University of Dubuque assistant football coach Jake Olsen has been spending a lot of time watching Lacrosse this spring. The Spartan’s offensive coordinator was named the head coach of the school’s new men’s lacrosse program which will be the first NCAA lacrosse program in the state of Iowa.

The Osage native and former Wartburg College athlete says he first became exposed to the sport while serving as an assistant football coach at Southern Oregon University. “I’ve been on the road quite a bit going to different high schools and watching games and watching tournaments, trying to soak in any information that I can,” Olsen says.

Olsen says there are a few areas in the midwest to recruit from. Lacrosse is not a sanctioned high school sport in Iowa but Olsen says Valley high school in West Des Moines has a club team that competes in a league in Omaha. He says there are teams in the Minnesota Twin Cities, and then through Wisconsin and into Chicago, and those are the areas he will start off recruiting.

Lacrosse is extremely popular out east and Olsen says the administration felt it would be a good fit for the University of Dubuque. Olsen says they wanted to make the athletic department a little different and he says it’s a sport that is slowly moving across the midwest.

Olsen says practice will begin this fall. They will play a club schedule next spring before beginning varsity competition in 2014. He says people typically think a club doesn’t do the same things as other sports, but he says they will be run the same way as other sports when it comes to eligibility and standards.

Olsen says he will enjoy the challenge of coaching two different sports at Dubuque.