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The Daily Tar Heel

Haus Brings UNC New Outlook

Thus, only a small crowd comprised mostly of parents huddled in the cold night at Henry Stadium to witness the home coaching debut of the new men's lacrosse coach, John Haus.

Haus, an All-American defender and member of two Tar Heel NCAA championship teams in the early 1980s, led his squad to a 10-9 victory against a team assembled of UNC alumni. But the game's result was secondary.

Far more important to Tar Heel boosters was the fresh start Haus' debut signals for a once-dominant program that has slowly gone downhill.

"We want to be successful here," Haus said. "We want to win national championships, and the kids who we recruit and the kids who will play for us will be in full understanding of that. And we're going to ask for commitment, not only on the field, but off the field and in everything they do to represent our program to the best that they can."

Haus, who spent the last two seasons as head coach of perennial power Johns Hopkins, was hired last June to replace Dave Klarmann, UNC's coach for the past 10 years.

UNC finished 7-5 last season, failing to gain a berth in the NCAA tournament for the third time in four years.

The Tar Heels went 26-29 during that time span, including 1-11 in ACC games. They haven't won an NCAA tourney game since 1993.

"The program has not been as successful the last couple years, and I think whenever you do some new things and you bring somebody new in, there's a feeling that things are going to get better," said UNC senior associate athletic director Willie Scroggs, Haus' former coach, who led the Tar Heels to three NCAA titles in the 1980s.

"John's a solid guy, he's an intense guy, he played here, he's one of our greatest players ever. So I think everyone feels really good about it, and that kind of builds on itself."

Haus finished 20-7 in his two seasons at Johns Hopkins, leading the Blue Jays to two straight NCAA Final Fours.

Before Johns Hopkins, he coached Division III Washington College in Maryland from 1994-98. He guided the Sea Gulls to the national title game in each of his last three years and won the championship in 1998.

Haus, who also served as defensive coordinator at Johns Hopkins from

1988-94, said one of the most difficult tasks he has faced with the Tar Heels so far is instilling a winning attitude in them.

"I think what's been the biggest challenge for me - and it's a challenge for these guys who play here right now - is we need to correct our attitude and the feelings we have as a team," Haus said.

"We need to feel like we are a good team and that we can win lacrosse games, and we've got to feel positive about that. And that's been the most important thing right now is to get these guys to believe that, yeah, we are good and we can win - however, it just takes an incredible amount of work."

Although Haus hasn't been on the job that long, it appears his words are already starting to have an effect.

In the Tar Heels' victory against the alumni team Friday night, they had to come back from behind late in the game.

"He always tells us that you've got to believe in yourselves, you've got to come together as a team," senior attackman Jeff Sonke said. "And I think he's showing that."

The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.

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