US Lacrosse has announced significant upgrades to the U.S. National Teams Program with the appointment of Kevin Ankrom to the newly created position of High Performance Director and the establishment of a National Teams Development Program (NTDP). Melissa Coyne, currently the Director of Games Administration for US Lacrosse, will serve as the director for the NTDP.

Ankrom comes to US Lacrosse with extensive experience as a coach and as a performance director. He has spent more than 15 years working internationally in the high performance field helping national federations develop their performance systems and structures. He has also served as the national teams head coach for 45 world and European athletic championships, including four Olympic Games. Prior to Ankrom’s appointment he has served as the High Performance Director for Athletics Ireland from 2011 to 2016 after serving in a similar capacity for New Zealand (2007-2011) and Hong Kong (2003-2007). Ankrom has also worked as a head coach on the collegiate level at Valparaiso University (1996-2000) and UNC-Wilmington (2000-2003) before beginning his international stints.

Coyne, a former goalie for North Carolina who played for the U.S. U19 team in 1995, joined the US Lacrosse staff as the women’s game director in 2011. She was promoted to her current role as Director of Games Administration in 2014, and will now shift her focus to the national teams program.

“The addition of Kevin to our staff, Melissa’s transition to this new role and the launch of our national team player development are exciting steps for our national teams program,” said Ann Kitt Carpenetti, Vice President of Lacrosse Operations for US Lacrosse. “I feel strongly that we’re going to increase the depth of our player pool, provide greater resources to our national teams coaching staff and players, and ultimately help improve the level of play of lacrosse and increase the exposure of the Team USA brand throughout the United States.”

“I am confident that our newly appointed national performance team can be successful in the direction and implementation of key strategies to deliver leadership and support for our talented athletes and coaches,” Ankrom said.

“As the first appointed High Performance Director for US Lacrosse I am looking forward to establishing this role and developing a successful performance culture for US Lacrosse and Team USA. Having previous experience in delivering performance systems across a sport, I am looking forward to the challenges, competitive opportunities, and overseeing the development of the US Lacrosse performance program. Most importantly, I am looking forward to meeting with our athletes and coaches and discussing ways of growing the sport for the future.”

Ricky Fried, Head Coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team, had the opportunity to talk with Ankrom and learn about his vision for the position.

“I was impressed with his ability to ask questions about what we need as opposed to what he wants to do,” said Fried. “He’s going to merge those things at some point, but there was an openness to listening. I think he brings a different perspective coming from an individual sport with the metric pieces they use to evaluate players that can give us standards that we haven’t had before.”

The NTDP is in the early planning stages, but is intended to provide a pathway for players to get into the national teams pipeline at younger ages, allowing for more continuity with the program.

“I think Melissa will be great in this position,” said Carpenetti. “She has a passion for the game, is very well respected and has a great understanding of what it will take to make this program something that will benefit both the players and coaches.”

Ankrom and Coyne will assume their roles later this month. Lance Basler will continue in his manager role for operations for the national teams program and a new position to assist with the NTDP is slated to be filled later this year.

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