Inside LAX Final Four: Midfielder Kyle McClancy Shares His Story

If you were there, you felt it too. The intense heat radiating off the turf at Gillette Stadium, the cheers of the crowd and the excitement that comes from being part of a first. It was the biggest game in the history of UAlbany men’s sports: the NCAA Division I semifinal. It was the first time that a UAlbany men’s team had made it to the D1 Final Four in any sport.

Number 40, “Middie” Kyle McClancy woke up early. He and his longtime friend and fellow business major, defender Troy Reh, ate breakfast together before the rest of the team was up. McClancy’s regular season routine rarely varied. He watched film of his opponent, taped his stick and reminded himself of his game plan. He stayed in the locker room, keeping his legs fresh, while teammates put on headphones, tuned out and played wall ball.

Semifinal game day at Gillette was different. Two hours before game time, McClancy and his teammates trouped from the hotel to the stadium, escorted by security, to be greeted by pumped UAlbany fans already in Foxboro. The team and their supporters were energized. The Danes had blown past Richmond and Denver to meet Yale in the semifinals. There was reason to be excited.

In 2011, McClancy was a high school kid cheering on the Thompson brothers when UAlbany played Stony Brook, close to his home in Bayport. Now, his team had gone further than even the Thompsons.

McClancy and his teammates tuned in their sticks and stretched, did their usual passing drills and team shoot around and sprinted to the locker room. They listened to Coach Marr’s motivational speech and this season’s playlist: The Black Keys’ “Gold on the Ceiling,” Wolfmother’s “Joker and the Thief,” a 1977 oldie, “Black Betty,” and some AC/DC, “Shoot to Thrill” or “Thunderstruck.” And finally “Alive” by Pearl Jam, always the last song. As always, the entire team sang along, “Yeah, yeah I, oh, I'm still alive, yeah.”

The Danes returned to the field, high-fiving the line of kids in UAlbany purple and gold shouting “Let’s Go Danes!” The smallest lacrosse fans are the biggest team motivators. The crowd was loud. It felt like home field advantage.

McClancy’s first college start, at the end of freshmen year, was big, the America East conference game. After that, he started every game. He plays two-way middie, handling the improbable task of switching between offense and defense. All midfielders run, but two-way middies run more as they are rarely subbed out.

The semifinal game started like any other, national anthem and anticipation of the ref’s starting whistle. The biggest game of their careers began. By the end of the first quarter, the Danes were behind, a situation that they rarely had to deal with. They rallied in the second but were not able to recover what they had lost in the first.

McClancy said, “It’s a dream come true, an experience none of us will ever forget, despite the outcome.” The quarterfinal win against Denver that got them there, was a bit better. In Hempstead, McClancy played for Long Island friends and family and as well as a large UAlbany contingent, who will seemingly travel anywhere to see the Danes. “One of the best games I have ever been a part of,” he said.

One week after his final college game, McClancy was playing pro, with the Atlanta Blaze. Playing Major League Lacrosse is a part-time job, but a dream job. The team flies him to games on weekends.

In his major league debut, McClancy lined up against his old friend and former teammate, Troy Reh, who had signed with the New York Lizards. The pair had played lacrosse since they were ten years old, and had lived together throughout college. Reh is the reason McClancy came to UAlbany. Now the two young men were competitors, wearing jerseys of opposing teams.

Before the game, McClancy listened to a familiar playlist, the Black Keys, Wolfmother and AC/DC. He listened to Pearl Jam last. Reh probably did too. “Yeah, yeah I, oh, I'm still alive, yeah.”


McClancy on the Final Four Experience

“The best part of that day was twofold. First, walking onto the field to the loud cheers of 30,000+ lacrosse fans, many of them wearing purple and gold and "high-fiving" the group of kids who were lined up at the entrance to the stadium supporting us. And second, just having another day with my teammates and coaches was special. Normally at that time of year I would be home watching the game on TV, but this year having the opportunity to spend that extra week with the team was an awesome experience. We have a special group of characters on the Albany lacrosse team, and there is never a dull moment around all of the guys, so it was a unique and exciting week, being that we had no other responsibilities outside of lacrosse to worry about since school had ended and most students had already gone home. So, we spent the week just hanging out, enjoying each other’s company, and playing a lot of lacrosse. The entire experience of Championship Weekend, being able to play in front of so many fans in Gillette Stadium, on the biggest stage that our sport has to offer, was a once in a lifetime opportunity that we will never forget.”


Kyle McClancy's Many Academic and Athletic Achievements

McClancy, a dual major in business (management and finance) and economics earned the top honor of America East Man of the Year and is a three-timer on the America East All-Academic Team, among many other accomplishments.

Academic career: 3.93 GPA
Lacrosse career stats:79 goals, 49 assists and 112 ground balls
Community service: enCourage Kids Foundation, JP’s Wide World of Sports, the Capital Region Miracle League Charity Challenge, and youth lacrosse teams and schools.

Awards

2018
SUNY Chancellor Scholar Athlete
America East Man of the Year
America East Presidential Scholar-Athlete
America East All-Conference First Team and Second Team All-America honors by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) and Inside Lacrosse
America East All-Academic Team (also 2016, 2017)

2017
USILA Scholar All-American and the America East Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year for men’s lacrosse
USILA and Inside Lacrosse Media Honorable Mention All-American
USILA Scholar All-American
America East Scholar-Athlete for Men's Lacrosse
America East All-Conference First Team and All-Tournament Team

2016
Inaugural recipient of the Daniel L. Barnes '07 Memorial Scholarship for academic excellence and good sportsmanship
America East All-Academic Team

2015
America East All-Rookie Team