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.

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! 

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.

Mass. College Football: Links From Around The Web Heading Into Week Three

By NoontimeSports.com 

The third week of the college football season begins this evening with a non-Massachusetts contest. Luckily, we don’t have to wait too long as some games kick-off tomorrow evening, but here are some links and news from around the web to get you set for another weekend of football.

Mass. College Football Notebook: Week Two Notes & Takeaways

Boston College's Troy Flutie registered one touchdown pass in his team's 76-0 win over Howard last Saturday. (Photo Credit: BCEagles.com)
Boston College’s Troy Flutie registered one touchdown pass in his team’s 76-0 win over Howard last Saturday. (Photo Credit: BCEagles.com)
By Matt Noonan 

The second week of the college football season in Massachusetts was a wild one. There were some interesting outcomes and upsets, along with numerous teams stretching its win total to two games.

Here are a few notes and takeaways from the second weekend of the season:

* Boston College made headlines this weekend, routing Howard, 76-0. The Eagles held the Bison to just 11 yards of total offense, while quarterback Troy Flutie – the former Natick High School signal-caller – completed seven of eight passes for 88 yards and one touchdown.

The Eagles, winners of back-to-back contests, host Florida State University on Friday, September 18 at 8:00 p.m. This will be Boston College’s first Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) clash of the season.

* UMass head coach Mark Whipple wasn’t too pleased with his team’s performance against Colorado, stating in a press release, “Give Colorado a lot of credit; they played better in all phases.”

The Minutemen dropped their season-opener to the Buffaloes by a score of 48-14. They registered one touchdown in the first and second quarter, respectively, while Colorado ended the game with 558 yards of total offense.

The Minutemen will look to rebound on Saturday when they host Temple at Gillette Stadium – the team’s home opener.

* As noted in the Northeast-10 Conference weekly report, Assumption College kicker Cole Tracy broke a pair of conference records this past weekend – most field goals in a game (six field goals) and most points by a kicker (19 points). Tracy is in his second season with the Greyhounds and has converted seven field goals this season.

* Sticking with special teams, the NE-10 weekly report also highlighted Bentley University’s Tyler Ford, who matched the Falcons’ program record for the longest punt, a 68-yard boot. Ford, who hails from Amherst, New Hampshire, registered five punts last Friday in his team’s heartbreaking defeat to New Haven. He did, however, record a quartet of punts that landed between the Chargers’ 20-yard-line and goal line.

* Stonehill College won its second consecutive contests, defeating Merrimack College, 24-20. Quarterback Matt Foltz, who was tabbed the NE-10 Co-Offensive Player of the Week, engineered his first career fourth quarter comeback, while finishing the contest 22-of-36 for 231 yards and three touchdowns. Foltz also rushed for 25 yards on 11 attempts.

* Becker College’s Jacob Holmes was tabbed the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) Offensive Player of the Week after an extremely impressive performance against MIT. Holmes set and tied eight program records, while averaging 13.6 yards per carry en rote to 232 rushing yards and 279 all-purpose yards. He rushed for a 93-yard touchdown in the third quarter – the longest run of the season by any collegiate football player in the country at any level, according to the ECFC weekly report.

Besides his impressive ground game, Holmes also made headlines by booting a trio of field goals and four extra points for a single-game record of 13 points.

* Nichols College quarterback Michael McCourt was tabbed New England Football Conference (NEFC) Offensive Player of the Week following his team’s initial win against Anna Maria College.

McCourt, who made is first collegiate start at quarterback, concluded the contest 21-of-26 for a school-record 444 yards and six touchdowns. According to the Nichols College Athletics website, McCourt concluded the first quarterback with five completions for 165 yards and three touchdowns.

* WPI picked up its second consecutive ‘Friday Night Lights’ victory, defeating cross-town rival Worcester State University, 27-13. Quarterback Dan Eckler completed 21-of-31 attempts for 381 yards and one touchdown – he did not toss an interception. Zach Grasis rumbled for 74 yards and Brandon Eccher recorded a season-high 168 receiving yards and one touchdown.

QUICK HITS:

 * Harvard University kicks-off its season next Saturday, September 19 when they travel to URI for a 1:00 p.m. kick-off. The Crimson was picked to capture the Ancient Eight this season, as noted in the preseason poll.

* We’re two weeks away from starting another New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) season. Amherst, Tufts and Williams each begin its campaign on the road, Saturday, September 26.