Photo courtesy: Chris Rowney
The air is cold and crisp, biting through the Sierra Nevada College lacrosse players’ jackets and sweats as they gather tightly around their gear bags. The sun is barely coming over the horizon while the team debates removing its warm clothes for practice. It won’t take long until Chris Rowney, head coach of SNC, warms up the players with hard workouts and vigorous drills.
“My favorite practices are educational first of all, but most importantly they need to be high tempo and competitive,” said Rowney.
After working as a coach in various lacrosse programs for more than five years, Rowney has been involved in the LAX community for a long time. When his “lacrosse boss” (manager) received the job offer, he instantly referred Rowney. As a skilled player and coach with a wealth of knowledge in the game, he is more than equipped to lead the team.
“As I’m learning the ropes of this school, I’m really starting to enjoy the advantage that the merit scholarship gives me over all other colleges,” said Rowney. Rowney has also demonstrated that he cares just as much about his players’ academics as their athletics. He has implemented a twice- weekly study hall for the team with the goal of 3.0 or better average GPA.
Rowney’s roots go deep in the lacrosse community. His grandfather played for the United States Naval Academy in Maryland, his father played at UC Berkeley, and his older brother also played. He’s coached at Livermore High and Granada High, along with Diablo Valley College and San Diego State University.
Rowney holds many awards from his playing days, including as defensive player of the year, and the blue-collar award, given to a player who shows high levels of heart and commitment to their team.
“I’ve had the opportunity to play for some pretty cool teams. I played in places like Pleasanton, Foothill, DVC, Palo Alto, and even Oakland,” said Rowney. He says being a part of those teams opened the doors to the coaching positions he’s gotten now.
“One of the best parts of my new coaching job here is that I can help players improve, but that I’m also improving with them,” said Rowney. “I get to build on my knowledge as a coach every practice and that is a great feeling.”
Outside of the lacrosse grind, Rowney spends his free time in the outdoors. He has skied since age 3, and also enjoys snowboarding, hiking, kayaking and swimming in the lake. The “Tahoe life” couldn’t be more fitting for him.
“There’s no other environment like this campus,” said Rowney. “It’s surrounded by trees, fresh air and beautiful water.” He also found his fellow faculty more than helpful during his transition. “The kind energy and staff involvement is huge for me,” said Rowney.
Aside from lacrosse, Rowney enjoys playing soccer, football and basketball for fun. Him and his family love watching pro sports and have been 49ers season ticket holders for more than 40 seasons.
Although Rowney likes other sports, his heart is in lacrosse.
“When I have my helmet on and I’m on the field, all that matters to me is the little white rubber ball,” said Rowney. “I can completely let go of everything else in my head.”
As Rowney looks forward to coaching the SNC lacrosse team, he wants to make the program “the best it can possibly be.”