June 3, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Coming off its first season as a member of the Great American Rifle Conference, the NCAA's premier rifle league, the Navy rifle program is proud to announce that Lou MacKenzie has been hired as an assistant coach. A 17-year head rifle coach for the Queen Anne's County 4-H Marksmanship Club, MacKenzie will join head coach Bill Kelley on the staff.
"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.
The Navy rifle program is coming off a strong season that saw the Mids complete their inaugural season in the GARC. Navy finished seventh at the conference championship and earned its first GARC regular season win over North Carolina State on Nov. 16 by a score of 4,627 to 4,596. Overall, the Mids went 5-6 in head-to-head competition during the 2013-14 season. The program is slated to return four of its regular starters and will see just one senior graduate from the program.
Kelley concluded, "The pieces of the puzzle are finally coming into place; joining the GARC to compete with the best, adding a number of top recruits, improving our equipment, and with Lou MacKenzie coming on board we are (excuse the puns) loaded and on target for success."