Boston Cannons attackman Pat Kavanagh

Pat Kavanagh’s whirlwind week: From NCAA champion to Tewaaraton to PLL debut

By Sarah Griffin | May 31, 2024

It’s hard to imagine there’s anyone having a better week than Pat Kavanagh

Kavanagh and his teammates at Notre Dame earned the program’s second consecutive NCAA championship Monday afternoon in a display of domination against Maryland. He racked up six assists for the Irish in the title game, capping off his final collegiate season with a career-high 80 points. 

Originally slated to fly back to South Bend that night, the team pushed back their flight so they could continue the celebration into the night in Philadelphia surrounded by family, friends and Notre Dame alumni, just as they did last year. 

On Tuesday, the team returned to campus for one last dance all together. After the championship celebrations concluded for Kavanagh on Tuesday, he and teammate and fellow finalist Liam Entenmann were off to Washington, D.C., for the Tewaaraton Award ceremony. Pat’s younger brother Chris joined the pair, as well, for two jam-packed days in the nation’s capital: tours of the city, a reception and, of course, the awards ceremony on Thursday night. 

That ceremony was the perfect storybook ending to Pat’s time at Notre Dame, as the three-time Tewaaraton finalist finally earned the most prestigious award to conclude one of the best careers in college lacrosse. 

While more celebrations are in order for Kavanagh's great achievements, it’s been all business since then. Friday morning, he and the other finalists hopped on a private jet from D.C. to Albany to prepare for their professional lacrosse debuts. Pat arrived just in time for the Boston Cannons practice at 12:30. 

If he had any first-day jitters, he didn’t have enough time to worry about them. It was straight to work for the Cannons, jumping into passing and ground ball drills as soon as they took the field. When the team broke off into offensive and defensive drills, offensive coordinator Jim Mitchell told his guys to throw Pat – the sixth overall pick in the 2024 College Draft – right into the mix. 

It’s been a whirlwind of a week for Boston’s first-round rookie, to say the least, but he couldn’t be more motivated to get right to it in this new chapter of his life.

“It’s a very welcoming locker room,” Kavanagh told me after practice. “I heard a lot about it from (older brother and new Cannons teammate) Matt, just about the culture and how special it is. All those guys immediately embraced me, and I’ve just been so excited since they drafted me. I knew I was going to be in the best situation possible coming in.”

Head coach and general manager Brian Holman said when he spoke to Pat a couple of days before his arrival, Kavanagh’s enthusiasm was palpable even over the phone.

“That excitement over the phone is what convinced me, ‘OK, he can play,’” Holman said. “It wasn’t like, ‘I’m hurt, I’m drained, I’m tired. It was, ‘I can’t wait to get up there.’” 

Though the Cannons held a lighter practice Friday before their season opener on Saturday, there was one major takeaway for Pat.

“The guys are just massive out there,” he laughed. “Looking at Garrett Epple, he’s a moose. And then I never realized how big Matt Campbell is in person. ... We didn’t go live, so I can’t really get a look at the speed of it and the pace of play, but I know it’s a lot more intense and faster than the college games.”

Kavanagh will take the field for the first time in a Cannons uniform on Saturday as Boston takes on the New York Atlas on PLL Opening Weekend. Will his whirlwind week end with a first professional lacrosse victory?