ATCHISON – Benedictine College Athletic Director Charlie Gartenmayer is pleased to announce the hiring of Mark Blaise to lead the Raven Men's Lacrosse program.
"We are excited to welcome Mark back home," Gartenmayer said. "We believe his shared values with the Raven Athletic Department will allow him to continue to grow our men's lacrosse program and we are looking forward to what he will bring to his new position on campus."
Blaise, a 2013 graduate of Benedictine, was a co-founder of the club lacrosse program while an undergraduate. After his graduation, he moved to Rockhurst University where he served as an assistant coach while pursuing his Master's in Secondary Education.
"For me, one of the most attractive parts of this job is the opportunity to work in such a supportive, community-based environment," Blaise said. "Benedictine has always been like a second home to me, and I am excited to make it my home once again."
Most recently Blaise served as the head coach for the boys lacrosse team at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park where he also served as a Social Studies teacher.
"I feel that it will be easy for me to genuinely promote Benedictine to potential new students, because I understand first-hand what makes Benedictine so great," Blaise said. "I myself am a product of the faith-filled, academic, community environment that Benedictine offers, and so I am excited to extend the invitation to many new young people as well."
One of the common themes over recent years at Benedictine has been the phrase, "Forward, Always Forward, Everywhere Forward." For Blaise that phrase is something that has stuck with him from his time at Benedictine and is something that will help him lay the ground work to continue to build Raven Men's Lacrosse into a nationally-known program.
"I never settle," Blaise said. "'Forward, Always Forward, Everywhere Forward' has been a motto of mine ever since my time at Benedictine. I truly believe that Benedictine could be the top-tier lacrosse program in the NAIA, as well as be a leader in the expansion of the lacrosse community throughout the Midwest."
Blaise takes over a men's lacrosse program that is entering it's third year as a varsity sport at the NAIA level. In their previous two years, the program posted an overall record of 10-15. As an associate member of the Kansas Collegiate Conference, the Ravens are coming off their first postseason berth as they earned the No. 4 seed in the 2017 KCAC Men's Lacrosse Championship where they eventually fell to top-ranked, and then-ranked NAIA No. 1 Missouri Valley College.
Blaise's tenure as the second coach in Benedictine men's lacrosse history will officially get underway on July 1.
Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college nestled in the bluffs of the Missouri River in Atchison, Kan., Raven Athletics competes in the NAIA as a member of the Heart of America Athletic College.