Chazz Woodson had been interested in the Hampton men’s lacrosse head coaching position since the program reached the Division I level in 2015. He had been involved in the club team’s growth since its inception in 2010.

Woodson, a Norfolk, Va. native who went to Norfolk Academy, was uniquely positioned to take over the Pirates program, but the timing wasn’t right until this summer. Hampton men’s lacrosse needed its third head coach in three years, and Woodson was ready for the challenge.

“If it’s not for Hampton University, perhaps we never would have moved to Norfolk. If it’s not for lacrosse, maybe I’m not ever at Norfolk Academy,” Woodson said. “To have lacrosse bring me back to that area and Hampton bring me back is pretty special."

That challenge is one he’s been preparing for his entire life. Woodson, a member of the US Lacrosse Board of Directors, has made it a mission to grow the game in underserved communities across the country.

Through the Sankofa Clinic Series, which he founded in 2013 alongside Kyle Harrison and now runs in partnership with US Lacrosse, Woodson has brought the game to more African American players than ever before. He has seen many programs reach out to underrepresented communities, but knows there’s a delicate line that organizations must walk.

He’s working with US Lacrosse to make sure we grow the game in the right way.

“One thing we don’t want to do is bring kids into a game because we feel it’s beneficial and not give them then support to succeed,” Woodson said. “If we’re bringing them into an environment where they’re not feeling like they’re truly part of it, then it doesn’t make sense. Reaching out to these communities is important, but also providing the scaffolding. That’s certainly the conversation that we’re having at US Lacrosse, on the Board and with clinicians.”

Woodson turned the Sankofa Clinic Series into one of the sport’s most influential outlets for reaching out to these communities. His involvement with the series helped him secure a spot on the Board of Directors, where his voice is amplified even further.

He said his experience on the Board has helped him learn more about the national governing body.

“It’s been interesting for me, personally, because I’ve been involved in the game for so long,” Woodson said. “I wasn’t always familiar with the inner workings of US Lacrosse. It’s been cool to be behind-the-scenes and give input on the growth of the sport.”

For now, Woodson will focus on a challenge at Hampton, growing the sport in his own way and leading a group of young men. US Lacrosse Magazine profiled Woodson’s journey to Hampton last month.

Check out the full story from US Lacrosse Magazine.