It took VMI about a month to fill the void left in the wake of Brian Anken's resignation from the institute, looking to a Southern Conference rival -- Furman -- for its new program navigator. The result is the announcement of Jon Birsner as the Keydets' new head men's lacrosse coach. From VMI's press release:
Virginia Military Institute Athletics Director Dr. Dave Diles announced Monday that Jon Birsner has accepted the position of head men’s lacrosse coach.
Birsner, a native of Levittown, New York, spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach at Southern Conference opponent Furman University. In addition to serving as Furman's offensive coordinator, Birsner also served as the program’s recruiting, travel, film, compliance and academic coordinator. He becomes the sixth head coach of the VMI lacrosse program, which was reinstituted in 1983.
"Coach Birsner immediately moved to the top of a talented pool of candidates," Diles said. "He distinguished himself throughout the process as someone with the values, leadership skills and personal characteristics to lead this historically important program. In addition, his lacrosse background, both as a player and coach, is tremendously impressive. I am certain that he will connect exceptionally well with our passionate lacrosse community and be an outstanding coach, mentor and educator for our lacrosse cadet athletes. VMI lacrosse has an exceedingly bright future with a gifted coach that understands our unique mission and the high expectations associated with any leadership post at the Institute."
Birsner inherits a team that has gone 10-59 in its last five seasons and hasn't finished with an overall record of .500 or better since 2005.
VMI is a different kind of school with a different kind of purpose. Birsner's depth of responsibility at Furman will certainly assist in his pursuit of elevated capacity in Lexington, and his experience as a Naval officer -- Birsner spent seven years in the Navy as a surface warfare officer -- uniquely positions Birsner to relate to his team and alumni core.