Tucked in a small corner of North Central’s workout room, men’s lacrosse coach Billy Frick’s small, windowless office is cluttered as he finishes unpacking. Boxes filled with helmets, sticks, and other odds and ends needed to prepare the team for its inaugural season make a quasi-coffee table in the center of the room.
“I’m praying for the [snow] melt,” he quipped as he placed a last-minute equipment order. A scorebook was among the items he ordered. His previous one was lost in the move from Pennsylvania.
Frick found out about North Central from a posting in a NCAA coaches’ jobs group. The Twin Cities area is not entirely foreign to him. He spent much time recruiting here for his previous school, Susquehanna University, where he coached the team’s goalkeepers and faceoff positions in addition to helping with many facets of running a college program.
“In the natural, this made zero sense,” Frick said. “but it was the match I didn’t know existed. This has unique and amazing opportunities to connect faith and the sport I’m passionate about.”
Frick first visited North Central in December 2015. Before he left home, he was exhausted. “My heart just wasn’t it,” Frick said. But his wife, Diana, “pushed him out the door.” Meeting several North Central staff, faculty, and students revived and energized Frick.
The next month, Frick brought his wife and son, Braydon, to campus and attended a chapel. Frick had more meetings with North Central personnel, and the family searched the area for a school for Braydon.
North Central is “different in many ways” from Susquehanna’s campus. Frick was saved in an Assemblies of God church in the 1990s, where he “cut his spiritual teeth.” He eventually became a pastor in the United Methodist Church. He is “thrilled” to return to his spiritual roots.
Over Christmas break, Frick asked his team to read the book “One Word that will Change Your Life” by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton and Jimmy Page. As they read the book, each player needed to come up with one word to focus on this season. Frick chose the word adventure.
“It’s an adventure trying to put the pieces of the puzzle … to take something from nothing, and make it a reality,” Frick said. “To do it in a place where a majority of the people on this campus have never seen or heard of lacrosse, there are pluses and minuses.”
To build his team, Frick looked for students who were open to change and would work as hard as they can to improve in a sport some have never played before. The team currently consists of 16 players, and Frick is still looking for a few more men to flesh out the roster.
The team started practicing Sept. 15, and have had one scrimmage since then. Frick has enjoyed watching the growth of the team and the building of a team culture. The team’s first practice for after Christmas break was on Jan. 30, and they have practiced almost every night since then.
The players may not have much experience, but Frick has already seen “exponential improvement.” “The teambuilding and culture are hallmarks of what we’ll build our program on,” he said.
The first home event is scheduled for February 18, when North Central will host St. Thomas at 1 p.m. The ten-game season officially kicks off Feb. 28 at Beloit College.
Frick encourages students to come support the team, even if they have never watched a lacrosse game before. “It’s the fastest game on two feet,” he said. “If you like hockey, you’re going to love lacrosse.”