April 13, 2017 - Major League Lacrosse (MLL) - Atlanta Blaze
KENNESAW - In addition to returning a star-studded lineup for the 2017 season, Atlanta brings back venerable head coach David Huntley and has added former Denver University coach Jamie Munro to lead the team on the field in 2017.
Huntley, who started with the Blaze as associate coach last season, returns at the helm of the Blaze after signing a contract extension this offseason. Coach Huntley has extensive coaching and playing experience at all levels of the game. As a player himself, Coach Huntley played for Henry "Chic" Ciccarone and the Johns Hopkins University Blue Jays, Huntley lead the team to two national championships in both 1978 and 1979. Additionally, he was awarded the Lieutenant Donald MacLaughlin award as the nation's top midfielder in 1979 and finished his career as the leading goal-scorer among midfielders with 100 goals in total. However, Huntley's playing career did not end at Hopkins, as he represented his home nation-Canada-at the World Games in 1978 and 1982.
Following a successful career as a player, Huntley began a coaching career that has seen him coach at all levels, from high school to international. While he began as an assistant at Loyola under current Bayhawks General Manager Dave Cottle, Huntley quickly made a name for himself in the coaching world and at 30 years old was named General Manager and Head Coach of the Philadelphia Wings of the Eagle Pro Box Lacrosse League-which would later evolve to become the National Lacrosse League (NLL). Following stints in various roles for the Baltimore Thunder, Colorado Mammoth, and Baltimore Bayhawks - to name a few - Huntley returned to the Wings as their head coach in 2008. Following his tenure in Philadelphia, Huntley coached the expansion team Toronto Nationals of MLL in 2009 and led them to a league championship in their inaugural season.
Throughout his tenure in both MLL and the NLL, Coach Huntley has served a variety of roles for the Canadian National Team throughout five World Games, including being named to Assistant Coach when the team won gold in 2006 and the Director when the team won gold again in 2014.
Huntley, who currently serves as the offensive coordinator for Calvert Hall High School, returns to a team he got to know and grow with all last season-a bonus for a team entering its second season. The Atlanta Blaze are fortunate to have a coach with such a storied playing and coaching career at the helm, and the combination of Huntley, General Manager Spencer Ford and Defensive Coordinator Jamie Munro has fans excited for the Blaze to step foot on the field for the 2017 season.
Q&A with Head Coach Huntley:
Q: What is the biggest difference between coaching at more organized levels (high school or college) and the MLL level? Huntley: The MLL is made up of world class athletes. They are the best in the world at their sport and really are the 1% that make it. There are only 9 teams made up of a couple dozen guys so it's exciting coaching the best of the best. It is fun working with these guys and the players, coaches, and GMs all have a shared passion for the game. Honestly, it's just really cool and I feel incredibly lucky.
Q: Can you walk me through what a typical game day schedule looks like for you?
Huntley: I usually go with Spence and Jamie to grab a coffee before we head back to the hotel for breakfast. Then we'll go to the field for a shoot around and a light workout. After that back to the hotel for a pregame meal and film. At that point it's just waiting around until 7 and trying to stay as relaxed as possible. Before the game starts I'll also go out and say hey to the opposing coaches or players that I know on the other team. After that its back to the locker room and really go time at that point.
Q: What piece of advice would you give to a younger coach hoping to achieve the level of success you have in the lacrosse world?
Huntley: I'd say to make connections with as many coaches as possible. Whether that's exchanging ideas over the phone or being able to go and watch a practice. It will all help. And then once you have been mentored you should return the favor. This whole industry is about giving and sharing ideas and everyone wants to do it, so once you have that information it's always good to give back.