By: Steve Campbell
St. Ambrose University Director of Athletics Ray Shovlain announced today the hiring of Brad Keel as the University's head men's lacrosse coach. He will begin his duties in January as SAU will add men's lacrosse as a varsity sport starting in 2013-14.
Keel is currently serving as the head boys' varsity lacrosse coach at Seckman High School in Imperial, Mo. Taking over a second-year program in July 2011 that finished 0-12 in its inaugural season, Keel helped the Jaguars to a 6-6 record and a fifth-place showing in the Missouri State Tournament.
He has also served as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Samurai Lacrosse Club and has worked with the Missouri 22 select team, where he worked alongside several NCAA lacrosse coaches.
"Getting to become part of the SAU family is an honor and privilege," Keel said. "I am ecstatic to begin what I hope to be a long and successful career as the Fighting Bee head lacrosse coach and doing my part continuing to spread nationwide recognition of the University and the game of lacrosse."
Keel was a three-year starter at attack at Missouri Baptist University and was a member of the 2011 Spartan team that won the Great Rivers Lacrosse Conference (GRLC) championship and advanced to the national tournament.
As a senior at Fox High School, he helped his team win the 2008 Missouri Division B State Championship.
"We feel, based on his coaching and playing career, Brad has a strong background and will establish a successful men's lacrosse program at St. Ambrose University," Shovlain said. "His coaching and recruiting contacts, especially in the St. Louis area, will help get the program off to a great start."
Keel graduated this month from Missouri Baptist with a degree in Sports Management.
St. Ambrose is in the process of making application to seek admittance into the GRLC, a league consisting of 12 Division I teams and 14 Division II teams, representing 10 states. SAU will apply for the GRLC Division II level, which is broken into three divisions - Northeast (DePaul, Judson, Missouri Baptist, Wabash, Wheaton), Northwest (Creighton, Dordt, Missouri S&T, Palmer) and South (Lindenwood-Belleville, Missouri State, St. Louis Univ., Washington-St. Louis). Cornell College competed as an associate member last year.
The GRLC is a member of the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA), a national organization with more than 200 non-NCAA, college lacrosse teams in two divisions across 10 conferences.
SAU is working with the Davenport Park Board to play at their facilities, including the Davenport Soccer Complex on North Division Street, in the spring of 2014. The Bees will also utilize the Ambrose Dome for practice.