It may have taken a little while to learn his last name but it didn't take Coach Mark Miyashita long to turn the Canisius men's lacrosse squad into an NCAA Tournament team.
Coach Miyashita is a Buffalo man. He's a Canisius College alum and Hall of Fame (2013) inductee who played under his predecessor, coach Randy Mearns.
"He's been nothing but supportive of what we're trying to do here as we take over this program and he's been our biggest supporter since leaving," Miyashita said about Mearns. "It's definitely a challenge to take over for someone who had been here as long as he was."
Miyashita has been at the head coaching reins for a few months and it's going fairly well.
"His resume and his background just makes me grateful as a player to be coached by such an amazing Hall of Fame Canisius player like that," said senior midfielder Keith Pravato.
During his four years at Canisius College, Miyashita led the team in ground balls and face-offs percentage. He went on to become a first overall pick in the 2003 NLL entry draft and played five years in the league.
He knows what it takes to compete and has set the bar for his players on a daily basis.
"I really look at our roles as we're educators. That's what we do," said Miyashita. "So I think all of my life experiences helped shape me and hopefully I can pass on some of the lessons I learned to these guys."
Wednesday marks a whole new experience for Miyashita as he coaches in his first ever NCAA Tournament game.
The Griffs earned a spot in the play-in round and will look to keep their season alive by doing what they do best.
"We're playing bonus lacrosse and we're gonna take advantage of every moment we can," he said.
Canisius will host Robert Morris at 4 p.m. on Wednesday at the Demske Sports Complex.