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Marr coaching with Iroquois Nationals

Marr coaching with Iroquois Nationals

UAlbany coach, players fill Iroquois Nationals' roster for 2018 world championships
Marr coaching with Iroquois Nationals
UAlbany head coach Scott Marr, left, is shown with Tehoka Nanticoke at a 2018 practice.
Photographer: Gazette file photo

ALBANY — How much coaching will be necessary?

Scott Marr isn’t sure.

But he is excited to find out.

“It’s an opportunity to be with one of the best attack units — top-three, at least — in the world,” Marr said. “Really, in the history of the game, to be honest.”

Marr, the University at Albany men’s lacrosse head coach, is set to serve as an assistant coach for the Iroquois Nationals men’s team at the FIL World Lacrosse Championship. The tournament starts Thursday in Israel, and the Iroquois Nationals’ roster includes several current and former UAlbany players.

“And we have such superstars that can really play,” Marr said.

That class of players is led by recent UAlbany alumni Lyle Thompson and Miles Thompson, brothers who shared the Tewaaraton Award in 2014 before Lyle Thompson won the award solo in 2015. Fellow UAlbany alumnus Ty Thompson, too, is on the Iroquois Nationals’ roster, along with current UAlbany players Ron John and Tehoka Nanticoke.

Marr, 50, has coached previously on the international stage for the United States in 2006. The Clifton Park resident said he is excited for the opportunity to assist head coach Mark Burnam — whose nephew Derek Kreuzer played for Marr at UAlbany from 2008 to 2011 — as an offensive coordinator for the Iroquois Nationals.

“It’ll be a different experience with people I’ve really grown to care about and want to be around,” said Marr, whose program has become known in the past decade for its number of Native American players.

As a college program, UAlbany is coming off making its first-ever appearance in the national semifinals. Meanwhile, its continued development as a national powerhouse is evident in the number of former and current Great Danes playing and coaching in the FIL World Lacrosse Championship. Coaches or players with ties to UAlbany are members of six different teams at the world championships.

Also in the tournament, 2018 Siena College graduate Chris Robertson will play for Australia.

Marr said his top challenge at the world championships is figuring out how best to “maximize” the ample talent he has to work with at attack. When the Iroquois Nationals officially revealed its roster earlier this week, social media buzzed wondering if the team’s assembled attackmen amounted to the greatest collection of talent in the sport’s history.

An example of how much talent is there? Lyle Thompson, the all-time leading scorer in NCAA men’s lacrosse history, will primarily be used as a midfielder during the tournament.

“He volunteered to do that, actually,” Marr said. “He’s one of our most athletic guys, and he can really help getting the ball from our defense to our offense.”

Marr joked he “doesn’t have much to do” running the Iroquois Nationals’ offense. Marr said he is headed to Israel more to learn than to instruct.

“Just to be around them, really,” Marr said of what excites him most about the upcoming tournament. “As a coach, you’re always trying to learn.”

The Iroquois Nationals finished third in the 2014 world championships and are one of the favorites, along with Canada and the United States, in this year’s 48-team field. Play for the Iroquois Nationals starts Thursday against the United States in a game broadcast on ESPN2.

Marr said he can’t wait to get started.

“It’s an opportunity to grow as a coach and be a part of a great experience,” Marr said.

Reach Michael Kelly at mkelly@dailygazette.net or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.

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