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Q&A With Michael McCormack

Michael McCormack (Dave Burbank)
Michael McCormack (Dave Burbank)

Team Leader Brings Wealth of Attributes


Michael McCormack, the captain of the 2013 Yale Lacrosse Team, sat down with Yale Sports Publicity Director Steve Conn early this season to get his take on last year, the MLL Draft, his off-the-field work and other things. McCormack, a senior defenseman and pre-season All-America pick from West Islip, NY, was a second-team All-Ivy League and first-team All-New England pick last season after ranking sixth in Division I in caused turnovers.

SC: How would you describe your style of leadership as the team captain?

MM: I try to lead by example and always try to do what I ask others to. It's good that guys on our team feel comfortable coming to me with anything. I've been fortunate enough to have pretty good game experience (tournaments, OT games), so I feel like they can come to me if they ever need advice.

SC: How has the 2012 season helped you?

MM: Big-game experience is crucial. We played in a lot of OT games and one-goal games. Every Ivy game is a battle. That enables me to lead better. Playing in the bigger games has helped me to be more stable.

SC: Your team overcame a small skid and strung together a nine-game win streak last spring. How does that impact your perspective in 2013?

MM: After all of those OT games and our win streak, I realized that anything can happen. We are still going to take it game by game, and we are excited for the Ivy season to open.

SC: You were drafted by the Charlotte Hounds last month. You were teammates with 2012 MLL Rookie of the Year Matt Gibson '12 at Yale for three years. What are your thoughts about playing professionally?

MM: Coach Shay had told me that some MLL coaches had spoken to him about me, but I wasn't exactly sure whether or not it was going to happen. I will try to pursue it and would love to make it work if I can. Gibby [Gibson] definitely makes me want to give the MLL a shot. He's one of my best friends and his success at the college level has obviously carried over into the professional league. He said it's a really cool experience. If he didn't play, I probably wouldn't be so adamant about playing. His career has influenced me.  MLL games are on weekends, but my job in Manhattan definitely takes precedent. It's all about whether I can fit it into my job schedule. The Charlotte Hounds GM told me that we would talk after the college season, so we'll see what happens.

SC: You had a great internship last summer and already have a job offer. Where were you, and what has come up since?

MM: I interned with Barclays last summer in their sales and trading division. I've recently accepted a job with Imperial Capital in Manhattan.

SC: What are your strengths as a player?

MM: I am not the most physically imposing player and far from your stereotypical defenseman in physical stature. My strengths are my stick skills, mental game, and that fact that I grew up in a lacrosse-oriented town and had great coaches since third grade. For me, it's about taking the angles and knowing schemes. It makes up for not being a 6-foot-3 defenseman. The best part of my game is off the ground and in transition.

SC: How have the new rules changed the game for you?

MM: They have increased the speed of play and whistles are much quicker. We have to reset quicker. They can pick up the ball and throw it back into play right away. The face-off rules also speed up the game. We are a team that likes to get up and down the field, so it's good for us. It's a faster pace of play overall. We've done a lot of transition drills to get used to the new rules.

SC: How about the 30-second shot clock when teams are deemed to be stalling?

MM: It forces us to take a shot before it runs out. Anything can happen after we take a shot. It might cause more high scoring games, but only time will tell as the season carries on.