5 Questions with: Bill Pilat, RC lacrosse coach & camp entrepreneur

by rcnewsblog on June 13, 2013

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Bill Pilat, Roanoke College’s men’s lacrosse coach, is considered a legend.

He began his coaching career with the Maroons in 1989, and he has led the team to 251 wins, making him the winningest coach in Roanoke lacrosse history. While a student at Roanoke, Pilat ‘85 was named two-time ODAC player of the year, a three-time All American goalie and the 1985 NCAA Goalie of the Year.

Pilat continues to make great strides in the lacrosse community with his business, Bill Pilat Lacrosse Camps Inc. He founded it in 1990 to help young athletes improve their skills.

Pilat runs camps throughout the country during the summer and in December and January. He specializes each session for specific lacrosse position work, spotlighting offensive and defensive players and goalies. From June 15 to June 19, Pilat will hold a goalie clinic at Roanoke.

Visit his website for the camp schedule and more information.

We recently spoke with Pilat about his lacrosse camp business and his work at Roanoke.

RC News Blog: What motivated you to offer these lacrosse camps?

Bill Pilat: I went to a lot of camps when I was younger, and I liked it and had a good time, so I wanted to do it to teach kids lacrosse. They go into the summer and want to get their skills better. It’s kind of grown bigger and bigger.

My first camp at Roanoke College had 35 boys in attendance, and now I bring over 400 campers each year to our camps. The first goalie camp I had was here at Roanoke College 15 years ago, and we had 55 campers.

Now I have two sessions at Roanoke, one session in New York, one in Ohio and a winter break camp in Florida. Coach Mary Schwartz [women's lacrosse coach] and I have teamed up and have a goalie camp for girls here at Roanoke with 75 in attendance. I work with over 500 goalies over the course of the year.

RC News Blog:  How do you choose the location for your camps?

Bill Pilat: It’s based on geography. I have one in New York, one in Ohio and one in Virginia, so it’s kind of South, North and Midwest. There could be additional locations coming up in the next couple years because lacrosse has really spread to the far West, like in Texas. They want me to do them there and California, Seattle, Washington, Utah, Arizona, so it could spread even farther West. But it’s mostly just to help the athletes in the [East Coast] region so that they can come and learn and have some good coaching

RC News Blog: Do these camps help in recruiting players for the Roanoke team?

Bill Pilat: Absolutely. We have a bunch of guys on the team now who have been to the camps or heard about the camps. A lot of times they’re a recruit, and they say “Oh, I’ve heard of Roanoke and Coach Pilat from the camps” or “I know a friend that went to one of the camps,” so it’s a great help in recruiting. Many of these campers go on to attend and graduate from Roanoke College.

RC News Blog:  What do you look for in an athlete in the recruiting process?

Bill Pilat: First, we want someone who is a good person, like a good citizen, someone who volunteers and is involved in other activities, not been in trouble, things of that nature. Also they have to be a really good student, because you’ve got to come here and do the schoolwork. But then athletically, we look for speed. Speed is our number one thing.

RC News Blog: Describe your transition from being an athlete here at Roanoke to being a coach?

Bill Pilat: I just tried to do some of the things my coach did, which were some of the things his coach did and I’ve been adding things to it. We have a lot of great traditions here that I always want to carry forward from the guys that started the team in the early 70’s to when I played in the 80’s and now the 90’s and 2000’s and just keep moving forward.

-By Kaci Frick ’15

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