SHSU Men’s Lacrosse dates back to September 1980 when freshman students Joe Fritts & John McGee, petitioned the school to form the first ever lacrosse program. In ’83, ’84, & ‘86 the Bearkats played for the Southwest Lacrosse Association (now the LSA) championship.
In 1999, Eric Keown petitioned the school again to get the Men’s Lacrosse team back on campus. Participation varied over the years until 2008 when team began recruiting experienced players. Baron Copeland and Lance Mitchell served as leaders in the 2007-2009 seasons and 2008 brought two All-State high school lacrosse players to Sam Houston as freshman recruits. Michael Mann and John Messer joined the Bearkats, and along with Copeland and Mitchell, led the team to a winning season and to the conference championship game.
The 2008-2009 season proved to be a turning point. In early 2009, Fritts returned to SHSU to assist, recruiting high school players and coaching. The Bearkats went on to their first ever LSA conference title and national tournament appearance in spring 2010. Then in January 2011, Jim Perouty was recruited as Head Coach. The team rolled on to their 2nd conference title and national tournament. With player leadership continuity of President Michael Mann and Vice-President John Messer, along with Coach Perouty’s enthusiasm, creativity, and no-nonsense coaching style, the team has grown and is now a sound competitor in not only the Lonestar Alliance, but also in the nationwide Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) where they are ranked #14 among 213 teams.
In the 2011-2012 season, 12 new recruits from all across Texas as well as two out-of-state players were added to the roster. As Sam Houston Lacrosse continues to gain recognition around the nation, more players are coming to SHSU to attend college and play lacrosse. This season we have two players from New Jersey and California who won All-State recognition awards in their states. In addition to the two out of state players, we were able to recruit ten other experienced players from within Texas. This year we are fortunate to have great support. Men’s lacrosse has grown its’ coaching staff to three committed volunteer coaches. Head Coach Jim Perouty comes into Huntsville from Nassau Bay, south of Houston, three times a week for practice and usually two weekend games, along with Assistant Coach Robert Tabb also from Cypress in the Houston area. Assistant Coach Travis Cottle, is a graduate assistant that currently works in the Woodlands. In addition, we have a fantastic booster/supporter/alumni organization that is becoming a great asset to the program in way of support and fundraising.
Lastly, the Men’s lacrosse team has continually improved in the last four years. In 2008 the team had a record of 0-8, not winning a single game. In 2009 we had a winning record of 6-5, making it to the Lone Star Alliance Conference championship game. In 2010, the team went 10-3 overall, and undefeated in the LSA conference and winning Sam Houston’s first Conference Title, then making their first ever national appearance at the MCLA National Playoffs in Denver, Colorado as the 16th ranked team in the country. Last year in 2011, a record of 9-2, again going undefeated in conference and winning Sam Houston’s 2nd consecutive Conference Title and returning to Denver for the National Playoffs. This year the Bearkats traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada to play other nationally ranked teams in the Full House Face-Off Classic. After returning, from Nevada the team moved up in their national ranking to the #12 team in the country, with a 7-1 record.
Additionally, since 2009, the team has produced seven All-American players and eight Academic All-American players. The Bearkats have been nationally ranked in the top 10 of 213 teams in the MCLA.