Coach Matt Holtz is Officially an Army Ant!

Coalition Lacrosse is excited to announce the addition of former Division 1 Detroit Mercy and current Olivet Head Coach, Matt Holtz. Coach Holtz adds a level of credibility, knowledge, and ability that will greatly add to the development of our athletes. Coach Holtz has joined the Army Ants staff and will serve as the U19 Head Coach. Let's take some time to get to know Coach Holtz some more. 

First we are excited to have you join our staff this coming year. Why did you want to join Coalition Lacrosse and coach the Army Ants?

I am excited to be around a group of young men who meet the profile of the type of player we are looking for not only on the field but also off the field and in the class room. Army ants is a well respected program that has a lot of talent. Coaching for this program will allow me to create relationships with many young men who will be potential recruits.

IMG_3022The 2016 season will be your 19th year coaching lacrosse. What bring you back each year? 

In the culture of Okinawa there is a term called "ikigai" which translates to "the reason I get up in the morning." The purpose of life is to seek out your “Ikigai” until you find it. If you can do that then you will have satisfaction in life. Scientists believe this is a big part of the reason for the longevity of the Okinawan people. I have worked many jobs in my life but none that gave me the excitement to get up in the morning that I feel every day when I am coaching. Coaching Lacrosse is my Ikigai.

With your college coaching experience at both the Division I and III level can you talk about the difference and what kids need to think about that they might not know?

There is a talent difference but I think that the biggest difference between D1 and D3 is the speed of the athletes. There were not many athletes at the D1 level that I recruited that were not the fastest person on the field when I saw them play.

The second biggest difference is the time commitment level. D3 is designed to have school first always. D1 is not always that way. There are still limits to what D1 coaches can have you doing but they will push it to the limits to try and get that advantage. I’m not saying that D3 players aren’t committed to the game. I’m saying that the amount of time that is allowed to be required of them is significantly less at the D3 level.

At Coalition Lacrosse we take pride in working hard on the practice field as well as in the classroom. Can you talk about how proud you are of your former team's hard work in the classroom and how important it is for young student athletes?

There are many things that can help you earn a spot on a collegiate Lacrosse team: speed, strength, skill, attitude, hustle. The list goes on and on. But the single thing that can earn you a spot OFF of a collegiate team is the class room. Early in my D1 career I spent an enormous amount of time with some very talented athletes who were just not dedicated to the classroom. I thought that we needed them on the field so they were worth the effort. In reality no player is bigger than the program and spending that much time to get a single athlete eligible at the detriment of their teammates is not productive. I decided then and there that I was going to work to recruit athletes that were able to be dedicated to the classroom enough to be successful in college. 

Tell us about Olivet College and your recruiting philosophy:

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I am learning more and more about Olivet College every day. I’ve only been here about a month so I am far from an expert. If someone is reading this and wants to know more about Olivet or the opportunity to play Lacrosse at Olivet then they should email me and I can setup a visit. The best people to learn about Olivet from are on campus.

My recruiting philosophy is pretty simple. I learned if from Dom Starsia at Virginia. It’s a very simple game. You need to keep the ball out of the net, get the ball, and put it in the net. To that end I recruit first and foremost goalies. They are the only player that can change a game single handedly. Next I’m looking for a quality face off guy, and athletes that can get GBs. Finally I’m looking for attack that can score goals. The best attackman I ever coached was a young man from Ontario. The knock on him was that he was too slow, and out of shape and that all he really did well was score goals. That was somewhat true but now that young man is in the NLL. The knock on Chris Carter was all he did was catch touchdown passes and now he’s in the hall of fame. So, if you are not a great goalie, or fogo, or goal scoring attackman then you better be a good athlete who can go out and get a GB for me.

With the Army Ants looking to start a girls program for the 2016 summer for high school, can you tell us what you learned from coaching girls lacrosse and how that helps you with the men's game?

The girls at Okemos were amazing. They re-taught me my passion for coaching. The games are very different but are also very similar when you learn the rules and concepts of both. Just like the men’s game you need a great goalie, great draw girl, and goal scorers. There is not as much blatant contact but believe me, the girls can get after it when they need to. I think the biggest thing I learned from them was the passion for the game that people can have. Those girls loved the game. I met the one person I’ve ever met in my life that was more passionate about Lacrosse than myself. Fortunately for me she was great at GB’s and a great goal scorer too.

Check out Coach Holtz Coaching Bio -  Click Here