally, I look forward to meeting and building relationships on campus with other coaches, administrators, faculty and staff, too. I’m currently working on hiring the rest of our coaching staff for the upcoming season, while building and fostering recruiting relationships, as well. I am also working on completing and finalizing our game and practice schedule, while establishing our program’s identity.

Talk about building relationships with your players – how important is to begin those relationships now? 

It’s huge (and) has definitely been a primary focus for me the last two weeks. I have been able to meet with about half the team in-person, while conversing multiple times by phone or text with others. We need to build that mutual trust and respect on both sides, and then we can get on the court.

 

What is your all-time favorite basketball (or sports) movie?  

“Above the Rim” is definitely my favorite. I like others, as well, including “Blue Chips,” “Hoop Dreams” and more.  “Above The Rim” was ahead of its time with Kyle Lee Watson, Tommy Shepard, Birdie, and a lot of great actors and characters.

Finally, when you were growing up, who was a player or two that you idled? What did you like about their game? 

Like most people my age, I was a big Michael Jordan guy growing up. Also, Larry Bird, too. I loved their skill packages and competitiveness, as well as Bird’s passing ability, too.

Lax Notebook: MLL Announces New Commissioner, College News & Notes

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By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

Lacrosse season has officially begun – well, technically it started in December with the National Lacrosse League (NLL) – but below are some news and notes from the Lax World, which you should know about or may want to know now that one of my favorite sports is back in action!

Let’s begin with some exciting news from Major League Lacrosse (MLL), which announced earlier this week that Alexander P. “Sandy” Brown has been named the second commissioner. Brown replaces Dave Gross, who was the league’s initial commissioner.

Marissa Ingemi has a great piece about the new MLL commissioner from US Lacrosse Magazine about his plans to increase the league’s brand through Digital Media, while collaborating with other leagues.

Keep an eye on Massachusetts’ Jake Horwath this season, who will look to guide the Bobcats of Frostburg State to a Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) crown. The Bobcats will certainly be a team to watch in Division III this season – great read from Ed Lee of the Baltimore Sun. Lee also had a great preview on the St. Mary’s (Md.) Seahawks, who will also look to contend for a CAC title, too.

The Boston College women’s lacrosse team was picked to finish third in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Preseason Coaches Poll – North Carolina was picked to place first followed by Syracuse University. A pair of New England student-athletes – Dempsey Arsenault (New Hampton, N.H.) and Elizabeth Miller (New Canaan, Conn.) – were named to the Preseason All-ACC Team.

The Holy Cross men’s lacrosse team will look to continue its success from a year ago – the Crusaders won its first-ever Patriot League tournament game last spring – when they begin its 2018 campaign on Saturday, February 10 against Providence College.

Yale University was tabbed the favorite in the Ivy League, while Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania rounded out the top three spots.

Per US Lacrosse Magazine, the Division III women’s lacrosse game will be sped-up this season, thanks to some new rules, which will make the game faster.

Syracuse women’s lacrosse will open its season against the University of Connecticut – get excited, Big East fans!


In Case You Missed It (ICYMI)! 

Earlier this month, Hendrix University captured its season-opener against Southwestern (Texas), thanks to a pair of goals and one ground ball from Lexington, Massachusetts native Garrett Brown.

The Northeast-10 Conference (NE-10) unveiled its preseason coaches poll, which found Merrimack College atop the men’s poll and Adelphi atop the women’s poll.

Taylor Bastien was tabbed the new head coach of the Bentley University women’s lacrosse team last Friday. Bastien was recently the coach of the Simmons College women’s lacrosse team, but competed for the Falcons as a student-athlete at Bentley.

We’re T-Minus 11 Weeks Away From The Start of the 2017 College Football Season

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By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

As of today – yes, Thursday, June 15th – we are 11 weeks away from kicking-off a brand new season of college football. And yes … we are psyched to bring you a brand new season of coverage!

11 weeks from tonight (Thursday, August 31st), we’ll have three games to follow. And they are the following:

  • Bentley at West Chester, 6 p.m.
  • Saint Anselm at Wagner, 6 p.m.
  • Coast Guard vs. Alfred State, 7 p.m.

So, mark your calendar for August 31st, the night we return to college football coverage here in New England!

Make sure to follow Noontime Sports on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube! Also, stay connected with Noontime Sports by joining our email list TODAY! 

Noontime Top 5 D2 Poll: Assumption Secures Top Spot (WK 3)

Assumption College secured the top spot in our Noontime D2 Top 5 after an impressive first two contests. (Photo Credit: Assumption College Athletics)
Assumption College secured the top spot in our Noontime D2 Top 5 after an impressive first two contests. (Photo Credit: Assumption College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Noontime Sports is happy to unveil our first regular season (Week Three) D2 Top 5 Poll.

Our D2 Poll is a part of our blog’s new coverage plan, which we are slowly unveiling over the next few days and weeks.

So, without further ado, here is this week’s (Week 3) Noontime D2 Top 5 Poll.

  1. Assumption (2-0) – Bob Chesney’s squad is off to an impressive start. Through two games this season, the Greyhounds are averaging 52 points per game. Can they keep this momentum going against Southern Connecticut State on Friday evening? We’ll find out.
  1. Bentley (1-1) – The Falcons enjoyed a bounce-back game against Saint A’s, thanks to a pair of touchdown strikes by quarterback CJ Scarpa, who concluded the contest 14 of 20 for 185 yards. Joey Piatnik did his job on defense, tallying five total tackles, including four solo stops and one sack. Bentley will look to keep things going at home Friday against Merrimack.
  1. Merrimack (1-1) – Following a tough opening day loss to Bryant, the Warriors rebounded with a come-from-behind win over American International. Give the game ball to quarterback Nick Davis, who helped the Warriors erase a 13-0 deficit en route to claiming a 16-13 victory.
  1. So. Connecticut (1-1) –Quarterback Robert Nittolo enjoyed his best game under center, tossing a trio of touchdowns, while completing 17 of 25 passes for 287 yards. Additionally, he rushed for a season-high 41 yards, along with one score.
  1. American International College (0-2) – Give credit to the Yellow Jackets’ defense, which was led by Azeem Cooper, who finished this past week’s contest against Merrimack with 11 total tackles, two sacks and one quarterback hurry. The Yellow Jackets are showing signs that they’ll crack the win column sooner than later.

Mass. College Hoops: Johnson & Wales Establishes New Program Record For Wins, Wednesday Evening Notebook

By NoontimeSports.com 

Quarry Greenway poured in 37 points and registered 16 rebounds, while converting 16 of 21 free throws as the Johnson & Wales men’s basketball team cruised past Albertus Magnus, 113-58, and established a new program record for consecutive victories with 13.

The Wildcats are currently first in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) with seven conference wins, along with 13 overall victories. Johnson & Wales has not lost a game since falling to Linfield at Lewis & Clark on November 13, 2015.

Lasell College picked-up their sixth consecutive conferences win by defeating Anna Maria College, 71-69. Armin Omanovic’s jumper with one second remaining lifted the Lasers to victory.

Babson College won its third New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest as the Beavers defeated 12th-ranked WPI on the road by a score of 73-71. Joey Flannery netted 33 points for the Green and White to lift Babson to 9-4 overall and 3-0 in league play.

UMass Boston’s Olivia Murphy became the third member of the women’s basketball program to reach 1,000 rebounds as the senior forward finished Wednesday’s contest with 14 points and 18 rebounds in a 57-56 win over Plymouth State.

In Northeast-10 Conference play last night, Bentley University graduate student Keegan Hyland netted 17 of his 22 points in the first half en route to reaching the 1,000-point milestone. Hyland and the Falcons established a 38-25-halftime lead before pulling away from Adelphi to claim an 81-61 victory. With the win, Bentley improves to 11-3 overall and 8-1 in league play.