Virginia Wesleyan Men’s Lacrosse brought in a new assistant coach this fall, Prince Charles. Prior to arriving at VWU, Charles played for ODAC institution Randolph College until his eligibility ran out in 2019. He graduated in 2020 with a degree in Sport and Exercise Studies, he also spent his fifth year as a student assistant for the Randolph lacrosse program.
Charles did not start playing lacrosse until seventh or eighth grade. “At that point I was just learning that next year I was playing defensive midfield and faceoff,” Charles said. He eventually found himself playing on the varsity team at Cape Henry Collegiate in Virginia Beach from 10th grade through 12th grade. After not being heavily recruited, Charles committed to Randolph College. “That was a place out of a bunch I found pretty late in the process that was a good fit for me,” Charles said.
Charles did not always want to coach. At first, he wanted to be a physical therapist or an athletic trainer. Charles said, “I just didn’t realize the whole time when I was playing and helping out in the community that I was coaching.”
He was an assistant for recreation football here in Virginia Beach, helped out with the travel lacrosse teams in Lynchburg and worked with some junior varsity programs in Virginia Beach when he was in high school.
What brought him to coach for VWU was the head coach, J.P. Stewart. “He actually asked me, I never threw myself out there like ‘hey, can I come coach for you,’” said Charles.
One thing that stuck out to him was the large roster size, which he said he was not used to. Charles also said, “I always thought Virginia Wesleyan athletics was very serious, so I wanted to see what it would be like to be a part of a serious athletics organization. Not just the lacrosse program but in general.”
He wants to bring a different energy to campus, saying, “I don’t think you know too many assistant coaches or head coaches just coming around dabbing people up, so that’s what I’ve been trying to do and not really be weird about it.”
Freshman goalie Zack Tucker mentioned how Charles made the transition from high school lacrosse to college lacrosse at VWU easier. Tucker said, “He knows how the transition is and definitely helped with the transition and explained how this is not high school lacrosse, what will and what will not work in college lacrosse.”
Tucker also said that it’s nice to have a coach who is closer in age to the players. “He can kind of understand if we have problems outside of lacrosse. He understands what is happening because he’s around the same age.”
When asked about what it is like to have an assistant coach not only play in the ODAC but also be so close in age to the players, senior defender Ryan Morris said, “Either way he is still our coach so there is a level of respect that comes with every conversation you have with him, but with a smaller age gap he can relate better to our day to day lives.”
Morris went on to say, “Having played against him and him playing in the same conference gives him insight on how we can improve. He always preaches positivity and that is something that if the players buy in, will benefit the team culture greatly.”
Similarly, sophomore defensive middle Everett Harris said, “It definitely is a lot easier to talk to him compared to an older coach. He can be more understanding and approachable but still gets the respect he deserves as a coach.”
With the positivity Charles brings to campus and the team Harris said, “He always has a good attitude and focuses on getting better for the next play, he also likes to get close with the players allowing for good team chemistry to build.”
Harris and Morris also both commented on the lacrosse season so far. Harris mentioned that he thinks the team has gotten better of getting closer as a team as the season has gone on. Morris said, “It’s a growing process with how young our team is.”
By Colette Kearney