Michigan’s A.D. Warde Manuel made a move today to rejuvenate the struggling lacrosse team, letting John Paul and Jennifer Ulehla go from their respective programs.
Coach John Paul had guided the Wolverines from being a club program to a Division-I school in the very competitive Big Ten Conference, but his sterling club record didn’t carry over in six seasons as a Division-I head coach. The 2017 season started promising with an 8-1 record, reaching #19 in the polls, but the team slid to an 0-5 finish during conference play. Paul’s career record at Michigan was 23-61 (2-24).
Peter Putzel, former editor here at Maize n Brew, had this to say:
I love that John Paul took Michigan lacrosse to the next level, but this move is a little overdue if you ask me.— Wilhelm Scream (@PeterPutzel) May 2, 2017
Coach Jennifer Ulehla, meanwhile, was brought on four years ago as the first head coach in Michigan women’s lacrosse history. She also struggled, posting a 20-49 (1-21) record in that time. Her team lost the last eight games of the season this year.
It’s not a coincidence that Michigan lacrosse will be moving into some new facilities soon, which could tempt some promising candidates to turn Michigan into a more competitive power. The South Competition and Performance Complex will be completed in 2018, with a dedicated lacrosse facility fitting 2,000 spectators.
This also has the potential to clean up what’s been without a doubt the two worst-performing programs in Michigan athletics. Men’s soccer and men’s gymnastics have struggled lately, but not nearly to the level that men’s and women’s lacrosse have done.
Meanwhile, the football, men’s and women’s basketball, softball, baseball, women’s gymnastics, women’s and men’s swim and dive, women’s track and field, women’s and men’s tennis, women’s cross country, rowing, water polo and volleyball teams are all doing very well - while the men’s track and field, men’s and women’s golf, men’s cross country, and wrestling teams are doing decently. Wrestling has been held back by various injuries this season, but had a phenomenal season a year ago.