by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – Warren Shumate, a veteran men's lacrosse coach with a dozen years of experience at the collegiate and high school levels, has been hired by Barton College to develop and lead its new men's lacrosse program.
Shumate spent the past eight years as men's lacrosse head coach at Gordon College, an NCAA Division III program in Wenham, Mass. He previously coached at Wakefield School in The Plains, Va., three of those in a head coaching role.
"I am excited to announce Warren Shumate as the first coach in the history of Barton College men's lacrosse," said Todd Wilkinson, Barton's director of athletics. "Finding an established recruiter in the collegiate men's lacrosse community was the attribute carrying the most weight when conducting this search. Warren has built a network of recruiting resources necessary to cast the wide net needed to start a new program."
"I'm thankful to the president of Barton College, Dr. Douglas Searcy, and to the athletic director, Todd Wilkinson, for the chance to be the program's first head coach," Shumate said. "I'm humbled and honored by the opportunity. I'm really excited to be able to start a new Division II program and contribute towards its long-lasting success."
Shumate was a four-time all-conference player at Gordon who helped lead his team to the school's first NCAA tournament appearance in 2003. Following his final season in 2005, he was named Gordon's Senior Athlete of the Year.
After coaching at Wakefield School for four years, he returned to his alma mater as head coach in 2009 and promptly earned Commonwealth Coast Conference Coach of the Year honors after leading the Fighting Scots to an 8-2 league mark and third-place finish.
During his tenure at Gordon, Shumate coached two All-Americans, 21 all-conference players and one league offensive player of the year.
"Warren's recruiting plan is detailed, specific, and bold towards building the Barton program the right way," Wilkinson said. "He brings a proven record of accomplishment in recruiting high academic and high character student-athletes. Warren will carefully build a team that meets the departmental model of winning the 4C's – Campus, Community, Classroom and Competition."
In addition to guiding the Fighting Scots, Shumate was heavily involved in developing young players through FCA Lacrosse and through his own program, Origin Lacrosse.
"Coach Shumate's experience as a clinician, camp director, and player development coach will be a valuable asset to grow the game of lacrosse in the Wilson community," Wilkinson said. "Warren will be a valuable member of our athletics department team, and our first men's lacrosse program is in great hands under his leadership."
Barton will not begin play until the 2018-19 season, so Shumate will have a year to begin building the program.
"The first step will be recruiting a large class of highly motivated student-athletes," Shumate said. "My job will be to familiarize myself with the other successful coaches in the department, find out what a successful Barton College lacrosse player is going to look like, and go national on finding the right student-athletes.
"It's humbling to be in the same conference with the national champions. I know it's going to be a challenge, but there are other models of teams out there where they had one or two recruiting classes and have been able to really compete. Monmouth College, for example, won their conference tournament within the first four years. That might be ambitious and that's not the expectation, but it sure would be nice to get this thing off the ground as quickly as possible."
When the Bulldogs do hit the field as Barton's 22nd intercollegiate sport, they will bring an entirely different sports experience to campus from anything fans have seen, even from women's lacrosse which began this past year.
"It's a combination of the physicality of football, the speed of soccer and some of the x's and o's of basketball," Shumate said. "It's an exciting game. I've watched it take over people's lives after they became hooked watching it."
Shumate will be joined in Wilson by his wife, Lindsay, and a daughter, Finley. The Shumates are also expecting twins in the fall.