Denver Bandits Appoint New Leadership, Bring Girls Lacrosse Expansion into Focus for 2017
DENVER — The Denver Bandits Lacrosse Club has elected current board member Kelley Digby incoming President as well as added new leadership and coaching staff to help make girls lacrosse a renewed focus of the Bandits in 2017 and beyond.
Digby, a longtime Denver Bandits lacrosse parent and current board member, will take over as board President this fall. She will oversee the Bandits’ mission to raise the level of coaching and play in both boys and girls lacrosse and grow the youth development league’s number of girls’ teams. Digby will lead the Bandits’ push to increase training, development and competition opportunities for all players.
“This is an incredible opportunity to take a more active role with the Denver Bandits and to work alongside some terrific people as we look to take the organization to new heights and also make the girls’ game a key focus for our growth moving forward,” said Digby, now a retired executive who spent 18 years at Johnson & Johnson.
Since her retirement, Digby has been active locally in youth sports, serving on the Littleton Hockey Board and the Cherry Creek School District Hockey Board as well as serving as president of the Parent Teacher Organization for six years.
Digby’s appointment coincides with two additional high-profile coaches joining the Bandits’ Board of Directors.
Melissa Rausch, 3d Lacrosse’s National Girls Director and the head coach at the Kent Denver School, will join the Board and provide vision and guidance for sustainable growth, as well as coaching leadership and expertise.
Also joining the Board of Directors is Sean Waters, an accomplished collegiate player at Bucknell University and the University of Colorado. Waters, who is actively involved growing girls youth lacrosse locally, will help the Bandits build its teams.
Still further, Ali Giovannone, 3d Colorado’s Girls Manager, will join the Bandits coaching initiatives as a Master Coach for the expanding girls teams. Denver Bandits girl youth players will be immersed in the 3d Methodology, the cutting-edge and evolving coaching framework carved out of 3d Lacrosse’s proprietary Box-Field Hybrid Development System.
“As the mother of a Denver Bandits player for the last seven seasons, I have seen the transformation of the program in that time, especially in the last few years since 3d Lacrosse got seriously involved,” Digby said.
“I’m thrilled for us to put renewed resources into the girls program and with Melissa, Sean and Ali involved, it gives us the opportunity to set the Bandits apart as we will have a true focus on the girl’s game. This will give girls in the Denver area and throughout the state a chance to play lacrosse in the spring, be trained by women, have female role models and learn from the best.”
The injection of new leadership comes at a key time given the popularity of lacrosse in Denver and the growing number of opportunities for male youth players. Opportunities for female players lag behind, but Digby and her team will look to change that by making girls youth a key component of the Denver Bandits offering.
“This is going to be a great boost to the Bandits organization to have people dedicated to growing girl’s lacrosse and will have a major impact on girl’s lacrosse here in Colorado,” Rausch said.
“This also addresses a need for lacrosse at the youth level for girls in Denver. Some of the girls were moving from the 3d Little Laxers program right onto 3d Select Colorado, and this will help bridge the gap and provide the opportunity for all youth girls to play lacrosse, improve their skills and love the game, no matter their talent level.”
The Bandits, in total, fielded 16 boys teams in 2016. More than 300 players participated, representing Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Greenwood Village, Cherry Creek and Fort Collins. Four of the boys teams won their respective Colorado Youth Lacrosse Association championships in 2016.
Digby is already fielding inquiries from girls coaches and parents from communities across the Front Range, as far north as Fort Collins and as far south as Castle Rock.
“We’re thrilled to already have so much interest from people in so many spots who want to see girls lacrosse gain momentum here,” Digby said. “It gives us confidence we will ultimately be able to field numerous teams throughout the Front Range.”
The Bandits organization hopes to move the girls program into a graduation-year based model, but in 2016 leaders are planning to field only as many teams as numbers will allow for the best instruction and experience for participants.
“Organically, we’re going to help Denver Bandits girls lacrosse grow, so whether that’s two teams this year or six, we’re going to do what makes the most sense for sustainable growth and providing the girls with the best experience,” Rausch said.
“We’re excited that we’re going to have people putting in the time at the youth level to help girls lacrosse in Colorado grow, but grow at a pace that allows these girls to really learn our Basic Building Blocks in a structured way and in the proper training environment. Giving players access to 3d Master Coaches, giving them some of the best instruction in the country, is nothing like other girls clubs are offering.”
Greg Waldbaum, 3d Lacrosse’s CEO, said that the addition of infrastructure, planning and professional leadership – as well as coaching expertise – will help the Denver Bandits lead the way for girls youth lacrosse in the Centennial State.
“What Kelley, Melissa, Sean and Ali bring to the Denver Bandits can’t be understated as this is an injection of dedicated staffing and coaches who will immediately give girls youth players in Denver the same opportunities that have been available to boys,” Waldbaum said.
“Through the 3d Methodology, we are making sure that coaches are certified to teach the game the right way and the Basic Building Blocks are a part of our teaching system that will be of particular value to the proper development of youth girls players.”
Waldbaum himself has been involved with the Denver Bandits as a coach for 12 years, even prior to the formation of 3d Lacrosse. He said he expects Digby to quickly bring the program’s girls offering in line with the Bandits boys’ activities that have been integral to raising the level of play in Denver in recent years.
“We’re confident that Kelley and her new team will help the Denver Bandits have a positive impact on the game of girls lacrosse,” Waldbaum said. “The Bandits teams have always been strong on the boys’ side, I have seen that first hand as a coach and board member. I’m thrilled to see this new surge on the girls’ side and support it 100 percent.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the Denver Bandits can visit the program page at https://3dlacrosse.com/leagues/colorado/denver-bandits, and those interested in registering for the 2017 season may do so by contacting Bart Farinholt at [email protected].
About 3d Lacrosse
3d Lacrosse is the nation’s fastest-growing lacrosse services company, offering innovative training, premier events, select travel teams, recruiting showcases and leagues for boys and girls ages six through 18 at all levels of organized competition. Founded in 2009, the Company trains more than 35,000 athletes annually using its proprietary Box-Field Hybrid™ Development System that combines the tight stick-handling and ball control of box lacrosse with the team-based field strategies used in Division I college programs. In addition to lacrosse-specific training, professional coaches help players develop lifelong skills, including dedication, teamwork and critical thinking under pressure. Based in Denver, 3d Lacrosse also has offices in Annapolis, Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Hartford, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Portland, San Diego and San Francisco. Learn more at www.3dLacrosse.com.
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