The league that was formed to further advance today’s American collegiate player in both field and box lacrosse, will be coached by… Americans. In recent weeks, the USBOXLA-sanctioned Colorado Collegiate Box Lacrosse League (CCBLL) confirmed the eight coaches that will lead the Fighting Bison, Gold Miners, Bighorns and Stoneflies this upcoming summer during the CCBLL’s historic first season.
The box bench bosses are: Drew Babb (Bighorns), AJ Colaizzi (Gold Miners), Terry Ellis (Fighting Bison), John Galvin (Bighorns), Jordan Hendry (Stoneflies), Collin Knowles (Stoneflies), Greg Martinez (Gold Miners) and Ben Weisz (Fighting Bison).
“I think the CCBLL is a game changer for box lacrosse in the US,” said Ellis, who played four years at the University of Denver for Head Coach Bill Tierney and Associate Head Coach Matt Brown. “Previously, in order to play high-level box lacrosse, one had to venture to Canada for a summer.
“This is not always a feasible option for many, and the CCBLL allows a high level of competition, with great coaches who have participated in box lacrosse in various leagues.”
Terry Ellis, Fighting Bison
Ellis, who only started playing field lacrosse as a sophomore in high school prior to impressing his way onto the Pioneers roster, has seen the benefits of box lacrosse firsthand at Denver, a program that has incorporated the indoor version of the game into their preparation and training.
“Box lacrosse training has been absolutely huge for the success of DU men’s and women’s lacrosse programs,” added Ellis, who since graduating, has joined the women’s program at DU as a volunteer assistant coach. “I was fortunate enough to have been able to play with the likes of Mark Matthews, Cam Flint, Jeremy Noble, Wes Berg, Tyler Pace and other Canadians that grew up playing box lacrosse.
“Just their ability to read defenses, along with their understanding of the game and their uncanny ability to handle pressure, is extraordinary. Seeing their abilities, it was very easy to buy into the idea that box lacrosse benefits everyone.”
And by everyone, Ellis means, well, everyone. “I have been allowed to implement some of the box concepts and principles I have learned into the DU women’s program this year,” he said. “So far, we’ve been successful, and this upcoming fall, the women’s DU program will also start participating in full contact box lacrosse practices in preparation for their outdoor season.”
Outside of box lacrosse training at DU and later coaching LXTC-powered Denver Elite teams, Ellis also spent a summer making that previously mentioned trip to Canada to play Senior ‘A’ lacrosse for the Coquitlam Adanacs. It’s an experience that not only benefited his career, but one that should help this year’s CCBLL first-timers too.
“Playing for such a historically significant club like Coquitlam left me with two important takeaways,” said Ellis. “How to efficiently manage a team, and how to transition players from field lacrosse to box lacrosse in a relatively short period of time.”
“I can relate more to field players who are just beginning or have relatively little experience playing box lacrosse in comparison to their Canadian counterparts. The majority of the players who will be playing in the CCBLL come from a lacrosse background rooted in the field game. I myself was a field player transitioning to the box game. I can easily relate to and tell those newcomers what to expect and how to make that transition more smoothly.”
In addition to Ellis’ unique American field and box lacrosse background both as a player and now coach, CCBLL players will also benefit greatly from the other seven Colorado-based coaches and the experiences and knowledge they transfer to them this summer.
Drew Babb, Bighorns
A high-school All-American, Babb was sidelined for over two years while battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, only to comeback and captain the University of Denver in his Senior year. He has spent the past three years coaching for Tierney and Brown at LXTC.
AJ Colaizzi, Gold Miners
Colaizzi attended the University of Colorado Boulder, where he played lacrosse under fellow CCBLL coach John Galvin. He won two RMLC division titles and appeared in three consecutive National Championship games, winning the title in 2014. Colaizzi has been coaching for the past six years, including for Denver Elite, where he has developed under Tierney, Brown and John Orsen.
John Galvin, Bighorns
The current coach of the University of Colorado Boulder, Galvin coached the Buffaloes to the schools first MCLA National Championship in 2014. Prior to joining Colorado, he was the Assistant Coach at Cortland State University. Galvin was named the RMLC Coach of the Year in 2005 & 2016, and MCLA Coach of the Year in 2014.
Jordan Hendry, Stoneflies
Hendry competed collegiately for Massachusetts, Whitter and finally Denver in 2010. He played for the Senior ‘A’ Burnaby Lakers from 2008-2009 in the WLA, the Kentucky Stickhorses from 2011-2013 in the NALL, and professionally for the Denver Outlaws from 2011-2013.
Collin Knowles, Stoneflies
A two-time National Champion at DII LeMoyne College, Knowles also played for the Colorado Sabretooths (MILA), where he was coached by former Colorado Mammoth greats John Gallant and Brian Langtry. He coached at Cherry Creek High School from 2013-2016, previously winning a State Championship there as an assistant. Knowles was named Colorado’s Assistant Coach of the Year in 2012.
Greg Martinez, Gold Miners
The Miners bench boss has also coached high school varsity lacrosse for Thunder Ridge High School, Smoky Hill High School and Cherokee Trail High School, as well as minor lacrosse in Coquitlam, British Columbia. He worked as the Colorado Mammoth’s Video Coordinator from 2006-2008, and has also played for the Colorado Sabretooths (MILA) and Tri-City Bandits (WCSLA), where he competed in the 2009 President’s Cup Final.
Ben Weisz, Fighting Bison
A native of Miami, Weisz attended the University of Colorado Boulder, where he made multiple national tournament appearances, including one Final Four. He joined the schools coaching staff after graduating, and has been on their bench for the past six seasons. Weisz is also involved in various LXTC summer programs.