The Atlantic Coast Conference is the single greatest lacrosse conference in U.S. collegiate play, with seven of eight teams making it into this year’s NCAA Division I women’s tournament.
The only team not making it into the bracket is making some changes at the helm.
Virginia Tech has just completed its 22nd season of varsity women’s lacrosse. It is, to be kind, a checkered history. The Hokies have championships in their history; the 1999 Atlantic-10 Tournament title and the 2000 Atlantic-10 regular season title.
These titles, however, were won in the era before automatic qualifiers were brought into Division I women’s lacrosse, so the Hokies have never played in the NCAA Tournament.
The history has been especially tough on Virginia Tech recently. Since joining the ACC back in 2005, the Hokies have won exactly three conference games.
That’s right. Three.
Into the coaching box steps John Sung, who turned Winthrop University’s program from a blank sheet of paper into a Big South powerhouse, and has coached the Haudenosaunee Nation in the last two FIL World Cups.
Sung’s hire comes at an interesting time for the game of lacrosse. There is sure to be great concern about gender, given the number of male coaches taking over women’s head coaching positions in many sports. It’s just begun to become an issue in lacrosse, and with Sung becoming the second male head coach in the best league in the land, and the fact Sung’s first hire as assistant is a man, Gregg Gebhard, it will do nothing to assuage concern.
But making Sung a double-minority is his Korean heritage. It is extremely rare to see lacrosse players of Far Eastern descent in either gender, despite the fact that the game is growing in Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, and Thailand. All five nations are going to be in next year’s Women’s World Cup.
Sung’s international experience can’t hurt in this new venture, but given the level of competition in the ACC, it’s anyone’s guess when the Hokies will be competitive.