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Sources: Navy, Harvard parting ways with Sowell, Wojcik

The college lacrosse coaching carousel has begun.

While conference tournaments were going on Thursday afternoon and evening, a couple of programs sitting at home decided to go in different directions.

In a surprise, the Navy Midshipmen fired head coach Rick Sowell on Thursday afternoon, sources confirmed to College Crosse. Sowell later confirmed his departure to Edward Lee of The Baltimore Sun.

The former head coach sent a message to his supporters, which was obtained by College Crosse and later published in full by the Sun.

“All, before the word hits the streets, I want you to hear it from me….I am no longer the head coach at Navy!! It’s a sad day for me, yes, it was a total surprise! For you returning players, please make the transition for the next coach easier then I had it. I’ll be rooting for you!! Coach Sowell.”

Sowell finished with a 54-56 record while in Annapolis, along with three Patriot League regular season titles between 2015 and 2018 and went to the NCAA quarterfinals in 2016. After that run, Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk gave Sowell a four-year extension to his previous deal that would have expired after the 2021 season. Navy went 6-7 overall in 2019 and 4-4 in the conference, but did not qualify for the Patriot League Tournament due to a series of tiebreakers. Sowell previously coached at Dartmouth, St. John’s, and Stony Brook with a combined record of 140-137 over 20 seasons. He’s one of three head coaches to guide three different programs to the NCAA Tournament, joining Jack Emmer and Tony Seaman.

In a move that did not surprise many and one that was expected, the Harvard Crimson parted ways with Chris Wojcik, sources confirmed to College Crosse. Wojcik spent eight seasons at his alma mater and recorded an even 65-65 record. His best season was in 2014 when the Crimson won a share of the Ivy League regular season title but lost to Penn in the conference title game. Harvard did get an at-large bid in 2014 where they fell to eventual national runner-up Notre Dame.

Wojcik sent a message to recruits that was obtained by Inside Lacrosse. “I have enjoyed building relationships with each of you in the recruiting process. You all have bright futures ahead of you and keep pushing forward to be the best you can be on and off the field.”

Wojcik began his coaching career as an assistant with Harvard before joining Bowdoin and Penn.

Harvard and Navy are the first two coaching vacancies in men’s Division I college lacrosse. Holy Cross and Quinnipiac have interim head coaches in Peter Burke and Mason Poli respectively. Burke helped the Crusaders reach a 7-7 record and a fifth place finish in the Patriot League. Poli is currently coaching the Bobcats as they take on Marist Saturday morning in the MAAC Championship.