By Chris Goldberg / Phillylacrosse.com
John Christmas, a legendary Philly lacrosse player also known for building grassroots programs, has been named head boys’ lacrosse coach at perennial Northern California power De La Salle.
Christmas replaces Robert O’Meara, who founded the De La Salle program as a club team in 2001 and guided the Spartans to a record of 222-79 while winning four North Coast Section Championships and eight title game appearances in 12 years.
“I am extremely excited to be part of a great academic and athletic high school,” said Christmas. “The culture here will truly help continue the tradition academic and athletic excellence. I am excited to build a competitive lacrosse program for years to come.”
“We want to thank Bob for his long service as coach and for building an excellent program,” said De La Salle Athletic Director Leo Lopoz in a press release. “We are blessed to move into the next Spartan lacrosse era with Coach Christmas. He has a wealth of lacrosse playing and coaching experience. His passion for the game and focus on developing student athletes both on and off the field of play will benefit our community in many ways.”
Brother Robert Wickman, Principal, added, “I look forward to the work Coach Christmas will do to continue building our lacrosse program. He comes highly recommended from a wide variety of people who know the quality of his commitment and the expertise he brings to lacrosse.”
Christmas had a decorated career at Lower Merion High where he was a three time All American. At the University of Virginia, he was a starter on the 2003 national championship team while earning two time all-ACC and All-American honors. He had 95 goals and 57 assists at UVA.
Christmas was selected by the Boston Cannons in the first round of the 2005 MLL Collegiate Draft. He won the MLL Most Improved Player honors in his second season in the league, and appeared in the 2006 MLL All-Star Game. Overall, he played six seasons in the MLL.
Christmas was selected by the Philadelphia Wings in the fifth round (49th overall) of the 2005 NLL Entry Draft. He played four years for the Wings, but took off the 2009 season to co-found the LEAPS program, a non-profit which has continued to help build lacrosse programs for inner-city boys and girls in the Southeastern PA region.
Christmas was named to Team USA in the 2007 World Indoor Lacrosse Championships. He finished out his professional career playing for LXM Pro for several years.
Christmas has a vast background coaching experience. He has tutored dozens of All Americans, was an assistant coach with the Dukes Lacrosse Club, and was an assistant at the NCAA Division I level at UPenn. Christmas moved to San Francisco five years ago and founded Encore Lacrosse, an apparel and training company that also runs lacrosse/service trips around the world. The most recent trip to Ecuador was recently highlighted here on Phillylacrosse.com.
“I am particularly taken with the ways in which he uses lacrosse as a means to build character and sportsmanship among the student-athletes he has developed,” Wickman said. “I welcome him to the De La Salle community. I thank Coach O’Meara for his many years of dedicated service to our boys.”