Big-time lacrosse coming to OCC

As coach of the Corona del Mar High boys' lacrosse program, G.W. Mix doesn't get to see his two sons play in college often.

He's too busy coaching, while Ryan Mix and Casey Mix are away competing. Ryan plays for the University of Notre Dame and Casey for UC Santa Barbara.

Mix's boys are coming home this week and he will get to see them play in person. Dad came up with a great idea: create a college lacrosse exhibition in Orange County and invite the teams his sons play on.

The event, which looks to promote lacrosse in California, took several years to pull off. The schedules worked out for all parties involved.

Mix won't have to travel too far to watch his kids perform on Saturday. The inaugural Pacific Coast Shootout is at Orange Coast College, starting with Notre Dame facing Denver at 1 p.m., and UC Santa Barbara going against Loyola Marymount at 3:30 p.m.

The doubleheader is not only a Mix family affair, but also a homecoming for a handful of other players with Orange County roots. The first game between two highly ranked programs in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Assn. Division I poll features Denver's Eric Adamson and Scott McGowan, who played high school lacrosse for Foothill and St. Margaret's, respectively.

The second contest showcases UC Santa Barbara (6-1) and Loyola Marymount (1-4), both are non-NCAA programs from the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Assn. Alex Mainthow, a former CdM player, competes for the Gauchos' club team, along with David Abady, who's from Huntington Beach. Loyola Marymount's Dustin Marinelli played at Servite, Jack McKay and Paul Naimo each at Mater Dei, and Brendan Cyprus at Huntington Beach.

"Hopefully this is the first of many," said Mix, the executive director of the one-day showcase. "We want to make this an annual event every spring. Lacrosse is big and a growing sport in California, on the West Coast.

"Who doesn't want to play lacrosse in 75-degree weather in Orange County in March?"

Notre Dame jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the first Pacific Coast Shootout.

Last summer, Notre Dame Coach Kevin Corrigan talked with Mix about bringing his team to Southern California. The two are friends, from their early coaching days. Mix used to coach at the University of Pennsylvania, from 1983-87 as an assistant, and then from 1991-94 as the head coach.

It also helps that Mix's son, Ryan, decided to go play for Corrigan after Ryan graduated from CdM in 2010.

"They had Denver on the first weekend of spring break and their inaugural [Atlantic Coast Conference] home opener at the end of the break against Virginia," Mix said of the Fighting Irish. "He did not want to play two big games in South Bend with no students on campus."

Mix expects a good crowd when No. 8 Notre Dame (2-1) and No. 12 Denver (3-2) face off. He said 4,000 tickets have been sold or distributed.

Capacity at LeBard Stadium is 7,600. Fans can purchase tickets on game day and ticket prices are $25.

Many local high school programs plan to attend the event, including Mix's CdM team. The Sea Kings reached the U.S. Lacrosse Southern Section South Division final last season.

The Sea Kings open the season at University on Wednesday. Before they do, Mix looks forward to seeing Ryan, a senior attacker, and Casey, a freshman attacker, play in their backyard. And he will get to as a proud father, not a coach.

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