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Todd Faiella poses for a picture after a Virginia lacrosse game. Photo courtesy 
Todd Faiella
Hall of Fame coach Bill Tierney was the lacrosse version of Lewis and Clark. Leaving behind a hallowed career at Princeton that included six NCAA national championships, he headed west to Denver University, quickly rising to prominence in an East Coast-dominated sport. Now another pioneer has followed. Call it "Lacrosse Manifest Destiny," or the lure of Rocky Mountain beauty, the sport's explosive growth and rising talent brings another eastern leader to the great American West.

Todd Faiella one of the most accomplished players in the game has joined Park City High School boys' lacrosse team as the performance and technical director. In this role, Faiella will oversee player and coaching development and create elite-level athletic programming to enhance physical, nutritional and mental aspects of the game. He will work closely with varsity head coach Andy Langendorf to develop on-field systems for all of the high schools boys' teams and act as defensive coordinator for the varsity squad.

Faiella's athletic resume includes the 2011 NCAA National Lacrosse Championship with the University of Virginia, where he earned ACC All-Academic honors and received UVA's Tom Rixey Award as the team's most spirited and emotional leader. Although primarily a defenseman at UVA, Faiella's lacrosse knowledge and athleticism allowed him to play goalie, midfield, long-stick middie and close defense during his college career.

He transferred to UVA from Brown University where he was captain of the lacrosse team and won Ivy League championships in both lacrosse and football (linebacker). In 2008, he received Brown's Rick Whelan Award, recognizing unselfish play, dedication to the lacrosse program and overall commitment to excellence. A senior-year Achilles-tendon injury ended Faiella's Brown career, where he graduated, but the NCAA granted him an extra year of eligibility. Faiella enrolled at UVA to pursue his master's degree, and brought much-needed leadership to a nationally-prominent lacrosse program.

In 2011, Todd played professionally with LXM Pro's STX Team Philly. That year he also co-founded Native Lacrosse Company in Utah and developed a connection to the Salt Lake and Park City lacrosse communities. But the move was temporary, and this spring he coached at Marin Catholic High School in the Bay Area, where his team finished as NorCal State Runner-Up. But contrary to the famous San Francisco song, Faiella left his heart in Utah. He's back in the Rockies, and sees an opportunity to continue the state's explosive growth in lacrosse and bring success to Park City's program.

"Park City reminds me of Duxbury, Mass., close to where I grew up," Faiella said. "Lacrosse was the town's biggest sport, they had great facilities and the community embraced the program. They were surrounded by other lacrosse programs, but they dominated year in and year out. I see the same opportunity in Park City for years to come."

The timing couldn't be better. Park City's varsity squad made the state playoffs last spring despite a roster loaded with sophomores and including two freshman starters. And the Park City youth lacrosse program will continue to supply the flow of talent. The middle-school division won this season's Utah Lacrosse Association's state championship, and over the last two years Park City has contributed more members to the Utah National Team which selects the state's best players than any other program.

To enhance his efforts with the high school team, Faiella hopes to tap into Park City's elite athletic and Olympic-level infrastructure.

"We have so many resources here the headquarters of Athletic Republic, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team and so many world-class athletes and coaches," Faiella said. "The sky's the limit for the lacrosse program as we make these connections."

He also hopes to bring in some old friends to help from time to time, like UVA teammate Steele Stanwick, 2011Tewaaraton Award recipient as the NCAA's top player.

"Steele was an attackman, so I played against him every day in practice," Faiella said. "He's a close personal friend as are so many other great players. They'll definitely be out here to help on occasion. And we'll start developing a pipeline to attract other top-tier players to come out and coach in Park City after graduating."

While working with the Park City program, Faiella will continue building a Utah-based lacrosse business and conducting camps, clinics, tournaments and lessons throughout the state.