Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/22/14
From Press Release
It wasn’t the best of weeks for Dylan Brown, but Frank Clark probably isn’t complaining.
Brown, NXTsports’ Director of Education and Clark, the head boys lacrosse coach at The Blake School (MN), took completely opposite paths to get where they are today.
Well, educationally, anyway. Brown went to high school at The Episcopal Academy (PA) and Ohio Wesleyan University, while Clark went to EA rival Malvern Prep and OWU rival Denison University. As luck would have it, the Churchmen took on the Friars this week, while the Battling Bishops tangled with the Big Red.
Neither one of them worked out too well for Brown. Malvern Prep took home a 9-8 overtime win Tuesday and Denison toppled OWU, 10-9, Wednesday. While their personal rivalry is one-sided for the time being, it hasn’t stopped the duo from collaborating to bring Cradle to Minnesota for the first time when Cradle comes to The Blake School this Saturday, April 26.
“This is really unique to the marketplace,” Clark said. “Growing up in Philly, we didn’t have anything like this available either. There’s nothing like this. I really like the approach. Toddlers aren’t going to have interest in anything that’s too serious. The game is growing so fast and Cradle plays into that growth.”
For Brown, the idea of bringing Cradle to Blake seemed like a logical one with the more that he found out about Clark. Director of Showcase Lacrosse Brett Manney tipped Brown off about Clark after the latter had some of his players play in the Philly Showcase and Philly Showcase Camp.
“Brett gave me some background on Frank and the more I found out about him, the more I saw the common themes in our backgrounds,” Brown explained. “He also coaches at Blake, a school that’s similar to EA, and it got my mind thinking as to how we could get Cradle out there.”
Clark has had success as Blake’s coach, but he’s also tried to figure out a way to help develop younger players as they start to rise through the ranks. He’s been in Minnesota since 2002 and when he first got there, there were only a handful of club teams. Today, the state boasts around 70 varsity programs.
“We’ve had some local people getting things going and now, it’s re-energizing,” Clark said. “Out east, it can be kind of a grind. We had the Inter-Ac schedule, then the summer club stuff, then box. I have a son who’s three years old and one of the things we’re trying to figure out is how we want to approach these younger guys. We didn’t necessarily want to re-create the wheel if we didn’t have to. Cradle helps us with that.”
What came next, especially in a non-traditional lacrosse market, took Brown by surprise.
“It sold out a month ahead of time,” Brown added with a wide smile. “It really speaks to the lacrosse market that Frank has worked to create there and it’s very exciting for us.”
If everything goes well, that lacrosse market will keep growing, and with Minnesota being the seventh state to host Cradle, it sure seems like more and more people are subscribing to the idea to #cradleEVERYWHERE.