The team at Corrigan Sports Enterprises is probably having alphabet soup for lunch. How do we know? Partnerships with IWLCA
have the Maryland-based sports events group
on top of the acronym and events game. And while the letters may be hard to digest, you should know they represent coaching associations in women’s and men’s lacrosse (IWLCA and IMLCA) and field hockey (NFHCA). And, as anyone in high school athletics knows, where college coaches go, the top teams are sure to follow. That access allows Corrigan—which also collaborates with the NCAA during its men’s and women’s lacrosse championship weekend—to stand out in a crowded field of event operators. General Manager of Events Matt Cornell and Director of Women’s Athletics Morgan Cook discuss the secret of running A-plus events with Connect Sports.
What does Corrigan specialize in?
Cornell: We’ve done a little of everything. Our main focus is on running events in boys’ and girls’ lacrosse, and, most recently, field hockey. We just picked up two local triathlons in Columbia, Maryland, for the summer. Our biggest running event is the Baltimore
Marathon in October.
How do your backgrounds assist you in planning events?
Cook: Both of us have played our whole lives in Maryland and we both played collegiately. I’ve always somewhat had a job in the sport. Now, we administer tournaments. We see it from all sides: the participant side, the sponsor side and the coaching side.
Company President Lee Corrigan is well-known in the events community, but his whole family is a big deal, isn’t it?
Cornell: The Corrigan name is very strong in the lacrosse community. Kevin Corrigan is the head coach at Notre Dame. Gene Corrigan was director of the ACC and athletic director at Notre Dame. Lee’s father is in the lacrosse hall of fame and played at Navy. Lee’s cousin, Booker, works with us and is a radio personality and does games with ESPN.
Is there a new Corrigan event that stands out for 2017?
Cook: Previously, we had two different events in the West and Midwest. This year, we are combining those two and meeting in the middle outside of Chicago for the Midwestern Cup. It’s a new facility [Mercyhealth Sportscore Two] for us in Rockford, Illinois
. Hopefully, it will be bigger as one event from a recruiting standpoint. We’re hoping the event does well over 100 teams.
What do partnerships with coaches associations mean for your pitches to teams?
Cornell: Lacrosse and field hockey events are tied to recruiting. Whether we have an event in Denver or San Diego, we’re guaranteeing college coaches will be there. It gets pretty crazy; we sell out in three or four minutes with our national events. Our biggest one is the Capital Cup in Richmond
with about 400 teams.
With college coaches come big expectations. How do you manage that aspect for players and parents?
Cook: It’s very different from when I was playing. The expectations from parents in sports—in general, and not just lacrosse—about when to commit [to a college] are getting unrealistic. Education is a huge piece of it. The WCLA has gotten on board with recruiting videos with D1, D2 and D3 coaches answering questions for parents on each level. The landscape is constantly changing, and another benefit of having partnerships with college coaches associations is their members are recruiting every day. We are getting real-time information.
What’s the biggest challenge going forward for you?
Cook: Keeping up with the growth of sports. Our tournaments are selling out really fast. We could get six facilities just to get more teams in, but that is not really our style. It is an internal struggle, but we want to make sure we are putting on quality tournaments. If we used five or six facilities, the college coaches would be spread out and the parents would be annoyed.