man at the helm of the Washington Stealth brings with him 37 years of lacrosse
experience as a player and coach.
His passion for the game is unmatched. His knowledge of the game undeniable. If the boys in Red and Black have a
lackluster first half he will let them know, and they will hear his crazed
halftime speech in Mukilteo. It’s
that fire that has made Stealth Head Coach Chris Hall a legend in the sport,
and what continues to drive him today.
Needless to say, the Stealth are in good hands with “C.H.” on the bench.
Hall took over the Head Coaching duties in the middle of last season after the Stealth got off to a disappointing 3-7 start. From there, he led the Stealth to a 4-2 record, all four wins over West Division opponents and all considered must wins if the Stealth playoff hopes were to remain alive. They clinched third place in the West in a dramatic overtime victory at Colorado and went on to the West Division Finals. It was clear that Hall had the respect of his players, and they responded by mirroring his passion on the floor. Of course when you have the resume of Hall, it’s easy to gain that respect.
As a player, Hall reached the pinnacle of box lacrosse in Canada, winning the prestigious Mann Cup with the Victoria Shamrocks in 1979. He also played a season with the Boston Bolts in the original National Lacrosse League in 1975. He also had a fantastic field lacrosse career, leading Team Canada to three medals at the World Games in his career. In 1984, he was named an All-World defenseman as he and Team Canada won the Silver medal.
In 1983, after a highly successful nine-year box lacrosse playing career with the Victoria Shamrocks, Hall was hired as Head Coach of the Western Lacrosse Association team. He led the team to a Mann Cup victory in his rookie year as Head Coach. Hall again led the Shamrocks to a Mann Cup championship in 1999. During his tenure, Hall was a two-time winner of the WLA Coach of The Year award.
In 2002, Hall was named as Head Coach of the
expansion Calgary Roughnecks of the NLL. He coached them for six seasons
(2002-2007), won the NLL Championship in 2004 and was a three-time NLL All-Star
Game Head Coach. In 2007, Hall was named as Head Coach of Team England for the
World Indoor Championships and went on to lead that country to the Bronze medal
game after being seeded eighth prior to the tournament.
Hall was also the co-founder and Head Coach of the Victoria Seasprays field lacrosse club. Under Hall’s leadership, the club went on to make Canadian lacrosse history opening with a four-year, 76-game winning streak, capturing 12 Ross Cup Senior A Men’s National Championships over the next 16 years. Hall was the Head Coach and Assistant General Manager for Team Canada from 1988 to 1994, leading them to a Silver medal at the World games in Australia in 1990 and a Bronze medal in England in 1994.
So if you didn’t notice, the Stealth have a very accomplished Head Coach. He’ll have the boys ready to battle this upcoming season as they look to win the franchise’s first NLL Champion’s Cup. Here are a few more questions for Chris Hall in this week’s “Get to Know the Stealth”.
1. You have achieved a great deal as both a player and a coach. What accomplishments mean the most to you?
CH: Winning a Mann Cup as a player (’79) and as a Head Coach (’83 and ’99); winning an NLL Championship as a Head Coach (’04); taking Team England to the Bronze Medal game as a Head Coach in the World Indoor Championships in ’07; being selected as an All World Defenseman at the Jim Thorpe World Games in Los Angeles in ’84.
2. You took over the Stealth after a 3-7 start last season. What was the reason for the late season turnaround and the push into the playoffs?
CH: We had some big holes on defense through our first ten games and managed to improve that late with the addition of veteran Shaydon Santos and the trade for Andrew Biers. As well, we had some rookies on D in our lineup like Brent Manney and Kyle Hartzell who were experiencing their first season of indoor lax after stellar NCAA careers. They were improving game by game in leaps and bounds but it took some time for them to be comfortable with the nuances of the indoor game. I think a change in coaching leadership seemed to also spark some emotion in the team and our Captain Colin Doyle was magnificent in carrying that forward on the floor.
3. What do you do in the offseason to get ready for the upcoming season?
CH: I scout Junior and Senior games in B.C.; take in the Junior “prospects” game in Vancouver; follow the Eastern Canada Junior and Senior leagues online; follow the MLL online; follow the NCAA season online and through print media; talk with Junior and Senior coaches across Canada; talk with my coaching staff and Stealth management; prepare for drafts and participate in planning sessions for the next season.
4. What would you be doing if you weren't a lacrosse coach?
CH: I would be doing some sort of work in the lacrosse community whether it is administrating; managing; officiating or a combination of these. Lacrosse is my passion and I enjoy playing a part in the growth of the game locally, nationally and internationally.
5. What attributes do you look for in a player on your team?
CH: I look for stick skill, intelligence, heart, leadership skills, athleticism, quickness, speed and size. It’s difficult to find someone that would meet all these criteria but I’m constantly in search of the perfect player.
6. Why do you think the people in Washington should be excited for the Stealth in 2010?
CH: The NLL provides a fantastic, affordable and incredibly exciting professional sports entertainment package. Our roster has some of the finest players in the world including ’NLL Insider’s number one ranked player Colin Doyle and the ’08 NCAA Player of the Year Paul Rabil. The game is fast, hard hitting and an incredible percentage of games are decided by one goal in the final minutes.
7. What are your three favorite movies of all time?
CH: Midnight Cowboy; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; The Graduate (close is Bridge on the River Kwai and Terms of Endearment)
8. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you and why?
CH: My wife – without whom life would be miserable; a cell phone – to call for help; a solar powered generator – to re-charge my cell phone when no-one comes to rescue us.
9. What are you most looking forward to about heading to training camp in December?
CH: I look forward to the competition for spots first. It’s always so intense. Then I look forward to implementing and fine tuning our systems as quickly as possible so we’re ready for our first game.
10. What are your goals for the Stealth in 2010?
CH: Certainly my vision is to win a championship and have packed houses along the way to cheer us on at our home games in Everett. That would be the ultimate experience. I believe it’s a reachable vision given our ownership, management, staff and players but it will take the commitment, strength and determination of all these people (with perhaps even a little luck tossed in as well) to achieve.