The Texas Scholastic Lacrosse Association, Inc. (TSLA) is the governing body for the THSLL. The THSLL is the membership association for boys' lacrosse (THSLL Member School Programs) at the high school level in Texas, defined as grades nine through twelve.
The THSLL has 84 Member School Programs for the current season, 148 Varsity and JV teams and 2295 high school student athletes across the State of Texas. The THSLL provides the environment for a positive experience and motivation for success.
ZERO TOLERANCE for discrimination, abuse, and misconduct
The Texas High School Lacrosse League (THSLL) is committed to creating a safe and positive environment for all its THSLL Member School Programs’ participants’ physical, emotional, and social development and ensuring it promotes an environment free from discrimination, abuse, and misconduct. The THSLL has ZERO TOLERANCE for discrimination, abuse, and misconduct including, but not limited to, Sexual Abuse, Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Bullying, Threats, Harassment, and Hazing.
All THSLL Member School Programs participants should familiarize themselves with each and refrain from engaging in any form of discrimination, misconduct, or abuse. In the event that any THSLL Member Program participant observes inappropriate behaviors, suspected physical and/or sexual abuse, or any other type of abuse or misconduct, it is the personal responsibility of each such person to immediately report their observations to a THSLL Board Member as outlined on the THSLL.org website under Site Navigation/Board of Directors, and communicate immediately with a THSLL Board Member via the Contact Us tab.
In addition to reporting within THSLL, such persons should also report suspected THSLL Member School Program participant physical or sexual abuse to appropriate law enforcement authorities as required under applicable Texas law. THSLL Member School Program participants should not attempt to evaluate the credibility or validity of child physical or sexual abuse allegations as a condition for reporting to appropriate law enforcement authorities. Posted: January 29, 2015
THSLL Member Teams
Member Teams consist of Varsity and Junior Varsity Teams. The League is divided into Districts and Classes.
Division I is made up of Member School Programs that are more established lacrosse programs. DI teams have bylaws, procedures, a designated head coach and president, reasonable relations with their host school and/or city/community, and a JV and Varsity high school Teams which play a full back to back JV and Varsity schedule.
Division II is targeted at development of lacrosse programs. Division II Member School Programs generally have bylaws, procedures, a designated head coach and president, reasonable relations with their host school and/or city/community, and Varsity high school Teams.
Division III is a new team working towards critical mass of players, coaches, funding, fields, administrative support and school/city/community support. DIII Teams have a maxiumum of 2 years to transition to DI or DII.
History of Lacrosse in Texas
Lacrosse has always been a very compelling sport for those who have experienced its character and challenges. Many players’ attraction to this unique amateur sport becomes a life-long commitment. So it is common to hear tales of people who tried to introduce lacrosse in this part of the country, as far back as the 1930s and 1940s -- perhaps even earlier.
Regrettably, many of these efforts to play, teach and promote lacrosse fell by the wayside. That was usually because there was not enough interest, support, access to equipment, or nearby competition to keep the game developing.
Modern lacrosse -- the growth of which has been sustained to this day -- was officially introduced to the Lone Star State in 1971. The genesis of the sport’s evolution in Texas can be traced to a single, dynamic event: the now legendary Johns Hopkins vs. Navy game, which was played in Houston's Astrodome in April 1971.
Johns Hopkins University, one of the traditionally strongest lacrosse programs on the East Coast, had several alumni who had been drawn to the Bayou City's expansive boom of the 1960s. One such graduate, Ralph O'Connor (John's Hopkins '51), enlisted renowned heart surgeons Dr. Denton Cooley, Dr. Michael DeBakey and Dr. Jack Burgland along with Bob McMurrey, Jim Harrington, Dermot Riggs and several others to initiate this event. O'Connor approached the Eastern lacrosse establishment with his proposal to spark the development of lacrosse in the Southwest.
Future Hall of Fame Coaches Bob Scott of Hopkins and Navy's Willis Bilderback agreed to move their regular season NCAA game from the tidelands of Maryland to the Gulf of Coast of Texas. The Navy Midshipmen downed the Blue Jays 9-6 in the event. It was to be the last game on the Naval Academy's schedule before their qualification for the inaugural NCAA Men's Division I Lacrosse Tournament later that season.
Co-sponsored by the Texas Heart Association, the Hopkins/Navy game attracted over 18,000 fans -- an NCAA lacrosse regular season, single-game attendance record that stood until the late 1980s. Of course, only a token percentage of the parents and children who attended the charity event had any idea of what they were cheering about.
But a couple of fans did.
Two transplanted former East Coast players and enthusiasts had attended the Astrodome game: Bob Korba was an undergraduate at SMU, while Dave Gruber was attending graduate school at Texas A&M. After witnessing a small piece of lacrosse history, they made contact several days later. Within a few weeks, Korba's newly formed Dallas Lacrosse Club challenged Gruber and the students at Texas A&M to form a team and push for the creation of the sport in Texas. On a small section of the polo fields in College Station, a single crude goal was erected and lacrosse in Texas became a reality. After several scrimmages between Dallas and Texas A&M, the first full-field game was played in May 1972 at the St. Mark’s School in Dallas. Later that summer, Texas A&M traveled south to play the newly formed Houston Lacrosse Club.
In the late summer of 1972, the Texas Lacrosse League was formed among these three new teams. A year later, in the fall of 1973, the University of Texas and San Antonio lacrosse clubs were created.
The next season, a team from Tulane University (established in 1972) joined the league, and in December 1974 the organization was renamed the Southwest Lacrosse Association. Texas Tech, Baylor and LSU expanded the league to nine teams the following year. The league was starting to develop a substantial momentum.
Over the next decade, the SWLA sanctioned college and post-graduate club teams throughout Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. The cities of Houston, Dallas and Austin fielded multiple college and post-graduate clubs.
1987 was another pivotal year for the growth of lacrosse in Texas. Founded by Randy Bryan (a former Houston Club player) and Coach Matt Harder (who played at the University of Texas from 1974-76), the St. John's School of Houston fielded the first scholastic team in the Lone Star State.
The following year, Houston's Kinkaid School and Memorial High School initiated their own programs. By 1989, new high school teams were established in Austin (Westlake HS) and Dallas (Dallas Jesuit). The Texas High School Lacrosse League was established that year with Randy Bryan as the first Commissioner. The determination was made during the next season to rotate the location of the State Championship event from Houston to Austin to Dallas. And former players converted to coaches were driving the expansion of scholastic lacrosse statewide. By the time the first seniors from these teams graduated to the ranks of Texas colleges, the quality of collegiate competition was showing remarkable improvement.
Men's high school programs had grown to nine teams by 1990, when women's scholastic lacrosse began its growth in Texas. A St. John's graduate, who played women's collegiate lacrosse in Vermont, returned to Houston to introduce the sport to the young ladies of St. John's School. Bellaire High School also started a club team.
Actually, about fifteen years earlier in 1975, women's lacrosse was played at the University of Texas. Many former out-of-state players taught their UT classmates the game. But their competition with Texas A&M and Baylor was limited, and their opponents did not have the experience or depth to keep their own teams intact. So while the Longhorn women kept their club active for several more years, their competition failed to materialize. The University of Texas women re-established the collegiate game in the early 90's, and it finally caught on at the same time that women's high school programs were beginning to expand.
By 1993, Houston had added girls teams at Kinkaid, Episcopal and Lamar High School. Their early development, along with long-term growth among other girls teams, has continued to dominate their league's competition. During the mid-1990s, teams in Dallas (Plano, Richardson, Coppell and Greenhill) were established, as were Bowie and Austin in the Austin area, and the Loyola School in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Today, Texas is one of the largest developing areas of lacrosse in the country. And because the Lone Star State is so large, its potential growth exceeds nearly every other state playing lacrosse west of the Appalachians.
What was an East Coast sport in the 1940s and 1950s has now become a true national sport. And the role of Texas in the future of lacrosse's nationwide growth will continue to challenge, inspire and reward our athletes and supporters of all ages.