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THE BUCKEYE


of the few that showed an interest in him out of high school. He had a good first year, scoring 53 goals with 22 assists on a team that went 13-4 and made the NCAA tournament. But the next season, the coach that recruited him, Don LaSala, left, the roster size shrunk to 20, the team lost in the conference final and Fannell played through a knee injury, albeit still notching 43 points. With decent grades, he decided to look elsewhere after the season, prepared to take on a bigger challenge and a change of scenery. Fannell credits his grandfather and grandmother, Christina, who works at a local butcher shop, with setting him on the right path.


“Even with the amount of money that I will make in my lifetime, I will never be able to repay them for saving me,” Fannell said.


Fannell looked to play at Canisius for 2014 Team Canada coach Randy Mearns, who grew up playing with Fannell’s father. That was until Myers, who has recruited many Canadians before, showed interest. Fannell gave the Ohio State coach a call after the general manager of his junior box lacrosse team suggested it.


“How much money do you have and when do I start?” Fannell asked. “Wait a second,” Myers said with a laugh. “Let’s start


over.”


Myers, a child of divorce with his own unconventional upbringing in Maine, identified with Fannell’s story and reported talent, but he also knew the risks, through testimonials from guys like former Denver coach and current 3d Lacrosse CEO Jamie Munro. His son, Colin, played on box teams with Fannell’s younger brother, Brad, for five years in St. Catharines.


“He was like John Grant Jr.,” Munro said of a 17-year- old Eric Fannell. “But he was also really immature. He was a nice kid and physically mature, but he was not even that interested in going to college at the time. ‘I don’t like school. I just like to party.’”


The little film Myers was able to gather of Fannell playing at Adrian did not impress him. In short, it looked like Fannell still didn’t want to be in college. Myers gave this project every chance to fail, while providing Fannell a preview of the type of structure and responsibilities he should expect at Ohio State. “There’s no way this kid is going to follow through. And if he doesn’t, then I move on,” Myers said. “But he kept doing the things I was asking him to do.” Myers kept testing Fannell. “Send me your transcripts.” He did.


“Call me at 2 p.m. on Thursday.” He did. “Start the application process, just in case.” He did.


“As a young man, he probably did make a few errors and probably turned some people off. But the young man I was


USlaxmagazine.com


Canadian Currency


Ohio State was in the vanguard of college lacrosse teams looking north of the border, luring players like Lewis Ratcliff — the No. 6 scorer in National Lacrosse League history — to Columbus as early as 2001.


Since then, the Buckeyes have benefitted from a steady stream of Canadian talent, including six players on their 2017 roster. Three of those players — faceoff man Jake Withers, midfielder Johnny Pearson and attackman Eric Fannell — earned Big Ten preseason honors. Freshman Tre Leclaire, meanwhile, has been billed as the next big NCAA star out of British Columbia.


2017 ROSTER


Jake Withers, Sr., FO * Austin Shanks, Sr., A Johnny Pearson, Sr., M * Tre Leclaire, Fr., A/M Jeff Henrick, Fr., D Eric Fannell, Sr., A * * Preseason Big Ten Honorees


COMING IN 2018


Justin Inacio, FO, No. 15 * Jackson Reid, M, No. 38 * * Rankings by Recruiting Rundown


PIPELINE


Reegan Comeault, M, 2015 Turner Evans, M, 2015 Jesse King, M, 2015 Logan Schuss, A, 2014 Brock Sorenson, M, 2013 Joel Dalgarno, A, 2009 Gary Bining, M, 2006 Jason Bloom, M, 2005 Curtis Smith, M, 2003 Lewis Ratcliff, M, 2001


March 2017 US LACROSSE MAGAZINE 35


©JOHN STROHSACKER (EF, JW, JI); ©OHIO STATE (JD)


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