By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/14/09
Ridley graduate Michael Podgajny, an All-American at Notre Dame and a current member of the playoff-bound Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse (MLL), was named Friday as an assistant to new head coach Guy Van Arsdale at Colorado College.
Podgajny, who played one year out west with the now-defunct San Francisco Dragons of the MLL last year, fell in love with coaching last spring when he was hired early in the year as an assistant at Ursinus College.
“The opportunity to coach at Ursinus College fell into my lap and in the few months I spent there I found I had a passion for college coaching,” he said. “In my MLL experience of traveling cross country, and seeing lacrosse grow in the Colorado area and the west coast, it interested me.”
Podgajny said he and Van Arsdale, who recently was hired after pending five years as the top assistant at Penn State, had known each other for years. In fact, Van Arsdale was involved in some of the recruiting of Podgajny to Notre Dame when he served as an assistant with the Fighting Irish from 2003-04.
“This summer I started working a few lacrosse camps across the country,” said Podgajny, who will work with the offense at Colorado College. “They were good for me because I learned a little more about the game while teaching, and I began to network,
“I talked to a few people about job and through a mutual acquaintance I got in touch with coach Van Arsdale. He coached at Notre Dame just before I got there and coached against me while at Penn State.
“The thing that’s constantly in the news is that Colorado lacrosse is one of the most rapidly growing pockets in the country. What coach Van Arsdale expressed to me is the excitement, from youth programs to high school and college ranks. The growth is limitless.”
Podgajny is a midfielder for the Cannons, who meet the top-seeded Denver Outlaws in the semifinals on Saturday, Aug. 22 at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis at noon. Last year Podgajny enjoyed a solid rookie year for the Dragons, tallying five goals and five assists in nine games.
Podgajny’s hiring is the first for Van Arsdale since he took the post.
“Michael will work with our offensive personnel and his experience at Notre Dame will help in the development of our individual players and team concepts,” Van Arsdale said. “He also will be heavily involved in our recruiting. I am very confident Mike will be a great ambassador for our program and Colorado College.”
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, finance, Podgajny was named MLL Rookie of the Week after he scored twice, including the game winner, and added three assists during his professional debut against the Chicago Machine
“We are very excited to have Mike join the CC family,” Van Arsdale said. “His experience as a great player and in coaching will be a tremendous addition to our program.”
A first-round draft pick (7th overall) by the San Francisco Dragons in the 2008 Collegiate Draft, Podgorny served as offensive coordinator and coached faceoffs at Ursinus College for part of the 2009 campaign after the team’s staff turned over at mid-season.
Podgajny also has been an instructor at camps across the country, including the LB3 Lacrosse Camps and those offered by the Cannons and Notre Dame.
During his collegiate career, Podgajny helped the Irish earn three consecutive berths in the NCAA Tournament (2006-08) and Great Western Lacrosse League titles in 2007 and ’08. He scored 68 goals and added 36 assists as a midfielder in 53 career games.
Podgajny earned Honorable Mention USILA All-American and all-conference honors as a junior and senior. He also was a USILA Scholar All-American in 2008.
At Ridley, Podgajny was an All-American in 2004 who helped the Green Raiders win three state championships from 2001-03.