By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/11/13
A new coaches association has been created to provide training and services for high school coaches as well as club and youth coaches with the announcement of the Eastern Pennsylvania Lacrosse Coaches Association (EPLCA).
For years the Eastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association (EPSLA) served as the governing board for Philly area boys’ lacrosse. But when the PIAA sanctioned boys’ lacross ein 2009, the EPSLA lost most or all of its power.
The new EPLCA – http://eplca.org/ – has an executive board and is inviting all high school coaches to become primary members and anyone who coaches at youth or club levels or intends to become a coach to be an associate member.
“I think we realized that the association (EPSLA) as it was constructed, pre-PIAA, lost its relevance,” said EPLCA President Jef Hewlings, the head coach at Strath Haven and a longtime official in the EPSLA as well as the Philadelphia Lacrosse Association. “ We weren’t able to run a state championship and couldn’t make decisions for the boys’ lacrosse communirty the way we once could.
“It made sense to see how the landscape has changed and then respond to it.”
The EPSLA included all teams, not only those that were members of the PIAA, making the lacrosse state champion about the last remaining true state champion for team sports. The EPSLA also has named an All-EPSLA team and also ran a showcase from 2009-11.
Hewlings said the EPLCA, which will service all teams and programs in Districts 1, 11, 12 and 2, will name an All-EPLCA high school squad after the season. But its main role will be for education and training of coaches.
“The plan is to put together a full year of education for coaches, which is something we haven’t done in the past,” said Hewlings. “We want to get very involved in coaches education at all levels.
“We have been a high school-focused association for as long as I can remember. We want to grow that and include all levels of lacrosse, especially in youth lacrosse since that’s the future of the game.
“We want to include the clubs and all the different entities that weren’t around in the days of the PSLA and the EPSLA.”
Hewlings said coaches can go to the website to register any time, $25 for a primary membership (able to vote) and $10 for an associated membership. Those that attend clinics or workshops and are not members will be able to register then.
Hewlings said a goal also is to promote lacrosse in inner city and underserved areas.
“We want to grow lacross in areas that don’t have it and improve it in areas that need improvement,” he said.
EPLCA Executive Board includes:
• President – Jef Hewlings, Strath Haven High School
• Vice President – Matt Coverdale, Central Bucks West High School
• Secretary – Jim DeRose, Cardinal O’Hara High School
• Treasurer – Paul Stankewicz, West Chester Hendoerson High School
• US Lacrosse Representative – Andy Hayes, Episcopal Academy