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Johnny Mouradian coached a clinic for The Armenian Youth Lacrosse Mission at Debi Arach Children's Center.

Johnny on the Spot … Around the Globe

Drawing on his time at IC, an alum blazes a lacrosse trail in Armenia.

Johnny Mouradian’s educational and professional career has taken him to countless cities and more than half a dozen athletic halls of fame across the United States and Canada. He’s excelled on the lacrosse field, taught in classrooms, and guided organizations to championships.

Now, decades after being a trailblazer as a lacrosse player, Mouradian, who received his undergraduate degree from IC in physical education in 1976 and a master’s degree in exercise and sport science in 1998, is breaking new ground in his ancestral home of Armenia. This past summer, he created the country’s first-ever lacrosse camp through the Armenian Youth Lacrosse Mission.

"We want to develop this over the years and apply to World Lacrosse to officially compete internationally in the European Lacrosse
Federation in a few years.”

Together with his partner, Reverend Shnork Souin, Mouradian worked with several non-profits to identify interested players, and hosted a pair of camps and clinics this past July for children as young as five and through high school in the former Soviet republic in the Caucasus region.

“It was very cool,” he said of the experience. “We got sticks and balls in the hands of about 450 kids.”

It was the first step towards creating what Mouradian envisions to be an internationally recognized Armenian lacrosse team. Even amidst the turmoil of the devastating Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijani and ethnic Armenians, Mouradian has high hopes for the future of Armenian lacrosse.

He’s currently identifying Canadian-Armenian and American-Armenian lacrosse players of all ages and compiling them into a database. He plans to have some of these players travel with him to Armenia next summer to help coach the kids at the clinics. 

“We want to create national teams for girls and boys and officially compete internationally in the European Lacrosse Federation in a few years,” he said.

Mouradian’s success story is one of hard work, perseverance, and the power of the Ithaca College community. Born and raised in St. Catharine’s, Ontario, with deep Armenian roots, he was voted Least Likely to Succeed by his teachers in high school, before later dropping out.

“I didn’t have a whole lot of luck in school in my younger days,” he admitted.

But he started to work to change that. While enrolled at Niagara Community College, Mouradian had a chance encounter with Robert Aloian, who was not only a fellow Armenian and Mouradian’s high school physical education teacher, but a former Bomber who had graduated from IC in 1969.

Johnny Mouradian

Mouradian played lacrosse and ice hockey while at IC. (Photo from the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame website)

"While at IC, I learned lot of the high-performance applied principles and strategies that I still use today.”

Aloian was the person who ultimately convinced Mouradian to “get my act together.”

“Bobby just really pointed me in the [right] direction,” he said. “There’s a lot of guys from my hometown that didn’t have that opportunity to get pointed in the right direction. He deserves all the credit.”

Mouradian hopes to continue to grow the sport in his native country. (Photo submitted)

After enrolling at IC, Mouradian found himself being challenged in the classroom and inspired by his professors. He also made a name for himself athletically, excelling on the Bombers’ ice hockey and lacrosse teams, where he served as a team captain.

Following his graduation, he launched his playing career, where he was a member of the Canadian National Field Lacrosse Teams in 1974 and 1978, the latter of which won a national championship.

Mouradian also got his start on the sidelines in 1982. , working with several Canadian National Field Lacrosse Teams that participated at the World Championships. He then served as General Manager of the National Lacrosse League’s Buffalo Bandits from 1992 to 1997.

During that time, he returned to Ithaca to pursue his master’s degree. While writing his graduate thesis on team climate and leadership, he also had a graduate assistantship with the men’s lacrosse team and (now retired) Head Coach Jeff Long.

“While at IC, I learned lot of the high-performance applied principles and strategies that I still use today,” he said. “I was also travelling back and forth from Ithaca to Buffalo and Coach Long was incredibly helpful.”

In 2000, Mouradian was inducted into the Ithaca College Athletic Hall of Fame. At the time, it was his second hall of fame induction, though five more would follow.

Johnny Mouradian shares how he wants to grow the sport of lacrosse in this interview with Armenian Sports News.

Currently, Mouradian is collaborating with retired associate professor of exercise science and athletic training Greg Shelley on a high-performance training program they created called Lacrosse Tough, which is geared towards building confident and motivated teams. Shelley serves as the Director of Sports Leadership and Mental Conditioning at Cornell University.

Mouradian’s career has taken him all around the globe, but as he continues to grow the sport he loves in his home country and in Ithaca, he believes that the experiences and support he received from professors, mentors, and teammates on South Hill deserve much of the credit.

“Ithaca College changed my life,” he said.

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