|Michael G. French began his lacrosse career playing box lacrosse in Niagara-on-the-Lake and St. Catharine's, Ontario, Canada.
French's first experience with field lacrosse came when he attended Cornell University and played freshman lacrosse in 1973. An attackman, French earned Third Team All-American honors in 1974, and First Team All-American honors in 1975 and 1976. French played on the Cornell National Championship team of 1976, and the Ivy League Championship teams of 1974, 1975 and 1976. He earned First Team All-Ivy in 1974 and 1976, and Second Team All-Ivy in 1975. French was a tri-captain for the Big Red in 1975 and 1976. He represented Cornell in the 1976 North/South Collegiate All-Star game, and was selected Most Valuable Player of the game.
In 1976, French received the Lt. Raymond Enners Memorial Award as the Outstanding Player in Division I, the Jack Turnbull Award as the Outstanding Attackman in Division I and the Ivy League Player of the Year. He was also selected Cornell's Most Valuable Player. French set the NCAA Division I All-Time Career Scoring mark with 296 points in three years.
A player and captain of the Canadian National Team in 1974, 1978 and 1982, French received the highest honor - the Kinderman Trophy as the Best and Fairest Player - of the 1978 World Lacrosse Championships. He led the Canadian National Team to the 1978 World Championship in a stunning upset over the heavily favored United States Team. In 1978, he was elected as a charter inductee to the Cornell University Athletic Hall of Fame.