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Everybody knew him when he walked into the room and he received a loud ovation.Brent Adams was introduced Sept. 5 as the new boys lacrosse coach for the Falcons of Highlands Ranch High School. He became another well-recognized lacrosse coach as the sport continues to draw qualified coaches to Colorado high school teams.I recall years ago when there were derogatory comments about the quality of prep soccer coaches, but the remarks have quieted as more knowledgeable people have joined the coaching ranks.Those kinds of observations never began in lacrosse, which has attracted top college and professional players to coach at many schools.Adams, who was an All-American selection at Fairfield University, comes from Valor Christian, where he was an assistant coach under former professional lacrosse legend John Grant Jr.Adams played for the Chesapeake Bayhawks and Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse.In 2016 he signed with the Denver Outlaws of the MLL and is currently in the second year of a two-year contract with the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League.Adams, 26, replaces Outlaws captain Matt Bocklet who left Highlands Ranch to coach defending state champion Cherry Creek.“If you have a coach that is creditable, for lack of a better word, it allows players to commit to the sport a little more when they know they are getting good instruction that you really can’t find at a lot of schools,” said Adams. “I’m going to be hands-on as much as I can. I think the players will benefit from that. Lacrosse has done so much for me in my life that I can’t wait to give back as much as I possibly can.”Help-wanted sign out for officialsThere is a critical shortage of officials for almost every high school sport for all levels.The Colorado High School Activities Association offered clinics over the summer in an attempt to recruit new personnel, and CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green claims the workshops were successful.“We saw a little bit of growth,” she said. “We are now even thinking about being at some job fairs on the collegiate level. When you see the percentage of college people that don’t play college sports but have knowledge of the game and are part of intramurals, why aren’t we tapping into that resource?”In previous columns we noted a few of the reasons for the shortage, which include the aging of current officials, time commitment and pay.Varsity officials for most sports get $58 a game but another factor hurting the recruitment of officials is the abuse directed at them from coaches and fans.Mistreatment of officials happens everywhere, and I watched a Colorado State Cup soccer match on Labor Day when the referee would not restart the action until an unruly fan left the field.“We need to educate our parents about how to treat officials,” admitted Blanford-Green, who says the CHSAA is working on ways to give officials more recognition. “The National Association for Sports Officials will tell you that pay is not the reason we lose officials.“It has to do with three major areas. Retention and that has to do with how you’re treated, recognition and then pay. We are addressing the issues.”
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