Richmond County schools could get lacrosse

Lacrosse could be coming to at least one Richmond County school in the next few years.


The idea of creating a team was recently posed to school board members by The First Stick Program, a group that helps provide grants to foster lacrosse teams in inner-city, low-income areas that might not have exposure to the sport.

"We're hoping to mirror the First Tee program," a local group that promotes golf, said Paul Meyer, who represented First Stick before the board.

Meyer told the board his group is offering an $8,000 equipment grant to the school system to create a men's lacrosse team and would assist with fundraising and donation drives. A coach would be supplied, he said, and a $2,000 equipment grant would be available for the creation of a women's team.

County Athletic Director George Bailey, who has been instructed by the board to work with First Stick and come back with a recommendation, said this week that the idea is progressing.

He said all high schools will be surveyed to gauge interest in a lacrosse team.

"Secondly, we will look at the numbers of boys and girls, and once we have determined the schools, we will look at the funding and what it may cost the board," Bailey said in an e-mail. "We will then offer the report to the board for their discussion and possible decision."

Bailey said officials will have about two years to work on the idea, with a goal of establishing one or more teams by 2014.

Meyer told the board that Greenbrier and Lakeside high schools and Augusta State University already have lacrosse teams.

"It's not as though we're starting from scratch," he said.

He said a Richmond County team would play mostly Georgia teams but could venture into South Carolina. He said there are about 60 high school lacrosse teams in Georgia, and the season runs from January to spring.

Meyer was asked whether it would be up to the school to continue funding the team after a first year of funding by First Stick. He said that at some point the team should fund itself through donations, gate returns from games and fundraising, but he said his group "wouldn't walk away" and would continue helping.

"It's a great opportunity for a school given economic and budget restraints," he said.



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