Mids entering second year of competition in the GARC
Announced as the program's assistant coach in early June 2014, Lou MacKenzie joins head coach Bill Kelley's staff after 17 years as the head rifle coach for the Queen Anne's County 4-H Marksmanship Club.
"I've known Lou for fifteen years as the coach of a highly successful junior program," said Kelley. "I knew he was an excellent coach who worked hard at getting his athletes to perform at the highest levels. The past few weeks of working with Lou has confirmed we have the right man. His enthusiasm and drive to win combined with his maturity and strong interpersonal skills make him an ideal fit for our program. We've already planned our recruiting and national championship schedule for the summer. Now were anxious to see the squad return, join an excellent class of incoming plebe recruits, and return Navy Rifle to its familiar place among the top teams in the NCAA."
"I'm ready to get to work," said MacKenzie. "I certainly plan on bringing my experience, success and winning program with the Queen Anne's juniors to the Navy rifle program. I look forward to assisting Coach Kelley in leading the Mids to a winning season, beating Army and getting back in the NCAA National Championships."
MacKenzie joins the Midshipmen program after an accomplished career on the junior circuit. Named 2012 Junior Rifle Coach of the Year by the Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association, MacKenzie led Queen Anne's County to the 2013 and 2014 NRA National Indoor Team Championships in both smallbore and air rifle. Led by 2014 NRA National Indoor Individual Champions, Mark Matheny (air rifle) and Drew Cheezum (smallbore), the team set a new national air rifle scoring record in 2014. His Queen Anne's County club also won the US Army Air Rifle National Team title. MacKenzie's top shooter at that match, David Sink, claimed the individual national championship. Including Sink, Matheny, and Cheezum, six members of the club were invited to participate at this spring's U.S. Junior Olympic Shooting Championships.
Since 2006, MacKenzie has seen five of his shooters from Queen Anne's County move on to collegiate careers at nationally-ranked programs, such as West Virginia, Jacksonville State and Tennessee-Martin. Two of MacKenzie's most recent shooters, Taylor Ciotola (West Virginia '15) and Cole Tucker (Jacksonville State '15) each earned All-American honors at their respective schools. Tucker finished second at the 2013 NCAA Championships.
Besides coaching his athletes in competitions, MacKenzie scheduled all matches for the Queen Anne's County club and served as match director for home matches, including the Maryland State Indoor Championship 3-P Smallbore and Precision Standing Air Rifle. He is certified by the National Rifle Association and Maryland 4-H as a rifle, smallbore and pistol instructor.