photos and video courtesy of Bryant University athletics
Our “Behind the Polo” series will delve into the thoughts and minds of some of the top assistant coaches across all of mens college lacrosse. This interview series will assist and inform student-athletes and families on college lacrosse and the recruiting process. It will provide an in-depth look into what it takes to be a college lacrosse player in 2019 and beyond.
Bryant University Associate Head Coach Casey Brodersen is in his ninth year as a coach with the Bulldogs and has helped lead Bryant to five Northeast Conference titles, four NCAA tournament appearances, and a trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2014. Brodersen is also a former standout middie at Keene State University in New Hampshire.
How long have you been coaching for?
11 years total. 10 years in college (Nine years D1, One year D3) and one year of high school.
What was your path into coaching and where else have you coached?
I started out coaching in general while a senior in undergrad at Keene State as an assistant coach at Monadnock Regional High School in NH. The coach and guidance counselor at the school, Jason McGee, knew me from student teaching there and welcomed me to his program. After that I jumped into college coaching right out of undergrad when Coach Bugbee at Springfield College took a chance on me. I am forever grateful to him for giving me the opportunity. As good of a coach as he is, he is a better person and I greatly enjoy staying in touch with him. After that year, Coach (Mike) Pressler had an opening on his staff and I moved over to Bryant for the 2010-2011 academic year and have been here since.
Where did you play in High School?
I played at Pinkerton Academy in NH.
Where did you play College?
I played at Keene State College in NH.
Who are some of the most influential coaches in your life, and why?
I have to start with my high school coach, Brian O’Reilly. Without him, I would have never got into lacrosse. He was (and still is) the football and lacrosse coach at Pinkerton. After playing freshman football, he asked me about my spring plans and at that point, I became a lacrosse player. I had so much respect for him (that has only grown over the years) and enjoyed my experience when I was a high school player so much that it really gave me the thought of coaching down the road.
On a professional level, I owe everything to Coach Pressler. He gave me the opportunity to make coaching a full-time job after my grad school year at Springfield. He took a chance on a 23 year old and his guidance and belief in me over the years has helped me grow as a coach in more ways than I could describe. I can’t thank him enough for everything that he has done for me personally and professionally.
What makes Bryant University unique from a lacrosse perspective?
We have been given great support from the administration and university. Between funding and facilities, we have every opportunity to succeed recruiting and playing wise in conference, regionally and nationally. Within the last four years we have upgraded almost every facility we use and we have a national recruiting reach with players from California, Arizona, Utah, Michigan, Texas, Florida and more on the roster currently.
What else makes Bryant’s campus stand out?
Bryant does a great job of staying innovative and modern as a campus theme. As primarily a business school, they continue to invest in the new with all projects and are consistently upgrading in all areas, both academically and athletically. Campus location is a pro as well, being 20 minutes from Providence, 45 minutes from Boston or 40 minutes from Newport. There is a lot going on locally.
What do the majority of your players major in?
Most of the players are in the College of Business, with the majority being finance majors.
What is your schools strongest/most competitive major?
Most anything in our College of Business or Math – International Business, Accounting, Finance, Actuarial Math, Math and Stats.
What is it about your current team that you like and value the most?
The professionalism and effort they bring to practice every day and their overall resiliency.
How does the staff help the team captains lead?
Coach Pressler meets with the three captains on a week to week basis in the fall and spring to get feedback from the players and to give them expectations and standards from the coaches for them and the team. Coach Harrington and myself will also meet with defensive and offensive captains/leaders weekly.
What do you look for in an underclassman when it comes to leadership?
Players that not only compete, work hard and hold themselves to high standards both on and off the field, but those that can also hold their teammates to a higher standard as well, and do the right things when it matters most.
Does your team have a mantra or slogan you live by?
The three things that we define our program by are – Discipline, Toughness and Loyalty.
What are your thoughts on the new dive rule?
That there is still a lot to figure out about it on all sides.
What are your thoughts on the new shot clock?
It has made the game consistent for everyone involved, which has been a positive.
How has it changed your style of play? Offensively/Defensively/Clearing
I think most coaches would say the biggest change has been in the clearing game. Clearing percentages nationally have been down this year and I think that is a direct reflection of the rule change. I believe having an 80 second shot clock can still allow you to play multiple styles and tempos offensively and defensively though. Some teams still play fast, while others are more deliberate.
How often do your players workout in-season?
We have two team lifts per-week in-season and a third developmental lift for guys that are not in the game day lineup.
How often do your players workout out in the offseason?
We have four team lifts per-week during fall-ball and then once we get into individuals, we have four team lifts and two team conditioning sessions per-week.
What are the expectations your staff has for the summer and training?
Our strength staff sends everyone home during both summer and winter break with workouts that are expected to be completed. On top of this, especially in the summer, the ability to continue to develop your lacrosse skills and play in competitive situations and games.
What does you program do in regards to nutrition?
Through discussions with our strength coach and the nutritionist we have on campus, we set goals for everyone weight wise and development wise as they progress during their four years.
What does your summer look like when it comes to recruiting? When do you start getting active attending HS games?
We try to start pretty early in getting to high school games, especially in the Northeast as they are starting up this time of year. We will possibly go during season if we can and then right away when the season ends. We will see our commits and then most all the other kids on our radar that we can possibly get to, both regionally and nationally. Competitive high school games are invaluable for evaluation.
How many staff members are on the road?
Our three full time staff members, Coach Pressler, myself and Coach Harrington.
Do you guys take specific regions or go be specific events?
We have a general idea and plan as we begin, but our summer schedules are a continual work in progress and flexible to make sure we can get to what we need to as needs/priorities change.
What events do you run on campus and when are they?
We host three prospect days (summer/fall/winter) as well as two individual development clinics (both in the summer). Links and registration can be found at Presslax.com. We also host the Bulldog Brawl by Primetime Lacosse and a Trilogy Lacrosse team event during the summer as well.
What do you look for when recruiting?
Across the board we are looking for tough and competitive players. Guys that just play hard at all times, regardless of the circumstances. We try to balance each position based on what we feel we may need and what will complement each other based on our projected roster. Coach references (both high school and club) go a long way with us as the other half of the recruitment is the off-field items that we don’t have as good of a feel for. Is he coachable, a team player, a character guy? Those are things we see a little bit of during the visit and recruitment, but we do our best to find out the complete story from other references.
If I am a current 2020 that is uncommitted, what advice would you give me?
That there is still plenty of time. If you are a quality player, you will be found and there will be room for you on a college roster. Continue to work on playing the best you can and let your game/effort speak for itself. Also, talk to your high school and club coaches, as they can put you on the radar of college coaches. Some of the best players we have ever had, All-American players, have been picked up in their senior year because we got a recommendation from a coach and followed up on it. Those players either fall through the cracks or developed late and often times become great college players.