Coaches Jenny (UNC) and Dan (youth team) Levy help expand lacrosse around Triangle

wrupard@newsobserver.comJuly 3, 2013 

It seems national championships come in pairs for the Levys.

In 1991, Dan and Jenny (then known as Jenny Slingluff) Levy helped lead their schools to lacrosse national championships. Dan played at North Carolina, while Jenny was a star on Virginia’s team.

It’s only fitting that in the same year Jenny Levy and the Tar Heels’ women’s lacrosse team won the national championship that Dan Levy has a chance to win a title, too.

Dan Levy coaches the Under-11 Carolina Cannons youth lacrosse team that just wrapped up an undefeated 23-0 regular season and qualified for a quasi-national championship in December. The Levys’ oldest son, Ryan, plays on the team, and both of his sons are involved in the Carolina Cannons organization

Dan Levy has been involved with the Carolina Cannons for four seasons and says he enjoys coaching kids this young.

“I love that age because they’re just so receptive to anything you talk about or want to teach,” Dan Levy said. “It’s a really unique time in their lives where they’re just so passionate about, in this case, lacrosse.”

Dan Levy spent two years as an assistant coach for the men’s lacrosse team at Georgetown while he was attending graduate school. Being involved at many different levels of lacrosse has allowed him to get a lot of different perspectives on the sport.

“I think the most fun is seeing these players, whether they’re 10 years old or 20, really love what they’re doing, put in the work and ultimately it’s fun to see them rewarded for it,” Dan Levy said.

Since moving to North Carolina, Dan and Jenny Levy have helped form youth lacrosse programs all over the area. They let kids who want to get involved in lacrosse borrow equipment and have even altered old equipment they own and given sticks out to kids who may have not been able to afford them.

Coaching lacrosse is something both Dan and Jenny Levy have wanted to get involved in since their playing days ended as a way of trying to get more people involved in the sport they love.

“Ever since I came back, I’ve wanted to give back,” Dan Levy said. “We just feel it’s important to grow the game as much as we can here.”

Dan and Jenny Levy both say they’ve borrowed ideas for practices and drills from each other.

Dan Levy works for Wasserman Media Group as a sports marketing agent for some of the top women’s athletes including Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan. Between a job that requires a lot of travel and coaching this team, Dan Levy says he has little time to himself.

“It doesn’t hurt having a coach at home to tap into for ideas,” Dan Levy said.

Both have been involved in lacrosse for nearly their entire lives. Dan was a member of North Carolina’s 1991 national championship-winning men’s lacrosse team and helped lead the Tar Heels to the Final Four in each of his four seasons while Jenny was a member of Virginia’s first women’s lacrosse championship team in 1991 and a year later she was named the NCAA Attack Player oftheYear.

Jenny Levy spent the first part of her coaching career as an assistant women’s lacrosse coach at Georgetown before being hired by North Carolina to start a women’s program at the school. Even though the program had success out of the gate, Jenny Levy says it was hard to recruit and build a program because there was no foundation, alumni or tradition.

The Levys have seen the participation in the sport, and the talent level, grow since they began coaching.

But since she started the lacrosse program in 1996, the game has grown rapidly. In 1996 there were no high schools girls’ lacrosse programs in North Carolina. Now, there are more than 70.

Even though the sport has grown in North Carolina, lacrosse still struggles to get attention because many girls choose to play soccer. North Carolina’s national championship roster had no players from the state of North Carolina.

“Even though the numbers continue to grow, it (North Carolina) is still not saturated with numbers and number of good players,” Jenny Levy said. “I think there’s a lot of interest in the sport and that’s great to see.”

Jenny Levy says she hopes her national championship winning team will help inspire young girls in the state to pick up the game. With Duke’s men’s lacrosse team also winning the national championship, the Levys hope the additional exposure will help expand the game.

“We actually captured people’s interests and attention and they were inspired by how intense the nature of the game was,” Jenny Levy said.

Rupard: 919-829-8954

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service