Johnny Gilbreath ’12, a business administration major, is president of the Loyola Marymount University Men’s Lacrosse Team, a non-NCAA club sport. As a freshman, Gilbreath and Marc Napp ’11 began teaching lacrosse to Westchester kids. Today, the LMU team is deeply involved with local young learners, and the Westchester Lions compete in the West L.A. Lacrosse league. On March 4, 2012, Gilbreath was inducted into the West L.A. Lacrosse Hall of Fame for his work. He was interviewed by Editor Joseph Wakelee-Lynch.
When did you start playing lacrosse?
I started in the fifth grade.
What do you like about the game?
Lacrosse has the flow of basketball, contact similar to that of football and hockey and the running of soccer. It’s a fast-paced game and has a lot of hitting.
Do you like the hitting part of lacrosse?
I don’t like getting hit as much as doing the hitting.
Which of your accomplishments are you proudest of?
Being named a captain of the team. Earning the other players’ respect is important to me. We have four captains, and the others are Travis Abraham ’12, Connor DeVane ’14 and Chase Parlett ’12.
Does it make a difference that you play at the club level and not at the NCAA Division 1 level?
Only in the sense that I feel I have something to prove.
You’ve been teaching to Westchester kids to play lacrosse for four years. Is the game catching on?
We started with 40 kids, and the numbers have increased every year. Now there are about 150 boys and girls, from kindergarten
to eighth grade.
What do you like about teaching?
Working with the families in Westchester is one of the best things. They’re very welcoming, and the kids have great attitudes, which can be rare
in youth sports.
Do you think the kids learn about college through you and your LMU teammates?
Yes. They’re learning what it takes to compete at a high level. A lot of what we teach comes from the LMU program. Other kids are learning from a dad who has read a book about coaching. They’re learning from guys who play at a high level, which gives them a chance to progress faster. Then they come to LMU to watch our games.
What is the most satisfying part?
I’m able to teach them something that has taken me places. Lacrosse has gotten me to LMU, given me opportunities I would never have had and kept me out of trouble. I’m able to teach the kids something that has helped me, which can help them, and I’m able to have fun doing it.