HOMEGROWN: Youth lacrosse coach sets standard for excellence

Phillip Brents

Thu April 6, 2017 10:13am

If you’re talking youth lacrosse in the San Diego South County, then Eastlake resident Keith Quigley’s name moves right to the top of the list. Quigley serves as head coach of the boys lacrosse program at Olympian High School. He also operates the LAX619 program as a division from his award-winning PUCKidz umbrella youth program.
Quigley, an East Coast native, has helped bring lacrosse to a new generation of West Coast kids. He said he is “extremely thrilled” about receiving a national urban outreach diversity grant program award from U.S. Lacrosse.  
The purpose for the grant is to support at-risk youth and urban youth through lacrosse and education programs designed to improve health, build character and strive for academic excellence. The grant is intended to serve and give special emphasis to those groups or communities that are most in need.
Quigley said the grant will allow his after-school programs to include more schools, especially those kids who are under-served and at-risk and urban youths. 
“I feel it is so important that we get more diversity in lacrosse,” Quigley said. “Lacrosse is a game for all and should be accessible and played by all no matter your background, ethnicity, etc. 
“With this grant I’ll be reaching out to more schools to run after-school lacrosse programs and clinics for free and/or at minimal cost.”
This is the third year Quigley has run an after-school lacrosse program at Feaster Charter School for children in the third through sixth grades. The fledgling program has more than 40 participants.
“The school is very supportive of this program and has even spent lots of money on purchasing lacrosse equipment for their students,” he said.
Quigley is currently running after-school lacrosse programs at Camarena Elementary and Arroyo Vista Charter School for children in third through sixth grades after previously running after-school programs at Marshall Elementary this year. There are 10 participants at Arroyo and 15 at Camarena.  
Throughout the year, Quigley also offers private lessons, small group lessons and camps/clinics.  
“Every month or so I schedule a lacrosse scrimmage between schools,” he said. “For example, the Camarena/Marshall kids have been over to Feaster School a few times now to play a fun scrimmage. I’ll continue to do this for the remainder of the school year.”  
Quigley continues to use high school and college volunteers to assist him with the programs. 
This is Quigley’s fifth season coaching boys lacrosse at Olympian High School. He founded the program there. The Eagles have made the playoffs in two of their four previous seasons. 
“Most of the players who try out for the team are new to the game of lacrosse,” Quigley explained. “Many of my Olympian players participate on my LAX619 club teams in the off-season. This really helps in the development of the players.”
Quigley has offered opportunities for players from other high schools in the South County region to participate in his club-based programs. There are LAX619 alumni at Olympian, Bonita Vista, San Diego High, Eastlake, Chula Vista, Montgomery, Hilltop, Southwest and Mar Vista high schools.  
Quigley’s high school-age club teams participate in summer leagues, winter leagues and indoor box lacrosse leagues in the fall. 
“Lots of kids who started with me in elementary school at my camps, clinics, etc., are now doing well on their high school teams,” he said.
The sport of lacrosse is growing locally and Quigley is helping lead the way.