Jack Mangelsdorf in Action!

Thirty-seven years ago, a local coach commandeered a middle school P.E. class to show a 35mm film explaining the rules and skills of a strange game.

Students at Earl Warren Middle School watched as the teams ran across the screen dressed like football players, carrying funny sticks with nets at the end.

Before viewing the 10-minute promotional flick, titled “This is Lacrosse”, most of the students had never heard of the game.

Today, the movie and the coach, Jack Mangelsdorf, are etched in lore as initiating the birth of  lacrosse in San Diego.

The Iowa native, who played lacrosse at the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, estimates he’s coached hundreds of players over the years.

One sign of the passing time, Jack Mangelsdorf said, is the fact the film he showed on a projector long ago is likely available on DVD now, or worse, in a museum.

“Some kids think I’m ancient history’, the Encinitas resident said. Earl Warren eighth-grader at the time Eric Myers said he likes Mangelsdorf’s old-school approach to lacrosse. Myers, a middie for the Dukes of Earl, said his coach focuses on stick skills and a lot of running.”

“At the end of practice”, Myers said, ‘Jack asks, “What are the three things we need to win?’ Ground balls, defense and heart’.” Eric follows his older brother, Jake, who also played for the Dukes, went on to star at Torrey Pines and played in the 2009 NCAA Championship game for Cornell. (http://www.laxplus.com/blog/jake-myers-leads-cornell-to-2009-ncaa-finals/)

A mother of four boys who have played lacrosse, Sandy Nolan said she’s seen her share of coaches, and Jack Mangelsdorf is the one who stands out as having the boys’ best interests at heart. Her youngest, Devin, is in the eighth grade at Earl Warren and plays with the Dukes of Earl. “Underneath that gruff exterior”, Nolan said, “he’s all about the kids, not about winning”.

Jack Mangelsdorf is most credited for his contributions at the youth level through the San Diego County Lacrosse Association. But he also serviced the region’s growth in the sport by opening the county’s first lacrosse store in 1978.

His store, Lacrosse Plus, operating for more than 30 years, is located on Encinitas Boulevard.

In the early 1970s, Jack Mangelsdorf came to San Diego to attend UCSD. He started a university club team- because he loved lacrosse and there wasn’t a team at all in the region. This began his 32-year run with the San Diego Lacrosse Club, which competes in the Southern California Lacrosse Association.

In 2003, Jack Mangelsdorf was named Man of the Year for the county’s lacrosse community.

In 2006, Jack Mangelsdorf was one of six individuals in the inaugural class inducted to the San Diego Chapter of the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame. He also played with USA Eagles Grandmasters and SuperGrandmasters at World Games in Canada.

Jack is still an active player and participant in the annual grand masters tournaments .

Jack Mangelsdorf’s Notable Timeline in his Lacrosse History:

1966 Hotchkiss school in Connecticut started the sport of Lacrosse (lax).
1967 Jack started playing lax at Hotchkiss.
1969 Jack played on the first Hotchkiss winning season team. (11-3).
1972-73 Played for Valley LC in LA.
1974 Started club team and lax in SD. San Dieguito LC
1976 Started coaching and M.S. team @ Oak Crest in Encinitas.
1978 Started Lacrosse Plus.
1978 Started SDCLA (San Diego County Lacrosse Association)
1979 SDCLA President, Vice-President, Secretary and Man-of-the Year at various times. Assistant coached San Dieguito HS. San Dieguito Lacrosse won California Lax Association championship.
1980 Started coaching Patrick Henry HS.
1980′s Started US Lacrosse Foundation, San Diego Chapter during the ’80s
1985 Started coaching Earl Warren MS (->2008). Played in first Masters Game at Vail Lax Shootout.
1986 Started coaching Torrey Pines HS (->1994). Took SoCal Masters team to Vail Lax Shootout.
1991 San Dieguito Lax Won California Lax Association championship, California State championship, Western State Tournament. Irvine Tournament & went undefeated that year.
1992-93 San Dieguito LC. Won California Lax Association championship.
1994 Played for South England Masters at World Games in Manchester, England. Scored goal in Masters All-Star game.
1995-2007 Played for Beachcomber LC in men’s club league (CLA); Won 4 more California Lax Association championships.
1998 Started playing with USA Eagles Grandmasters at World Games in Baltimore. Scored goal against England.
2000 Started Winter Clinic: boys and girls.
2002 Played with USA Eagles Grandmasters at World Game s in Australia.
2006 Inducted into US Lacrosse, San Diego Chapter Hall of Fame inaugural class. Played with USA Eagles Grandmasters and Super Grandmasters at World Games in Canada.
2010 Helped coach PeeWees at Rancho Penasquitos. Played with USA Patriots Super Grandmasters at World Games in Manchester England.
2011 Started and coached TNT PeeWee team for 1st through 4th graders in Encinitas-Carslbad area.