Canada will have a familiar face roaming the sidelines during the 2018 FIL Men’s Lacrosse World Championship in Netanya, Israel, as Randy Mearns, who led Canada to gold at the 2014 world championship, will return as the team’s head coach.
“I am thrilled and humbled to have once again been selected as the head coach of the Canadian senior men’s national field team,” said Mearns. “I would like to thank the Canadian Lacrosse Association and the national team executive for this incredible honour.”
A native of St. Catharines, Ont., Mearns has been involved with the Canadian national team program for the past 30 years, and his experience was something that couldn’t be overlooked.
“We are excited to have Randy return as Canada’s head coach,” added Dean French, chairman of the national team program. “His leadership at the world championships in 2014 was one of the reasons Canada brought home the gold medal.”
Mearns was a player on the silver medal winning team at the inaugural FIL U19 World Championship in 1988 in Adelaide, Australia, and also suited up for the senior team in 1998 in Baltimore, where he captured another silver.
He made the jump to the coaching ranks a decade later, serving as an assistant coach with the senior men’s field team at the 2006 and 2010 world championships, winning gold and silver, respectfully. He was promoted to head coach for the 2014 world championship, where his team defeated a heavily favored U.S. squad to win gold.
“This will be the fourth national team that Randy has coached with me,” said men’s field lacrosse program director Dave Huntley. “His understanding of our players, leadership of our staff, and passion for Canadian lacrosse is unparalleled.”
The application process for national team players is still ongoing, with those up for consideration taking part in a selection camp in Buffalo, New York, between October 6-8, 2017. To date, a number of notable veterans, as well as some up-and-coming NCAA stars, have shown interest in trying out for the team.
“I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead as we move forward towards the world championship in Israel,” added Mearns. “I’m confident that there will be an incredibly talented pool of players to choose from and am eager to begin the process of putting the pieces of the puzzle together that will help us repeat as world championship.”
It has been a whirlwind summer for Mearns, who was hired as the first ever head lacrosse coach at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, New York, after an impressive 19 year run as head coach at Canisius College (Buffalo, NY). He has the enviable task of building the Bonnies program, which will open NCAA Division I play in the 2018-19 academic year, from scratch.
It may be a new challenge, but one that a lifetime involved with the sport of lacrosse has prepared him for.
On the field, Mearns was a consistent scorer for Canisius College, where he still holds the school’s single season records for points (94) and assists (49). He also excelled in the box game, enjoying great success at both the amateur and professional levels.
He won a Minto Cup with his hometown St. Catharines Athletics in 1990, where he was named series MVP, before capturing five Mann Cups at the senior level with the Brampton Excelsiors (’93) and Six Nations Chiefs (’94-’96). His nine year National Lacrosse League career, in which he split time between Rochester and Buffalo, was highlighted with a league championship with the Knighthawks in 1997.
A natural born leader, Mearns’ has received his fair share of accolades throughout his decorated playing and coaching career, which includes being inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Association, Ontario Lacrosse Association, Rochester Knighthawks and Canisius College halls of fame.
In the coming weeks, the Canadian Lacrosse Association will announce the remainder of the coaching and support staff that will join Mearns in Israel.
“To achieve our goal this will certainly be a collective effort and I am excited to assemble the coaching staff and build the support team necessary to help us win,” added the head coach.