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Ratliff Nominated for MLL's New David Huntley Man of the Year Award

August 8, 2018 - Major League Lacrosse (MLL) - Atlanta Blaze News Release

KENNESAW - The David Huntley Man of the Year Award is a new Major League Lacrosse (MLL) award for 2018 that will be presented during the second annual MLL Honors award ceremony, Friday, Aug. 17. Named in honor of David Huntley, the former MLL coach for the Atlanta Blaze, Hamilton Nationals, Toronto Nationals, and Chesapeake Bayhawks, who passed away in December 2017, the award will be presented to the lacrosse athlete who has demonstrated, "sportsmanship and professionalism that are beyond reproach" and who "makes selfless, meaningful contributions to Major League Lacrosse, the game of lacrosse, and to his community."

MLL Commissioner Alexander (Sandy) Brown said Huntley's influence on others was boundless. "Coach Huntley's impact on others extended well beyond the game of lacrosse. He touched lives with limited or no association with our game," Brown said. "He truly embodied the spirit and passion for others that reside within our players, our game and Major League Lacrosse."

Atlanta's long-stick midfielder, Scott Ratliff, is one of nine nominees for the inaugural award. The others are Mitch Belisle - Boston Cannons; Kevin Crowley - Charlotte Hounds; Brian Phipps - Chesapeake Bayhawks; John Galloway - Dallas Rattlers; Josh Hawkins - Denver Outlaws; Steven Brooks - Florida Launch; Will Manny - New York Lizards; and Dominique Alexander - Ohio Machine.

Huntley's first foray into MLL was as a Bayhawks' assistant coach from 2003 to 2005 and was part of the team that won the Steinfeld Trophy in 2005. The championship team was considered to be one of the best MLL teams ever. Huntley then coached the Toronto Nationals to the 2009 MLL Championship in his first year with the team, despite finishing with a 7-5 regular season record. Huntley's team won two, one-goal decisions over New York and Denver. The 2010 season didn't turn out well for the defending champs and Huntley stepped down prior to the 2011 season. In 2015, he was an assistant coach for Dave Cottle in Chesapeake and then joined John Tucker's staff in Atlanta for the Blaze's inaugural season. With four games left in the 2016 season, he took over for Tucker. He coached the Blaze to a 6-8 record in 2017 prior to his death.

The man who took over for Huntley on Atlanta's sideline, Liam Banks, said Ratliff demonstrates the qualities required of a David Huntley Man of the Year Award.

"Scott has been an absolute rock for the Atlanta Blaze organization both on and off the field. He is a tireless worker who commits much of his time working with younger players both on and off the field," said Banks. "He is a role model for so many young men and women in the Atlanta sports community and has had a major influence on the growth of the game in Georgia. On the field, Scott is a fearless competitor who empties the tank every time he steps on the field. He is a leader who generates an incredible amount of positive energy both on the field and in our locker room." Ratliff participated twice in MLL's Cancer Awareness program.

Ratliff talked about his experiences playing for Huntley, soon after being notified he was one of the nine nominees.

"As a coach, he was very focused on the overall vibe mood of the team. Coach Huntley wanted to make sure that we had a good mixture of guys who were really loose and having fun, but he also liked guys who were chippy and played tough," Ratliff said. "When I think back my interactions with Coach Huntley, just so many of them weren't lacrosse related. He was a brilliant lacrosse coach and primarily coached the offense, so I wasn't on that end of the field as much as some of the other guys, but I learned a lot from him about the culture of the team, the mindset of the team and what we needed to do in those areas."

The appreciation of competitiveness of your opponent between the lines coupled with respect for the man off the field is part of the Huntley fabric, according to Ratliff.

"Honestly, that's a part of Coach Huntley's legacy. He encouraged spirited play. If he felt like we weren't playing with enough energy or enough heart, he would tell us at halftime or come up to me and tell me to get after somebody," Ratliff said. "He embraced toughness but he mastered what I am talking about. It was the mindset of let's get after each other, be the most competitive toughest dudes between the lines for 60 minutes and then when we get off the field, let's love each other and support each other," Ratliff said.

The David Huntley Man of the Year Award will be presented during the MLL Honors award ceremony, which will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 17 at the historic American Theater in Charleston, S.C. The ceremony will be aired on Lax Sports Network (LSN).

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