We all know the faces of our favourite team; but what about those who help mesh it all together? That’s right, the coaches. Coaches are often the people that turn a good program into a great one. The Riptide know that Dan Ladoucer will be that guy for the 2021-22 season.
The Riptide were in search of a new head coach after the 2019 season. That is when they landed Ladoucer, who was previously the offensive coordinator for the Georgia Swarm. Dan is extremely familiar with the league as he was a member for eleven seasons; however, this will be his first time in the head coaching position.
Despite this being his first time being the head huncho, Ladouceur has had a long history with coaching. He always knew that once he was done playing, he wanted to continue as a coach.
“I was playing for Derek Keenan and he had a younger son who was playing minor with team Ontario and he asked me if I wanted to help,”Ladouceur said. “I really enjoyed my time working with Derek and those kids.”
He continued with Keenan and those boys up until junior, when he led them to a few minto cups. Ladouceur enjoyed seeing the game from a different perspective and as his success continued, more big names were noticing him in the coaching role. John Lovell then asked him to become a defensive coordinator for the Toronto Rock and he made the jump from junior lacrosse to the big leagues.
Not only is Ladouceur a phenomenal coach, he also is a staff sergeant in Durham with the police department. Those two careers feed off of each other and have helped Ladouceur really familiarize himself with a big leadership role.
“I’ve been lucky enough to be in charge of a tactical unit which is very high performing and full of a lot of type A personalities much like a lacrosse team,” Ladouceur said. “They’re all so driven with a ton of initiative. The discipline side of policing has really helped me as a coach to organize practices and figure out what my expectations are of the guys.”
Ladouceur has noticed many parallels between his two careers that have helped him get to where he is. Working with such high achievers has allowed him to better prepare to coach these athletes who are talented and also want to find success. He not only wants to help from the structural point of view, but he also wants to be able to work with them collaboratively to build the best possible culture.
“I want to be able to build relationships with these guys,” Ladouceur said. “It’s one thing for a coach to say there’s an open door, but to actually be available at all times of the day is so important. I want to have those relationships with the players where they can come to me with anything and just to be a listening ear.”
Ladouceur’s past has enabled him to have a tool chest of skills and tips to offer the Riptide as not only lacrosse players, but also as people. He knows that this team has had to rebuild, but that they are working to build a culture everyone can be excited about.
As he enters his first year as a head coach, there is a mix of fear and excitement. Ladouceur played professional lacrosse for a long time and those same feelings of walking into a training camp as a player came right back to walking in as a coach. Ladouceur has every skill needed to be a great coach and to take this program in a positive and successful direction.
“When you look at the roster and our front office you see a rebuild, but that creates an opportunity to build culture,” Ladouceur said. “I can help build a culture with my vision behind it and it only helps to have such great people around this organization.”
The Riptide have had two very successful draft selections during the off-season, and Ladouceur knows that despite building from the ground level this can be a great team. Ladouceur wants to build a culture that makes people want to come to the Riptide and support this organization.
“I know what it takes to win and I want to help people realize that,” Ladouceur said. “I have a road map to success this year and there are a lot of stops on the way. I want to help improve our record and statistics, but most importantly to build a culture. If we can give empowerment and power back to the players to build this culture it will allow them to set the standard of where we want to be.”
Ladouceur has worked his way from minor lacrosse to the NLL and we cannot wait to see him and the guys in action in just under three weeks. The coaching staff has worked hard to prepare these boys for the season, and we know it will work out in the end with Ladouceur’s leadership.