As the eighth coach in the 104-year history of Navy lacrosse, Rick Sowell is beginning to understand the tradition associated with the Midshipmen.
First and foremost, Sowell knows many eyes will be trained to see how he mirrors and differs from his predecessor Richie Meade, who compiled a 142-97 record at Navy, captured five Patriot League regular-season and tournament titles in six years, and qualified for the NCAA tournament seven times, including advancing to the championship final in 2004.
"It's not going to be easy," Sowell conceded Thursday afternoon. "Coach Meade is certainly an outstanding coach, but an even better person. I've enjoyed being in his company, and he left quite a legacy at Navy. So I'm walking in with some big shoes to fill. I do feel that I have some things to offer to Navy, and I do feel that we're a good fit for each other. So I'm looking forward to the challenge. I understand what I'm getting myself into. I do think that Navy is bigger than any one person. Individuals have a tremendous impact wherever you are, but at Navy, it's all in. So I'll have a very good support network around me to help me get this done. It won't totally be on Rick Sowell. We're going to have our challenges – me adjusting to Navy and Navy adjusting to me. But ultimately, I think it's a good fit for the both of us."
Junior faceoff specialist Logan West empathized with Sowell.
"It's really hard to replace Coach Meade," West said. "He's such a great person and a great mentor and a great coach. He's been here for so long, and I know everybody at the academy respects him. Those shoes will be hard to fill, but if anybody can do it, it'll be Coach Sowell."