Success in sports can be found in many different forms, whether it’s the playing time received, the points racked up, the friendships and relationships developed, the countless lessons learned, or working towards something greater than oneself.
While some may only achieve some of these successes, others, such as attackman Dan Taylor, a Canadian and senior captain of the men’s lacrosse team, will earn them all.
Over his past four years at Lehigh, Taylor has emulated, committed to and built on what coach Kevin Cassese calls a “Lehigh lacrosse man.”
“(Being a Lehigh lacrosse man means) just being incredibly respectful, a great citizen, and also being selfless in how you manage relationships with teammates and people outside of the program as well,” Cassese said.
Taylor was recruited six years ago when he was playing for a team that was traveling to tournaments in the United States.
“It was pretty simple,” Taylor said. “I came here once, they saw me play once and it was a match made in heaven. I really enjoyed the university, visited here a couple times, and fell in love with the team and the players and that was that.”
Taylor admits that it wasn’t the smoothest of transitions when he first arrived freshman year.
“It took a little bit of adjusting, and the games are different too,” Taylor said. “I came in here and I was scrawny and about 40 pounds lighter, and I was overwhelmed of how big and athletic the guys were at first.”
By his sophomore season, Taylor had gained roughly 20 pounds, was a starter, and a valuable part of the Mountain Hawks offense.
“He just became a bigger, stronger, faster athlete,” Cassese said. “You couple that with his innate ability to play high-level lacrosse, he quickly became a superstar.”
By his junior year, Taylor became one of the highest scorers in NCAA Division I lacrosse. This was the year when he began to take on a bigger offensive role.
He said that in this time, his vocal leadership improved as Cassese helped him do a lot of work with film to help Taylor understand the field game better.
Now, in his senior year, Taylor feels even more confident in his role as a leader. He said that past captains were great examples and they gave him a good idea of what one would expect from them.
“He’s like a second coach on the field,” sophomore midfielder Cody Triolo said. “His voice makes you feel more comfortable on the field.”
Senior Kurt Kaunas, who works heavily with Taylor in the Hawks offensive formation, also praised Taylor for his presence on the team.
“There are a lot of things that make Dan one of the best players to come through Lehigh lacrosse,” Kaunas said. “Those reasons start with him having an incredible work ethic. Dan tremendously developed his lacrosse game and athleticism from freshman to senior year.”
Taylor is currently the highest scorer for the Hawks with 29 goals in total this season and ended last season with a career high of 47 goals. In January, the Denver Outlaws chose Taylor as the 38th overall pick in the Major League Lacrosse collegiate draft.
Cassese considers Taylor in his top five athletes that he’s worked with in his coaching career of over 10 years, which is saying a great deal considering he has coached Team USA and Duke. He called him one of the best leaders that he has ever been around.
“That’s probably what I’m going to miss most — the opportunity that I get to spend everyday with 50 of my best friends,” Taylor said. “It’s cliché but I’ll honestly be friends with these guys for the rest of my life.”
The Canadian native and the rest of the Lehigh men’s lacrosse team take on Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, on April 4 at 2 p.m.