With Sport in His Blood, Shuey Can’t Help But Stick With LAX

Kevin Shuey played lacrosse at Highland Park High School and Hofstra University. (Photo: Sentry Lacrosse)

Tommy Shuey played lacrosse at Highland Park High School and Hofstra University. (Photo: Sentry Lacrosse)

When Tommy Shuey returned to Highland Park from Hofstra University, where he played lacrosse, he noticed something very different about the sports atmosphere. Lacrosse wasn’t just an unpopular sport in Dallas-Fort Worth — it was barely played at all.

The revelation wasn’t exactly surprising. Historically, lacrosse is played most in the Northeast and the Midwest.

When Shuey returned in 2010, high schools in the area had just begun launching lacrosse programs, he said.

“It was almost like lacrosse didn’t belong in Texas, and I didn’t belong [at Hofstra] playing lacrosse,” Shuey said. “When I moved back, I kind of had this goal of not letting Texas be the outcast state any more and growing the sport in Texas, because I knew we had much better athletes and a lot of potential.”

That same year, Shuey and a couple of coaching buddies kick-started Sentry Lacrosse, a youth program for area kids. Shuey spent a couple of years doing double duty while he coached in Highland Park High School’s program, but he eventually left the school to focus on Sentry full-time. At first, only around 30 kids took part in the program, but as many as 500 participated this year.

So far, the program is a competitive success. The Girls Under-17 team won a tournament in Vail, Colo., this month, and the U-15 team made the playoffs.

“I saw the need for that next level of coaching and was sparked by my wanting to get Texas players up there with the best of the best in the Northeast,” Shuey said.

Sentry takes teams to tournaments around the state and country — including locations in San Diego, Orange County, Denver, Baltimore, and Palm Springs.

Colby Kneese, a rising sophomore at Highland Park, has been in the program since it was founded. He said the atmosphere at Sentry is a little more laid back than his school’s team, but the coaches have helped him grow his skill set.

“They really help me improve my game and with recruiting,” he said. “The youth [program] is really good.”

Sentry also provides a connection between youth and university programs. Shuey said college lacrosse programs are slow to recruit in Texas because the state’s high school players are not as developed as Northeast players.

But one advantage Texas players have is their physical prowess, he said. College coaches recruit raw physical talent and hope to convert athletes into lacrosse players.

“It’s a different type of recruiting,” he said of coaches’ strategies in Texas. “They actually recruit more athletes than they do lacrosse players out of Texas, with hopes that once they get to college they can become great lacrosse players.”

That’s where Sentry comes in. Coaches teach simple concepts to first-time players before introducing more complex principles that separate the good players from the great ones. Many teens in Sentry’s program also play for their schools, so the two programs supplement each other.

And while HPHS has a renowned program, Shuey wants the sport to spread.

“Highland Park is great — they’re a powerhouse — but I’m concerned with Texas,” Shuey said. “I want every kid in Texas to get better, because that helps everyone.”

By Bobby Karalla Aug. 1, 2013 | 2:00 pm | 7 Comments | Comments RSS
  • Correction

    Your picture says “Kevin” instead of “Tommy.”

    Plenty of high schools in the area had successful lacrosse programs well before 2010, including HPHS, Hillcrest, St. Marks, Jesuit, and ESD. Shuey is among many who are helping the sport grow.

  • Inaccurate Reporting

    A couple inaccuracies in this article.

    1) Tommy was fired from The HP lacrosse program.
    2) Lacrosse has been a growing sport in North Texas since well before 2010. There are a number of individuals who have done a great deal more for the sport than Mr.Shuey in the area.
    3) Statistically other club lacrosse programs in North Texas are more successful from a winning percentage and recruiting perspective.

    It is a shame that personal agendas can’t be set aside for the actual growth of the game.

  • Avid Reader

    It’s a good article on Shuey, but yes, completely misleading regarding the idea that Lacrosse was not on the radar pre-2010. The hundreds of kids from ESD/HP/ST. Marks/etc. that had college lacrosse scholarships from the late 90’s and early 00’s would be a perfect example. There have been a number of club teams/camps that have won many more regional/national out of state tournaments than Sentry in the decade plus before 2010.

  • XT

    Agreed, strange to hear him use 2010 as the genesis for the growth of lax in Texas.

    That’s what you get when you ask 20 year olds for historical perspective.

  • http://ParkCities I Am Confused

    This article is even better proof that PARENT’S NEED TO CHECK THESE TYPE OF COACHES BACKGROUNDS…..parent’s PLEASE check out your player’s coach background, just because they put it on a resume it doesn’t mean it is accurate or truthful…when they tell you they are a 501.3c foundation check it out and if they are not being truthful contact US Lacrosse, if they tell you they are members of an exclusive lacrosse organization and are soliciting your player based on the above, CHECK IT OUT!!! Unfortunately our area has been saturated with these type of guys who have one AGENDA, $$$$$. Even HP has gotten on the band wagon and let traditions go by the wayside and bad character allowed for the big WIN…again, check out who is leading and directing your player. Stand by your player and promote good character and strong beliefs so they will be real leaders one day. Our boys played before Tommy came in and saved the game and though the competition was not as it is today our boys played the game the way the program was developed for the game to be played and operated…with handwork, honesty and good character. It was a privilege to play for HP and I understand now it is for those who can afford it…it is sad to hear how it is being handled now and this article shows why, when character is not shown you get anything and everything for the result. True leadership and character starts at the top..

  • NFW

    The responses to this article are troubling. There seems to be some covert character assassination going on. HP has consistently had great lacrosse teams, but Texas clearly is not the LAX powerhouse that east coast schools are. Our better athletes worship at the feet of Randy Allen and his football ilk. Folks can beat on guys like Shuey, but he’s simply tapping into a market that pushy parents have created. Looks like Shuey just found a cheap advertisement opportunity in the folks at PCP. as for the teaching of character and leadership, I’d consider that my job as a parent. There’s not an athletic coach anywhere who wouldn’t sell out any kid for “the big win.”

  • XT

    Good post, NFW. I know Tommy, and think he is a very good kid, who as you correctly stated, has done a great job of taking advantage of an opportunity.

    My view in general is not specific to him, but to all of the 20+ year olds who coach these teams, thinking that they know everything about lacrosse, and anyone over 30 who lives in Texas has no clue regarding how lacrosse is now.

    But you know something, that doesn’t make him any different than I was when I was in my 20’s. Just saying that his comment on the state of lacrosse when he came back is probably narrow, and lacks perspective. Again, like most 20-30 year olds (which is why I have a problem with a 28 year old running for office.)

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