INTERVIEWS | Eric Martin
My hero was Drew McKnight, he balled out at Norfolk Academy and then again at UVA, a three time AA and National Champion in ’99. That was inspiring, seeing someone take the game that far from Tidewater, VA. He was looked up to by just about every Tidewater player.
It was pretty small. I didn’t know about the sport until I was 14 years old. The sport was only played in the Spring and some in Summer League. That was all I knew of it. It was a private school sport, and when I switched schools I found out what it was. Like most everywhere, football, baseball and soccer were the big three sports in Tidewater.
I’ve had a lot of people shape my career, the biggest are. Tom Duquette was my high school coach, he just won his 500th game the season. He’s the man, all about the fundamentals and playing the right way. He’s a living legend, so he had a big impact on me and still does. Jim Berkman, my college coach, preached the same things, but supercharged the conditioning, style of play and expectations. He’s a motivator and tireless worker. There was no ceiling with him, just keep improving, be relentless in that approach. Last, is Casey Olejniczak, my college roommate. Transferred from Ohio State my Jr year and in the Fall gave me a lesson in the weight room I’ll never forget. Bloody hands and shins from dead-lifting, squats and weighted pull-ups. I was sore for days. He showed me another level of training that no one was touching at Salisbury. We were monsters.
Practicing what the people highlighted above taught me. Wanting to prove to everyone that I belong at the highest level. I’ve always had the mentality, if I can out work you, then I can beat you. It worked for me and gave me a lot of confidence.
Balance. Hit the wall. Practice what you enjoy. Be a kid. Playing the right amount of lacrosse and the right amount of other sports. There’s no one path to success, so make your own, don’t copy the neighbors’ kids.
It’s a MAGNET for talent, in terms of attracting professionals in the Investment and tech worlds who have serious lacrosse resumes. This is why lacrosse is giant in the Bay. The foundation has been laid by the coaching talent there, the athletes are there and the weather and facilities are top notch. The talent marching to college lacrosse is proof that the BAY Area is ripe with talent.
Like most pros, I’ve always had other interests outside of playing. Pro lacrosse is a grind, I love not flying every weekend, 9 months out of the year all over North America for MLL and NLL commitments. I live in Lake Tahoe, Nevada , there’s so much to do here. I coach a ton of different sports, even Biathlon which is a combination of shooting guns and skiing. Investing my energy into building a school in Tahoe has been really fun, exciting and challenging.
Yes, love coaching and teaching players in Tahoe and Reno the indoor and outdoor game. Loved watching the NCAA and NLL this season. The MLL needs help, they have no visibility.
I do, but I don’t. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be my best, I know I can’t be that anymore. A big hit here and there still feels great. That said I want to play lefty attack and make it rain.
I’m on the High Sierra Lacrosse Board of Directors. I volunteer coach with the North Tahoe Lakers. The U-13 North Lake Tahoe Team I coached just won the High Sierra Lacrosse League Championships. That was super fun for all.
Collaboration is a KEY character value at my school, Tahoe Expedition Academy. We teach character values and academics thru challenge and adventure. Continued growth requires collaboration. We can’t grow this game alone, it requires efforts on all fronts. The saying goes something like; “we need the right people on the bus and in the right seat. We need the wrong people off the bus.” Lacrosse needs the right people involved with best interests in mind. I work with Board Members, Coaches, Parents, Players and other organizations all over Northern NV and CA to grow the game. Working with the right people creates awesome results and player opportunities.