MLAX alum spends summer after graduation playing pro lacrosse

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Noah Richard (55) runs in Marquette's 15-9 win against Bellarmine Feb. 9, 2019. (Marquette Wire stock photo.)

For most college graduates, the months just before and after graduation are filled with a stressful job hunt and uncertainty about the future.

But for Marquette men’s lacrosse alum Noah Richard, there were more than enough job opportunities after he left Marquette last year. 

Richard’s post-graduation summer was far different from any of his classmates, playing in a brand new professional sports league: the Premier Lacrosse League.

“It was an unbelievably fun season,” Richard said. “It was also a really good learning experience for me, just understanding what pro lacrosse is like, what it takes. … I loved every second of it.”

In spring 2019, Richard was selected 14th overall in the 2019 PLL Collegiate Draft by Atlas Lacrosse Club and spent the following summer as a long-stick midfielder for the squad.

Richard got to play alongside some of the best talent in the world, including Atlas teammates Tucker Durkin, Kyle Hartzell and Paul Rabil.

“You see their faces in magazines and on TV,” Richard said. “But you just realize that they’re just good guys, good teammates. They made it unreal, not just playing, but hanging with the guys.”

As a defender and long-stick midfielder, Richard said he routinely went up against the world’s best attackers and offensive midfielders every week, relishing the opportunity to play against top talents.

“The competition is really high,” Richard said. “I love looking forward to that and looking forward to a matchup, especially a big name guy that I’ve been looking at my whole life, whether that’s going against Tom Schreiber or Myles Jones. You idolize them, and next thing you know, you’re going up against them.”

Richard played with some familiar faces on Atlas, including players like Duke graduate Cade Van Raaphorst and Denver alum Trevor Baptiste who he played against at Marquette, as well as former MU volunteer assistant Ryan Brown.

But Richard had an opportunity that very few others did to play with family. Noah’s older brother Jake, an MU alum and defensive coordinator for Marquette men’s lacrosse, played short-stick defensive midfielder for Atlas.

“This was really the first time ever (we’ve played together),” Jake Richard said. “To be able to play with him, I continued to remind myself how special and what a privilege it was. I didn’t want to take a second for granted, and I don’t think we did.”

Jake’s favorite moment from the summer came courtesy of his younger brother.

“My brother’s first goal was my favorite memory,” Jake said. “He received the pass from Paul Rabil, who is the founder of the league (and) buried it without hesitation. … When I saw it, I was so proud of him. I was down on the other end of the field, and typically, a goal goes in, I say, ‘Oh, whatever’ and go over to the sideline. But no, I sprinted down to him, gave him a big hug.”

After his whirlwind of a summer, Noah returned to Milwaukee to finish his teaching certification, serving as a student-teacher at Wauwatosa West High School for the semester. 

After wrapping up his teaching degree, the West Chester, Pennsylvania, native will move to the West Coast for a few months.

“I’ll be going out to San Diego with Colin Strange, a teammate last year,” Noah said. “I’m going to be coaching a lot of lacrosse out there with a couple of club teams, a high school, and just train and get ready for the summer. I’ve got some time, so I figured, why not go to San Diego?”

Noah will spend this summer with a different lacrosse club. While Jake was one of 10 players Atlas protected from being picked up by another team, Noah was entered into the pool of players in an expansion draft and was ultimately selected by the newest team in the league, the Waterdogs.

“I’m super excited for this summer,” Noah said. “I’m just very grateful for another opportunity to play, but the guys on the team are excited to form a new identity, a new team and (to) be the underdogs for a little while.”

This article was written by Dan Avington. He can be reached at daniel.avington@marquette.edu or on Twitter @danavington.