Chris Merucci is one of the newest Comets to join the The University of Olivet family as head women’s lacrosse coach. He’s especially excited to share his passion for the game and coaching skills with the ever-growing and improving Comet women’s lacrosse team. Coach Merucci has a record of setting big goals and reaching them. In fact, he even helped lead the Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood School girls’ varsity lacrosse team to its first-ever Michigan High School Athletic Association Division II championship in 2017. Now, he’s on a mission to help Comets burn brighter and soar higher than ever before.
Coach Merucci hopes to see you at the first OC women’s lacrosse game on Feb. 28 at the Cutler Athletic Complex when the Comets take on Heidelberg University.
Why do you love The University of Olivet?
I was drawn to The University of Olivet because of the opportunity that was presented to me to coach at the collegiate level and specifically in the MIAA. In just a few short weeks, I have fallen in love with the family atmosphere at OC. Since the moment I stepped onto campus, I have been welcomed with open arms, genuine warmth and hospitality. From President Steven M. Corey, Ph.D., to fellow coaches, the admissions department, faculty, staff and students, the support and friendliness has been wonderful.
What are your responsibilities as the head women’s lacrosse coach?
As a coach, I understand the tremendous responsibilities I have. It’s a coach’s responsibility to introduce, teach and engrain core values in their players to prepare them as productive adults, not just athletes. It’s imperative for a coach to be able to inspire, empower and mentor student-athletes to be exceptional young adults who embrace and embody what it is to be a good citizen, teammate and champion in life – not just in sports. My focus is on filling the emotional tanks of my players each and every day. My staff and I do this by encouraging the players to trust in themselves, trust their teammates, love who they are and support one another. A team that believes in each other can accomplish anything they put their collective minds to.
What drives you to build personal relationships with students?
It’s critical for players to know you believe in them and respect them, just as you ask them to respect and trust in you. As a collegiate coach, you need to be willing to assume the role of surrogate parent for the student-athlete that many times is far away from her family and loved ones. It’s very important that your players believe they can look to you for advice, support and guidance when needed. Players that believe in a coach, a team and themselves can achieve anything.
What is the number one piece of advice you share with student-athletes?
I always encourage students to love and embrace the person you are, don’t try to be someone else.
Why should students attend OC?
In addition to the beautiful and quaint Pure Michigan-style campus at Olivet and the exceptional variety of college majors and minors to choose from, I encourage students to look within themselves and ask what’s most important to them and what will make them feel at home. When recruiting and acting as an ambassador for the school, it’s important to understand that each student is unique, thus each student has her own set of interests and goals, as well as a distinctly unique set of challenges and limitations. With that being said, OC is firmly committed to offering opportunities to students that many other institutions are not willing to provide. Simply stated, I encourage students to explore the wealth of opportunities that Olivet offers – academically, athletically, financially and in student life.
What are you most looking forward to this lacrosse season?
The thing I am most looking forward to this season is watching each player improve every day, play with purpose, play with passion, play for each other, empower each other and enjoy the wonderful journey that is the life of collegiate student-athletes.
What is an interesting or little-known fact about yourself?
I wear shorts and sandals year-round – regardless of weather!
Check out the full women’s lacrosse schedule and results. Schedule a personalized campus visit to learn more about opportunities for student-athletes at OC – and be sure to request to meet with coaches to get the inside scoop on all the teams. Contact the Office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.