By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/22/09
Recent La Salle graduate Tyler Houchins, who helped the Explorers win back-to-back state championships, has signed a letter of intent to play at Drexel for 2009-10.
Houchins, a defenseman, had originally committed to Division III Scranton. But in the preseason he drew interest from Dragons coach Chris Bates following a scrimmage that was played at Drexel, and his strong play during the early part of the season caused Bates to recruit him to Philadelphia.
“I think coach Bates saw me play against a Canadian team (Hill Academy) at Drexel and we kept in touch,” said Houchins, a second-team All-Catholic League selection in 2009. “He saw me play a few more times and I also became a little more interested in Drexel.”
Houchins actually knew Bates for several years. He played for him on Team Philly as a sophomore in the summer and felt comfortable with the popular Dragons mentor.
“I played for coach Bates going into my junior year and I always thought Drexel would be a great spot for me,” said Houchins, who plans to major in business. “I think he has a similar coaching style to coach (Bill) Leahy and coach (Tony) Resch (at La Salle), and there will not be too much transition from high school to college.
“I got a taste of how he coaches and how he pushes you constantly.”
Houchins said he appreciated how he was pushed at La Salle, which won the first Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) title this year after taking the final Keystone Cup crown in 2008. This year Houchins became a mainstay on defense for the Explorers, who won 20 of their final 21 games and capped the season with a 7-3 triumph over Conestoga in the PIAA finals.
“It’s a great feeling to have accomplished what we did with all my friends,” Houchins said. “To be able to do it (win the state title) twice in a row is unreal. We stuck with it, even in the beginning of the year when we lost a few. We just kept working harder and harder and it paid off in the end.”