Schwartz: A Dream Come True For NLL New York Executive

When Lance Basler was an undergraduate student at the University of Washington working his way towards a B.A. In Business Administration, he had a dream to be able to work in professional sports operations in a General Manager type position. He would begin his career in 2011 and most recently as the General Manager of the National Teams for US Lacrosse.

Earlier this week, Basler’s ultimate dream became reality when he was named the Assistant General Manager and Director of Lacrosse Operations for the National Lacrosse League’s New York expansion team that will be play at NYCB Live, Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum for the 2019-20 season. Basler is the first hire for General Manager and Head Coach Regy Thorpe who he was already worked with the last two years for Team USA.

“I’m very excited for the opportunity,” said Basler who earned an M.B.A. in Sports Business Management from San Diego State University. “To be able to work with Regy and work with a brand new franchise that still has a history and tradition and culture of lacrosse around it but getting to put my fingerprint and stamp on this new franchise is just an unbelievable opportunity.”

Before joining US Lacrosse, Basler was the Director of Football Operations for Louisiana Tech University and the Director of Player Personnel for the football program at Middle Tennessee State University. Then he joined US Lacrosse where he was part of three World Championship teams…the under 19 Men’s National Team in 2016, the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2017, and the Men’s National Team in 2018.

And now, Basler is going pro!

While it would be a great thrill to realize your dream by joining an existing professional sports franchise and help play a role in their success, Basler now has an opportunity to be involved with a brand new franchise. He will assist Thorpe with building the roster, contract negotiations, trades and signings while also overseeing all lacrosse operations for the new team as well as development and management of the team’s grassroots initiatives.

Like an artist with a blank canvas, Basler, along with Thorpe and ownership, will hire a staff and build this franchise the way they want to from the very beginning.

“It’s incredible to have that opportunity,” said Basler. “It’s almost like a dream because you have that clean slate to build it, show what you can do, and really get an opportunity with incredible backing from Gary (Fuhrman), Erik (Baker), and Tyler (Brenneman) at GF Sports to have that trust and through those conversations and interviews to be able to show that you’re someone that they’re going to rely on to help build this franchise and bring box lacrosse back to Long Island.”

There’s no question that Long Island is a hotbed for lacrosse and the sports popularity has spread in recent years throughout the New York/New Jersey area. Long Island also has a prior storied history of box lacrosse as the Long Island Tomahawks, New York Saints, and New York Titans all called Nassau Coliseum home with the Saints enjoying the longest run and the most success.

You can go down any street in just about any community on Long Island and you’ll see kids in front of their homes playing lacrosse and may of those children are playing for various youth leagues and schools across Nassau and Suffolk Counties. There’s also been an explosion of the sport in other communities like New York City, Westchester, and New Jersey so the new franchise will have an opportunity to have a strong fan base right from the start.

The team also plans to play a big role in the community and Basler is going to be a big part of that.

“Without a doubt about the long history that lacrosse has there with families and kids playing everywhere,” said Basler. “That’s a really important mission for us to come onto the community and kind of encapsulating that spirit of lacrosse on Long Island and New York and how we can give back to the community and not just bring a team there to try and compete in the NLL.”

While Basler, Thorpe and ownership continues to build the infrastructure of the franchise with staff and preparations for the expansion draft, collegiate draft and free agency, there is one bit of important business to take care off in a couple of weeks and that is announcing the name, logo, and colors of the new NLL New York franchise. That announcement will come on Sunday February 17th at the Nassau Coliseum during the final day of the New York Open Tennis Tournament, also owned and operated by GF Sports.

There is already a buzz about the new team on Long Island but on that day, the team will finally have an identity.

“I think it’s going to be great building some excitement around the New York Open,” said Basler. “The team polled the fans to get their opinion and we’re just really excited to share that with them and establish an exciting new era of lacrosse in New York.”

Lance Basler has already achieved a tremendous amount of success in the sport as a result of his work with US Lacrosse and Team USA, but now he has realized his dream of being part of a professional sports franchise with an important role in NLL New York’s organization. He’s going to be a big part of putting together the expansion team on the field and making sure that the franchise develops a strong connection and partnership with the community.

About the Author

Peter Schwartz

Peter Schwartz is a contributor covering the Islanders for NY Sports Day while also writing about general sports in the New York/New Jersey area. In addition to his column, Peter also hosts his “Schwartz On Sports” podcast as he interviews players, coaches, and other sports personalities. He is also currently a sports anchor for WFAN Radio, CBS Sports Radio, and WCBS 880 radio while also serving as the public address announcer for the New York Cosmos soccer club.

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