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Sydney Carton
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Lacosse Players Speak Out
« on: February 09, 2009, 03:13:05 PM »


Former Duke lacrosse players give clinic at Hoover High, tell about teammates' indictments and later clearance on all charges
Monday, February 09, 2009
News staff writer

About 50 of the top high school lacrosse players from across the state gathered at Hoover High School over the weekend for a two-day clinic.

They got the chance to work with three former members of one of the top programs in NCAA lacrosse, the Duke Blue Devils.

Yes, that Duke lacrosse team, the one that made headlines three years ago for something that happened off the field.

Ed Douglas, Nick O'Hara and Danny Loftus were on the Duke team that saw its 2006 season shut down after allegations of sexual assault were brought against three of their teammates - Reade Seligmann, David Evans and Collin Finnerty - who were indicted in the spring of that year on charges of rape, kidnapping, and sexual offense. They were later cleared of all charges and declared innocent by the attorney general of North Carolina.

It was a story that captivated the nation for over a year, a story that went from outrage against the Duke lacrosse team to bringing about the disgrace and disbarment of Durham County district attorney Mike Nifong for his mishandling of the case.

"To some degree, the association with Duke lacrosse and that story will be around for a long, long time," said Douglas, from Baltimore, Md.

"The good thing is that we were fortunate to be wealthy enough to fight back," said O'Hara, from Buffalo, N.Y. "If not, there might be three innocent guys sitting in jail today. Instead, they were exonerated and the whole thing wound up doing something good for Durham County (in) getting Mr. Nifong's removal from office."

The case started with a woman's allegations that she was sexually assaulted at a March 2006 lacrosse team party, where she was hired as an exotic dancer. Nifong won indictments against Seligmann, Evans and Finnerty, but the charges were later dropped. State attorney general Roy Cooper went a step farther by declaring the three men innocent victims of Nifong's "tragic rush to accuse."

Douglas, O'Hara and Loftus were members of the Duke team that lost in the NCAA Championship game in 2005, then lost its 2006 season when Duke officials made the decision to forfeit the season while the alleged rape was being investigated.

They returned to play in 2007, where the Blue Devils lost again in the NCAA championship game and reached the final four in 2008.

"That first year back, in 2007, everyone was supportive because they understood by then the injustices that occurred," Douglas said. "But by 2008, they were back to cheering against us, because Duke lacrosse is like Duke basketball, the team everyone loves to hate. And to be treated like that was good, because it meant the other had been put behind us."

The three players who worked the Hoover clinic graduated from Duke last spring. O'Hara and Loftus continue to play lacrosse professionally, in indoor and outdoor leagues, while Douglas works in Baltimore.

They also have teamed up to put on clinics across the country, such as the one put on by Hoover High lacrosse coach Chris Cos. In addition to Hoover, the three have taken part in lacrosse clinics in West Palm Beach, Fla., Columbia, S.C., Little Rock, Ark., and Tulsa, Okla.

"We're like going to non-traditional lacrosse areas," Loftus said. "Because we see the sport spreading around the country, and we want to help improve the quality in areas that are not seen as hotbeds of lacrosse."

Douglas, O'Hara and Loftus do not run from the events of 2006, when they acknowledge that, for a while, being a member of the Duke lacrosse team was like being on "America's Most Wanted."

"We do talk about our story," Loftus said. "These clinics are not just about lacrosse skills. We tell our story, and we talk about using good judgment and the importance of academics."

Douglas said the entire incident underscored for them the level of scrutiny that college athletes live under.

"On one level, we saw first-hand the difference in appearance vs. reality," he said. "But also we saw how, as athletes, we're held under higher scrutiny from the public. We learned the responsibility that comes with the privilege of playing college athletics.

"It's life. We all dealt with what happened in different ways. But we all learned broader life lessons that we carry with us, and try to share with athletes at clinics like this one."

E-mail: rmelick@bhamnews.com
Sydney Carton
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Re: Lacosse Players Speak Out
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2009, 06:43:53 PM »


No Longer Villain, McFadyen Fires Up Duke 'D'

by Matt DaSilva | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

Defenseman Ryan McFadyen says he learned how to hit harder as a special teams player for Duke’s football team, a skill that could translate to big impact on the lacrosse field.

Ryan McFadyen knows the e-mail was a wretched thing to write. That’s why he wrote it, to get a yuk out of what he thought was a private audience by quoting a book (and movie) whose protagonist makes Marilyn Manson look like Mother Theresa – shock value.

Little did he know that e-mailing teammates in jest about skinning and killing strippers (among other vulgarities) would become national news in the Duke lacrosse nightmare.

“You Google my name, there are all these links to the e-mail saying this kid’s a psychotic lunatic,” said McFadyen, whose e-mail paraphrased a passage from American Psycho. “Dialogue is the best way to overcome any preconceived notions people have about my character. Talk to me for 10 minutes. I’m not that person.”

Vilified publicly when Durham police released the contents of the e-mail as part of District Attorney Mike Nifong’s “tragic rush to accuse,” as the false rape allegations against three of his teammates were later declared, McFadyen could hardly be blamed if he bolted campus. But he didn’t.

Instead, when reinstated following a brief suspension, McFadyen rededicated himself to the university and Blue Devils. The last two seasons, he helped anchor Duke’s defense in runs to the NCAA championship game and semifinals, respectively.

“I could never play lacrosse for another school,” he said.

In the fall, McFadyen took it a step further, earning a scholarship as a walk-on to Duke’s football team in part because of a challenge issued unintentionally by men’s lacrosse coach John Danowski.

In a sports psychology exercise last spring, Danowski told the team about his life, and how much he regretted quitting football as a third-string quarterback his senior year at Rutgers, where he also played lacrosse.

“I told them how I got consumed with my ego – what a jerk,” Danowski said. “What Ryan heard was the no regrets part.”

McFadyen had always been told he’d make a good football player. And despite no previous gridiron experience, he wanted to prove it to himself. He also felt guilty asking his parents to pay for him to return to Duke for an NCAA-granted fifth year of eligibility without the scholarship he previously had in lacrosse.

At 6-foot-6, 245 pounds, but with the shiftiness of a lacrosse player, McFadyen got playing time as a tight end and on special teams. He helped block a kick against Vanderbilt and made a fair catch against Miami.

But he was a man amongst beasts.

“I go from being the strongest guy on my team to not even being in the top 10,” he said. “Guys are benching 500 pounds, and I’m like, ‘Do you need a spotter?’”

Now he knows how Max Quinzani feels.

Already the enforcer of Duke’s defense, McFadyen said the most important skill he gleaned from football was learning how to hit the right way.


“I’m used to a kickoff return or cover, running down and throwing my body full speed into someone,” he said. “If anyone on our lacrosse team complains, I’ll tell them to do a Bloody Tuesday session. It speaks for itself – full pads, and you’re not holding anything back.”

The Blue Devils, ranked No. 8 in Lacrosse Magazine's preseason poll, host No. 20 Bucknell in both teams' season-opener Saturday.
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Re: Lacosse Players Speak Out
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2009, 06:57:57 PM »


February 11, 2009
Selena Roberts and the Duke case

Those who choose to come to Alex Rodriguez's defense by shooting the messenger -- in this case Sports Illustrated reporter Selena Roberts -- are using her coverage of the Duke lacrosse rape case as their ammuntion.

Looking back to the Duke situation, in late-winter 2006/07, it's clear Roberts was heavily criticized for the columns she wrote while working for the New York Times.

This isn't to say she's right or wrong in the case of Rodriguez.

From the blog TimesWatch: "As columnist Selena Roberts reportedly leaves the Times to write for Sports Illustrated, her execrable treatment of the Duke lacrosse team should not be forgotten. Three players were falsely accused of raping a stripper, a hoax Roberts not only fully embraced but used to tar the entire athletic department as a racist, woman-hating bastion of white privilege."

More from TimesWatch: "Times sports columnist Selena Roberts attacks innocent Duke players with sarcasm and accusations of white privilege: 'Don't mess with Duke, though. To shine a light on its integrity has been treated by the irrational mighty as a threat to white privilege....lay off the lacrosse pipeline to Wall Street, excuse the khaki-pants crowd of SAT wonder kids.'"

From the blog Fanhouse: "Sports columnist Selena Roberts is a gifted writer who usually sounds just the right notes in writing about the way sports intersects with issues like race, class, politics and the law. But she was dead wrong about the Duke lacrosse case."
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Re: Lacosse Players Speak Out
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2009, 01:22:32 PM »

   From Lax News ,February 14th,2009
Powder Springs, Ga.- Loyola attackman Collin Finnerty scored a career-high four goals and assisted on another but Notre Dame's Ryan Hoff scored the game-winner with 5:24 remaining to break the tie and the ninth-ranked Irish held on for a 10-9 victory over the No. 17 Greyhounds in the team's season opener at McEachern High School.

With Loyola trailing by a goal in the final minutes, Notre Dame goalkeeper Scott Rodgers denied multiple opportunities over the last 1:30 to preserve the win. Loyola midfielder Jimmy Daly had three good looks at the goal-the first being sent wide left- and the other two snatched up by Rodgers. Daly's last effort came with 15 ticks remaining.

Trailing by a goal going into the final quarter, Loyola evened the game at 8-8 on Finnerty's fourth goal of the day just 1:30 into the period. Attackman Matt Langan found himself positioned behind the Notre Dame goal and passed it to Finnerty from 10 yards out, who buried his attempt.

The Irish would reclaim the lead, 9-8, on Grant Krebs' second goal of the day with 9:19 left. The Greyhounds, though, would again claw back two minutes later on Daly's second of the afternoon, with the assist coming from midfielder Chris Hurst, to knot the action at 9 apiece.

But Hoff's goal with five and a half minutes remaining--assisted by Krebbs--ultimately proved to be the difference in a see-saw afternoon of non-conference action.

"I liked our kid's effort out there today," Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey said. "We made a few too many mental mistakes but we competed and played hard, and we look forward to hosting Towson next week."

A Hicks goal put Notre Dame up, 1-0, 6:12 into the game. The Greyhounds would quickly respond, though, as Daly made a nice move in the open field to beat Rodgers low and even the game at 1-1, two minutes later.

The Irish would take a 2-1 lead with 2:26 remaining in the first on a tally by Hoff-- with the second assist coming from Duncan Swezey-- and David Earl would quickly make it a two-goal deficit with an unassisted goal less than a minute later.

Loyola, though, proceeded with a 4-0 spurt over the next five minutes to claim a 5-3 lead. First, Eric Lusby received a feed from Finnerty to find the net with 0:25 seconds left in the first to trim the lead to Irish lead to 3-2.

Then, Finnerty opened the second with a goal of his own at the 13:43 mark. He collected a groundball on a shot at the left side of the field and beat Rodgers high to tie the game, 3-3.

On the ensuing face-off, John Schiavone controlled the draw and pushed toward the goal, finding Finnerty for his second goal of the day to give Loyola a two-goal cushion, 5-3.



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Re: Lacosse Players Speak Out
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2009, 06:37:58 PM »

     Ex-Duke lacrosse coach finds success at RI program


Associated Press Writer
Posted: Tuesday, Mar. 03, 2009

SMITHFIELD, R.I. Mike Pressler was convinced he'd never coach again after he was forced to resign from Duke University when three of his lacrosse players were accused of raping a stripper.

He was spurned by his college alma mater, denied interviews for high school positions and resorted to contacting former players for help getting work. His only offer came from a Division II program in northern Rhode Island far from the rarefied top-tier of college lacrosse occupied by Duke.

But three years later, and with the rape allegations fully debunked, Pressler is relishing a resurgent career at Bryant University. The Bulldogs are playing their first season against Division I competition, marching through a bruising schedule of Virginia, Maryland, Brown and other elite teams. His focus on building Bryant's program has helped raise the school's profile - and helped Pressler move beyond his acrimonious departure from Duke.

"I always say to the guys, 'Being at the top is great, but the journey's a heck of a lot more fun,' " said Pressler, who was hired at Bryant in August 2006. "To take our team to Division I in our third season, open at Virginia ... that's thrilling stuff, that's invigorating stuff."

His presence has paid dividends.

One of Pressler's former Duke players, Zack Greer, a three-time All-American and the all-time NCAA goals leader, used his final season of eligibility to enroll at Bryant as a business graduate student and leads the team with 13 goals in four games. Next year, Pressler will coach the U.S. team in the World Games in England.

"It's quite gratifying to see him land on his feet at Bryant," said Virginia lacrosse coach Dom Starsia, a longtime friend of Pressler's. "I think he's having a blast right now."

Bryant would have seemed an unlikely destination for Pressler, regarded as one of the country's top college coaches after going 153-82 in 16 seasons at Duke and leading the Blue Devils to the 2005 Division I title game.

But his career unraveled in March 2006 when an exotic dancer said she was raped in the bathroom of an off-campus house during a team party. The season was canceled and Pressler was ousted. Three players were indicted on rape charges that were dismissed the following year by North Carolina state prosecutors who declared the allegations fabricated.

Pressler contemplated leaving the sport. Instead, he was hired by Bryant after being recommended to the athletics director, Bill Smith, by a mutual friend and fellow college coach. Smith said he carefully vetted Pressler, clearing him with the university president and dissecting an internal Duke report chronicling the team's off-the-field behavior.

"It became very apparent to me early on that not only had Mike not done anything wrong - he had done everything right," Smith said.

Though grateful for the job, Pressler said the transition to a lower-caliber program was initially uneasy, especially for a coach who had just competed for a national championship. Bryant's lacrosse program was relatively new - it formed in 2000 - and, unlike Duke, didn't have access to the top high school recruits.

The Bulldogs won the Northeast-10 Conference's regular season title in Pressler's first year and won a school-record 14 games last season to reach the Division II tournament.

Bryant began moving its entire athletics program to Division I last fall. The men's lacrosse team, which is on a fast-track to full membership, won't be eligible for the NCAA tournament until 2011 but set up a loaded schedule this spring.

Bryant won three of its first four games after dropping its season opener, 10-4, to then-top ranked Virginia. The team's schedule will reunite Pressler with two of the exonerated ex-Duke players - Reade Seligmann, now at Brown, and Collin Finnerty at Loyola of Maryland.

Pressler said he's been approached by other schools looking for new coaches, but signed a four-year contract extension in August to solidify his presence at Bryant.

"What you're really looking for is people you can trust and people you can count on, and he may have found that at Bryant," Starsia said. "I wouldn't assume that he's only there for the short-term."

Still, it's hard to completely escape his past. Pressler has a slander lawsuit pending against Duke and a former university spokesman, accusing him of making disparaging comments to the media and violating terms of a confidential settlement the coach reached with the university. And Pressler said emotions are probably still too raw for a Bryant-Duke matchup.

Parents of his new recruits bring up the case, asking Pressler how his family got through the ordeal and how the vindicated athletes are doing. But it's nothing compared to his first season, which unfolded while the charges were still pending.

That year, he regularly discussed the Duke case with his new players and helped them navigate the unprecedented swirl of attention they received.

Now, he said, "all we talk about is lacrosse."
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