By Michael Irish
PHOTO COURTESY CHRIS SMITH
Former UA lacrosse coach and current general manager Mickey-Miles Felton sports his trademark red and blue hair coloring each time out while cheering on the Laxcats.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
It can be heard loudly at every game, and every UA men's lacrosse team practice.
The Laxcats recognize the voice immediately because of the loud, thick New York accent, and it's a sound they've each grown to love.
As they turn toward the bench they see a man walking toward them wearing one red shoe and one blue shoe, hair dyed red and blue.
"Oh yeah!" yells the UA program's eager patriarch.
Welcome to the life of Mickey-Miles Felton.
Although the sport of lacrosse has enjoyed many years of success on the East Coast, it has slowly made its way out west.
Felton is one man whose managed to lead the game into new territory.
A native Long Islander, he brought the sport with him to UA in 1976 as a player and coach. For the past 30 years, he's made Arizona into the lacrosse powerhouse it is today, with a national preseason ranking of fifth in the nation this year out of 175 teams.
Earlier this month, Felton celebrated his 60th birthday as well as three decades with the UA lacrosse program - 26 years as head "wrangler" and four as the general manager.
More than 160 players, coaches and UA alumni were in attendance at the special occasion to honor the long time Laxcats leader.
"He's volunteered to the team for endless years. He's very energetic," said the team's current head coach, Ken Broschart, who added that nearly everyone in attendance had a special story relating to Felton's eccentric personality. "It shows how much these guys really care for him."
Felton's accomplishments at Arizona are highlighted by his involvement as one of the original cofounders of the United States Lacrosse Men's Division Intercollegiate Association.
He was also a co-founder of the Western Collegiate Lacrosse League. The WCLL is among the most respected conferences in the nation, housing six of the top 25 nationally ranked teams. Felton has also served as president and vice president on multiple occasions.
In his 26-year coaching career, Felton has won the Coach of the Year award five times. He's also led the Laxcats to the playoffs every season except one, which also was the only year the team had a losing record. He's amassed 278 career wins, and has also coached in the Olympics and in parts of Europe.
Felton is currently serving his fourth season as the general manager of the Laxcats. He is also the head coach of the Tucson Xtreme, a local high school team. He's the leader of the X-Men. They are the best high school lacrosse club in Tucson and one of the top teams in the state because Professor X, as they call him, has led them there.
As a UA club team, Felton's Laxcat squad receives about 5 percent of its expenses from the UA Department of Recreation. The Laxcats have to raise the rest of their funds on their own, which can be up to $100,000 annually. This is one place where Felton's contributions are immeasurable. It is his dedication to the team that keeps the program alive.
But coupled with the immeasurable effort he puts into the team, it's Felton's amazing personality that keeps the UA Lacrosse program going, according to its players.
"He's awesome. I don't know what to say," said Bryan Cox, a business economics senior and current member of the Laxcats. "He has the ability to do the craziest things in the most serious moments."
"There's a time and a place for everything," Felton said of his crazy sideline antics, which include wearing half-red, half-blue game-day apparel and pumping up the crowd. "I'm just trying to keep the players loose."