McErlean to team up with St. Joe's

Photo submitted Phoenixville native and Bishop Shanahan senior Joe McErlean, center, pictured with his parents, recently signed a letter of intent to play lacrosse at St. Joseph’s University.

PHOENIXVILLE — The St. Joseph’s University men’s lacrosse coaching staff impressed Joe McErlean way beyond what he expected from college recruiters.

Or enough to convince him to team up with the Hawks’ program.

“The coaching staff is second to none there,” said McErlean, a Phoenixville resident and Bishop Shanahan senior. “They just finished their first year as a coaching staff. I was very impressed with all three, the two assistants and head coach Taylor Wray. They have the credentials as coaches to have a successful program.

“I also liked the campus. I thought it was a good fit for me all around.”

McErlean has been a star offensive midfielder at Shanahan as a first team all-league player in the Ches-Mont League for two years after playing his first two years at Phoenixville in the Pioneer Athletic Conference. St. Joseph’s also wants him to play in the midfield at the Division I collegiate level.

McErlean scored 53 goals during the 2012 season for the Eagles and totaled 171 goals for his career besides assisting on numerous other goals.

“I was lucky to have good teammates around me to be successful,” said McErlean, who also earned all-state recognition as a swimmer for the past two years as part of a school-record setting relay team that medaled at states in the winter.

McErlean had thought about the U.S. Naval Academy several years ago. But when that option fell through, McErlean felt pretty much open to attend any college or university for lacrosse. Once St. Joseph’s entered the picture, he felt he did not have to look any farther. Dan Keating and Mike Keating, both from Duke University, are the St. Joe’s men’s lacrosse assistant coaches.

Joe’s family is also excited about his decision to play for the Hawks in Philadelphia. The close proximity will allow the family to watch him play his home games more conveniently.

McErlean plans to major in food marketing, which is a premier curriculum at St. Joseph’s.

McErlean will be joined at St. Joe’s by Downingtown East faceoff specialist Kevin Clark as well as Garnet Valley attacker Robert Rucci.

“I will have some players to play with for the next few year in Philadelphia,” said McErlean. “It is nice to be with area kids so we can all stay together.”

The Hawks, who play lacrosse in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) while its other sports are in the Atlantic 10 Conference, are attempting to rebuild a program that has struggled the past few years.

“They are just coming in there and going all out,” said McErlean. “They want to take the program to the next level.”

This summer he plans to work on his strength and conditioning as well as his stick work to improve his skills for the college game.

St. Joe’s has a few fall scrimmages scheduled, but the sport is predominantly played during the spring months.