By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/25/14
There could not be a more logical choice to lead the NXT Bandits lacrosse program than Peter Burns.
Burns, recently named NXT Lacrosse Club and NXT Bandits Director of Operations, aims to spearhead a revival of the proud Bandits club.
The Bandits are not a new Philly club team. They were created in 2008 by Abington grad and NXT CTO Colin Ambler, who has also helped launch NXT’s Chicago club. Ambler founded the Bandits as part of a co-op program that he developed while a student-athlete at Drexel. NXT took over the program two years ago and did not offer a high school team last year.
But with the move of Burns – who just finished his first year as Abington High coach – to the Bandits Director from his spot as Director of Events, a natural leader is in place to restore the luster to the Bandits’ name.
Burns led Abington High to the Suburban One National Conference title and into the second round of the District 1 tournament in 2014. An Upstate New York native who played at powerful West Genesee High as well as St. John Fisher College in Rochester, Burns is excited to build the NXT program in the Montgomery/Bucks County region.
“We’re very proud of the coaching staff that we’ve been able to assemble to run the NXT Bandits,” Burns said. “Our No. 1 priority is to develop lacrosse players and it’s significantly easier to do that when you’ve got the type of coaches that we have in place.
“We want to be able to offer Montgomery and Bucks County players top-level coaching and support that will help them develop their skills.”
The Bandits staff is led by Burns (high school coach and director), whose entire Abington High School staff will have a hand in coaching the Bandits at different levels. Youth director Mike DelGrande (Springside Chestnut Hill Academy head coach) and middle school director Ryan Tessler (Holy Ghost Prep head coach) headline a phenomenal group of coaches dedicated to improving players’ skills. Marty Kupprion, Director of NXT L.C., will also help direct the program.
The NXT Bandits will host youth and high school tryouts on Sept. 7 and 14 at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. The youth divisions are for 3rd through 8th graders and high school teams are for 9th and 10th graders.The first tryout will be held Sept. 7 from 2-4 p.m. and the second tryout will be Sept. 14 from 10 a.m.-noon.
“We realized that we weren’t making the type of in-roads that we were hoping to make with a strong program like the Bandits,” Burns said. “Part of that was dropping the high school team last year, so we’re making a big effort to re-launch the high school program, starting with 2017s and 2018s.
“At the same time, we want to emulate that model throughout our organization from the high school age all the way through third grade. The Bandits offer players in the area an opportunity to play year-round in a strong program with a very structured environment.”
The NXT Bandits follow a year-round model that features both field and box lacrosse training. The teams will have three box lacrosse practices and will take part in NXT’s Holiday Indoor Tournament and the Philadelphia Indoor Lacrosse Championship, in addition to four winter skills sessions at SCH.
From a field lacrosse aspect, the NXT Bandits will have four fall practices and be a part of the fall NXT Play Day. The teams will participate in 10 summer practices, including a NXT Play Day, and will also compete in three or four events in the summer. The NXT Bandits will also have faceoff and goalie specialist coaches available to them year-round.