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The Daily Tar Heel

Former UNC lacrosse players excel in professional leagues

Former UNC lacrosse attackman Chris Gray during a game at Kenan Stadium on April 25, 2021. Gray graduated in 2022 and now plays in the Premier Lacrosse League for Atlas.

With the North Carolina men’s lacrosse team serving as a launching pad, several former Tar Heels have made an impact in professional lacrosse leagues. Whether through numerous accolades or high point-scoring totals, Marcus Holman, Chris Cloutier and Chris Gray, in particular, are performing exceptionally well on their respective teams this season.

Here's a look at their careers at UNC and beyond:

Marcus Holman

After earning ACC Freshman of the Year in 2010, Holman continued to dominate the conference until his graduation in 2013. During his final season in Carolina Blue, Holman led the team in both goals and assists.

Holman was drafted twelfth overall by the Ohio Machine of Major League Lacrosse in 2013 and quickly became one of the most valuable assets to the team. Scoring a total of 448 points over 11 seasons, Holman achieved All-Star status nine times, and he went on to earn one championship with the Machine in 2017. 

After the 2018 season, Holman moved his talents to the Archers Lacrosse Club in the Premier Lacrosse League. The PLL later merged with Major League Lacrosse in 2020.

With the Archers, Holman tallied 92 points and three of his All-Star appearances. He is currently a key player for the Cannons Lacrosse Club. In his most recent game against the Redwoods, he scored four goals on 57 percent shooting. He will be instrumental as the second-place Cannons hope to finish out the season on a high note and make a deep run during the September postseason.

Chris Cloutier 

Cloutier’s four years with the Tar Heels were historic. As a sophomore, Cloutier earned Most Outstanding Player of the 2016 NCAA Tournament after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime during the national championship game.

His next two years at UNC proved to be stellar. He won Most Valuable Player of the 2017 ACC Tournament and returned the next year to lead the team with 31 goals.

Cloutier was selected 29th overall by the Denver Outlaws in the 2018 Major League Lacrosse draft. He was named MLL Rookie of the Year and promoted to All-Star status despite playing in only six games because of a knee injury. The Outlaws would go on to win the MLL Championship that season.

Now playing for the Chaos Lacrosse Club in the PLL, Cloutier continues to light up the scoreboard. So far this season, he has tallied eight goals and one assist. Chaos is 4-5 so far this season and has clinched a playoff berth, and Cloutier could prove vital for their success in the postseason. 

Chris Gray

Gray’s impact was immediate after transferring to North Carolina from Boston University with three years of eligibility remaining. He earned ACC Offensive Player of the Week twice during his first season at UNC, which was cut short because of COVID-19. 

The next year, he shattered UNC’s record for points scored in a single season with 91. Gray defined his legacy after being named ACC Offensive Player of the Year twice in 2021 and 2022 after leading UNC in goals during both seasons. 

Following these standout years with UNC, Gray continued to thrive after he was drafted second overall by the PLL's Atlas Lacrosse Club in 2022. Gray finished his rookie season with 16 goals and 34 points overall, achieving All-Star status.

Gray has tallied 36 points during the 2023 season, leading a struggling Atlas team that is currently near the bottom of the league standings. Since seven of the eight PLL teams reach the postseason, Atlas still has a chance to make a run in September. If that were to happen, count on Gray to be a large part of it.


@dthsports |

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