Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in America. When you watch college lacrosse, you expect to see the powerhouse names like John Hopkins, Maryland, and Duke who have the most established programs in the country; however, when you think of a HBCU with a powerhouse lacrosse team, you will probably scratch your head. Your confusion is understandable. Prior to Hampton becoming the first HBCU to field a Division 1 lacrosse team, there were only 4 other programs in the country. Howard stands as the only HBCU in Division 1 women’s lacrosse. Delaware State also has a women’s program. The only other HBCU Men’s lacrosse teams are found at Morehouse, Maryland Eastern Shore, and Morgan State field in Division II.
The idea of a lacrosse team was envisioned by senior student athlete Michael Crawford at Hampton University. Crawford proposed that Hampton make lacrosse a club sport at the university; however, during a visit home, Crawford passed away from sudden cardiac arrest at the age of 21. His vision was carried out by his mother Verina Mathis-Crawford who helped push for the inaugural season. Hampton University has been able to field the first Division I lacrosse team as an Independent team for their first season in Division I. The team is coached by former Morgan State Lacrosse player, LLoyd Carter, who was a member of the “10 Bears 4 Life” team during the late 70s. The first season as a Division I lacrosse team has come to a close for the Hampton Pirates. Unfortunately, in their inaugural season, the Hampton Pirates finished 0-5. Though this may not be something to celebrate and shout about, the transition for any team to Division 1 is not an easy feat to take on.
Hampton’s location should prove to be pivotal as they are located in “pipeline” areas for lacrosse players. Instant success isn’t going to happen with a fresh program, it’s something that’s going to take time. Once the ball gets rolling, who knows where this team could go. The guidance of an experienced individual, such as Carter, will help down the road for this young program.
Good luck to Hampton and their future endeavors in the world of lacrosse, and thank you Michael Crawford for your vision and dream!