NEWPORT NEWS (WAVY) – When the Christopher Newport University elevated MIkey Thompson from assistant to head men’s lacrosse coach, the Captains knew they were getting a winner.
A four-year player at the University of Virginia, Thompson led the Cavaliers to three straight Final Fours, and after graduating, was on the sideline as an assistant coach when UVa won the national championship in 2011.
Since taking over CNU’s program in 2016, Thompson has guided the Captains from a struggling start-up program to a consistent contender.
“We really started with the team culture first, then really built on some recruiting classes, and got some kids from some really strong programs, club and high school,” said Thompson, who’s team (11-6, 4-2 in Colonial Athletic Conference) will face Mary Washington in the first round of the conference tournament in Newport News on Saturday.
Part of the Captains young team is Dylan Rice. A sophomore attackman, Rice has already scored 100 career goals. He formed a relationship with Thompson as a high school recruit, and says he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
“I didn’t want to be a part of a program that was at its peak,” said Rice. “I just knew there was so much potential at CNU, and I wanted to be a part of that.”
The Captains won the program’s first ever NCAA Tournament game last season, and look to keep climbing.
“Every year we just want to be closer and closer to our end-goals, which is being a consistent team in the top 10, winning a conference championship, and making some noise in the NCAA Tournament as well,” said Thompson.