Coach Don (Preston) has been playing lacrosse since 1994 when he was introduced to the game by Mason Goodhand at Alta High School in Sandy, Utah (Go Hawks!). You could say that it was a pivotal moment in the young man’s life as that day would forever change the course he would take through the following years. After finishing second in state on what was undoubtedly an underdog team, Don went on to the University of Utah where he was a founding member of the Utes Lacrosse Club.
It wasn’t long after however that the PNW came calling, and he made his way to Seattle to begin a 17 year career at Microsoft. During this time, he joined up with the College Inn Pub team of the PNLA “B” league, which would later become Coopers Lacrosse Club. But the itch to do more was strong, and when the opportunity came up to move his entire life and family overseas, he took it.
Arriving in Dublin, Ireland in 2004 Don found no lacrosse to be had. It wasn’t until he ran into a fellow ‘softie from Seattle (a Crease Monkey’s man) that he found his crowd. He quickly joined up with the fledgling Dublin Lacrosse Club, run by a small group of very passionate U.S., Canadian and Irish lads. Don threw himself completely into helping the club and the Irish Lacrosse foundation grow the game across the Emerald Isle.
Don spent four wonderful years working in Ireland, and during that time he helped coach University students, played on the Dublin Riggers box lacrosse team, Dublin Lacrosse Club, and had the extreme honor of representing Ireland at the 2007 World Indoor Lacrosse Championships.
Unfortunately it wasn’t all rainbows and roses for him. After numerous neck injuries, he was diagnosed with severe spinal compression of 4 upper vertebrae, nearly putting him in a wheelchair and forcing him to reconsider where life would take him and what it would mean for the sport he loved. He retired from lacrosse and spent his time in intense physical therapy in an attempt to recover from the injury. After nearly a year of dedication, he came back to lacrosse, but this time moved into the Goalie position.
Goalie was a complete change for the speeding midfielder. Having been able to rely on his quickness and strength, he now had to learn an entirely new set of skills and positional subtleties. It quickly became clear however that goaltending was his true calling. How could he have missed out on playing this position for so many years?! It was just the spark he needed to get his mind and body back on track. The hard work and dedication to learning payed off when he was selected for the 2008 Irish National Field Team. Unfortunately, it was time to return to the states, and he was not able to attend the games.
Fast forward a few years and Don is back in Seattle, now a single father with two kiddos to care for. He played some club ball after returning, but his primary focus is his children. After a few years helping with youth coaching in Bellevue and Mag-U, he hung up his coaches whistle. During this time, he explored other ways to challenge himself, first with triathlons and trail running, then with OCR (Spartan, Tough Mudder) races, exploring ultramarathons and eventually competing in extreme adventure races such as the Peak Death Race. He also became a part-time certified Personal Trainer and Spartan SGX coach.
In 2015 the Ballard Lacrosse program reached out to Don and after much discussion, he joined the team as Head Coach. In 2016 the team went 2-7-1, but that didn’t tell the whole story. Every week, as the team grew closer together, the points spreads did the same. By the end of 2016, an entirely new team had been forged. During the off-season, Coach Preston worked on a massive overhaul of the BHS program. He also completed his US Lacrosse Level 3 certification and NFHS CIC & AIC certifications. This hard work paid off as the Beavers went 17-2 (14-0 in division) and made it to the second round of the state playoffs (losing to eventual winner Bellevue) for the first time in five years.
Following on from the great season at Ballard, Coach Preston returned to Team Ireland, this time as an assistant coach. He is currently focused on the team selection process and program development in preparation for the FIL World Championships in Tel-Aviv, Israel in 2018.