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Navy hires Joe Amplo as next men’s lacrosse head coach

The Midshipmen have settled on the Marquette boss to be their next head coach.

Navy Athletics

The Navy Midshipmen men’s lacrosse team has hired former Marquette Golden Eagles head coach Joe Amplo as their next head coach. The news was first reported by Ty Xanders of Inside Lacrosse, and quickly confirmed by our own Chris Jastrzembski. It has since been confirmed by Navy. The hiring concludes a 33 day search by Navy for their next head coach after previous coach Rick Sowell was fired after eight seasons on May 2nd.

Amplo was Marquette’s first and only head coach; hired by the program in 2011 he has led them for seven seasons since their inaugural one in 2013. Amplo had 11 seasons of coaching experience prior to that, 10 at his alma mater Hofstra from 1999-2001 and 2003-2011, with a brief year spent at Penn in between. Amplo quickly turned the Golden Eagles into a contender in the Big East; following campaigns of 5-8 and 6-10 in their first two seasons in 2013 and 2014, Marquette went 10-6 in 2015 and qualified for the Big East Tournament. They would break through the next two seasons, winning the Big East Tournament Championship, thus earning the program’s first two NCAA Tournament bids, including being the #6 overall seed in the tournament in 2016. Amplo was 52-53 overall in his seven seasons in Milwaukee, 18-13 in Big East play, and 0-2 in the NCAA Tournament. He coached 5 USILA All-Americans and 15 All Big-East players.

It was reported yesterday by our own Chris Jastrzembski that Amplo spent the previous weekend in Annapolis meeting with Navy officials about the job. From there the Midshipmen zeroed in on him as their man and a deal was closed to bring him to the Academy to try and restore a proud and tradition rich program to success. There were rumors of Navy looking at John Tillman, Charley Toomey, Shawn Nadelen, and J.L. Reppert, but the only substantive reports that came out were about Amplo, and now he’s the next head coach of the Midshipmen.

With this news Marquette now has an opening and will need to hire only their 2nd coach in the history of the program. Names expected to be in the discussion for that job are former Navy Associate Head Coach Ryan Wellner - who had been manning the program as interim coach since Sowell was let go, Marquette Associate Head Coach and offensive and recruiting coordinator Stephen Brundage, and Denver defensive coordinator John Orsen, who was on staff with Amplo in 2013 and 2014 before taking over the Pioneers defense.


ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk announced today the hiring of Joe Amplo as the new head men’s lacrosse coach at Navy.

Amplo, a member of the NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Committee, as well as an assistant coach for Team USA who won the 2018 World Championship and will be on staff for the 2022 World Championship, has established himself as one of the premier head coaches in the sport after building the Marquette program from the ground up. He led the Golden Eagles to consecutive BIG EAST Tournament titles and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2016 and 2017, while also guiding MU to at least the BIG EAST semifinals in five of its six seasons competing as a member of the conference.

”To begin, then lead a sport of a major Division I institution may be the most significant challenge in our profession,” said Gladchuk. “To do so with such astonishing short-term success is historic. Marquette lacrosse with so many documented accomplishments is a tribute to a man whose untiring work ethic and determination provided life changing experiences to student-athletes. Joe built a foundation on vision, sound educational principles, competed against and beat the best and left a legacy of success that can now be carried over to his next challenge at Navy. Passion, perseverance and inspirational leadership define Joe Amplo and he will be the perfect fit at the Naval Academy where developing our nation’s future leaders is our priority and mission.”

”I am forever grateful to Marquette University, the people who believed in me, and the players who fought so tirelessly to build a nationally-recognized program,” said Amplo. ”I will cherish the relationships that we built and the memories we all shared knowing those experiences have provided me with a framework to lead a program that I have always held in the highest regard. ”It is an honor and a privilege to be named the next head coach at the United States Naval Academy. Having the opportunity to help develop the next group of our nation’s leaders is a responsibility that I do not take lightly. I look forward to embracing everything the Naval Academy stands for, engaging with our alumni, immersing our family into this community and, most of all, developing life-long relationships with the members of our team as we work to add more successes to the rich history of Navy lacrosse.”

Fifteen Golden Eagles have accounted for 30 All-BIG EAST citations, while six players have earned USILA All-America recognition. Among those honorees is Liam Byrnes who was a three-time All-BIG EAST defenseman and was named the 2016 BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year and a Second-Team All-American. Additionally, Noah Richard, a unanimous two-time All-BIG EAST long-stick midfielder, was named the 2019 BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year and an Honorable Mention All-American after helping Marquette to a No. 5 ranking in man-down defense this past spring.

Five of his Marquette players have been named USILA Scholar All-Americans, while better than 120 of his student-athletes have garnered BIG EAST All-Academic honors for their classroom success which requires a minimum grade-point average of 3.00 for the preceding academic year. In 2016, B.J. Grill, a three-time All-BIG EAST defenseman, was named to the 2016 Senior CLASS Award First Team, an award that highlights achievement in community, classroom, character and competition.

Eight of his former Golden Eagles players are currently playing professionally in the Premier Lacrosse League (B.J. Grill, Jacob Richard, Noah Richard) and Major League Lacrosse (Zachary Melillo, Ryan McNamara, Conor Gately, Andy DeMichiei, Liam Byrnes).

Amplo, who was named the first head coach in Marquette history on Feb. 4, 2011, garnered 2014 BIG EAST Coach of the Year honors in just his second season at the helm. He led the Golden Eagles to a second-place regular-season finish in what was their first year as a member of the conference, as well as their first of five consecutive semifinal appearances in the BIG EAST Championship. The Golden Eagles played the nation’s 14th-toughest schedule according to Inside Lacrosse that season.

In 2015, he guided the Golden Eagles to a 10-win campaign in just their third season of competition and in 2016, led Marquette to the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance on the heels of a victory over No. 1 Denver in the BIG EAST Tournament Championship Game. Marquette earned the sixth seed in the NCAA Tournament and fell to eventual NCAA Champion North Carolina by a single goal in what was the first NCAA Tournament game ever played in the state of Wisconsin.

Amplo was the 2016 recipient of the USILA Howdy Myers Man of the Year Award, presented in honor of one of the sport’s most outstanding coaches. The award is presented annually to an individual who has contributed to the game of lacrosse in a capacity over and above the normal efforts and in so doing, has shown unselfish and untiring devotion to the game.

After stringing together seven consecutive wins to open the 2015 campaign, the Golden Eagles were ranked ninth in the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll and closed out the year just two spots outside the top 20. Marquette’s hot start was highlighted by four one-goal wins, including a pair over ranked opponents, and thrilling come-from-behind wins at Richmond in overtime and Ohio State, an NCAA Tournament team, in early March. MU began the 2015 season with a 10-9 win at then-No. 18/16 Lehigh on Feb. 7 and picked up a second win against Amplo’s alma mater in as many tries by topping then-No. 17/19 Hofstra on Feb. 14.

Marquette’s victory over Denver to claim the BIG EAST’s 2016 automatic NCAA bid snapped an NCAA-high 22-game home winning streak at Peter Barton Stadium for the Pioneers, while handing them their first loss to a BIG EAST team since joining the league in 2014 (spanned 21 games). The victory also set a new program benchmark with MU’s 11th win of the season after the Golden Eagles produced a 4-1 mark in BIG EAST regular-season action.

The Marquette defense ranked among the nation’s leaders in 2016, leading to recognition for MU’s three MLL draft picks in graduate students Liam Byrnes and B.J. Grill and senior Jacob Richard. Byrnes was named the 2016 BIG EAST Conference Defensive Player of the Year, a first-team all-league performer, the most outstanding player at the BIG EAST tournament and a USILA Second-Team All-American. Grill and Richard were both named third-team USILA All-Americans and were second-team all-conference performers, though Richard was the only short stick defensive midfielder selected to any All-BIG EAST team.

Amplo engineered a spectacular run by Marquette in the 2017 BIG EAST Championship that led to the program’s second NCAA Tournament bid in as many years. The Golden Eagles became the first No. 4 seed to win the BIG EAST Championship after upsetting top-seeded and second-ranked Denver, 11-8, in the semifinals before downing tournament-host Providence in the final behind the play of goalkeeper Cole Blazer who was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. MU earned the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship where it fell to fourth-seeded and seventh-ranked Notre Dame, 15-9, in the opening round.

In 2017, attackman Ryan McNamara became the first player in Marquette history to reach 100 career goals and became MU’s all-time point leader, while becoming the only player in program history to earn two USILA All-America nods.

In seven seasons of building the Golden Eagles from inception and as head coach, he has amassed an 18-13 record in the BIG EAST and a 52-53 overall mark.

Amplo came to Marquette with 11 years of collegiate coaching experience, 10 of which came at his alma mater, Hofstra University. He served as associate head coach with the Pride for three years and was the team’s defensive coordinator.

During his time at Hofstra, Amplo participated in 11 NCAA Championships, three as a student-athlete and eight as a coach, the most recent of which was in 2011. That year, Hofstra had the nation’s No. 1 defense, boasting the lowest goals-against average in the country.

Amplo joined the Hofstra coaching staff as a graduate assistant in 1999 and remained there until 2001 when he took an assistant coaching position at Penn. After one season with the Quakers, Amplo returned to Long Island where he remained through the 2011 season.

In his first stint with Hofstra, Amplo worked under then-head coach John Danowski, now the coach of three-time NCAA Champion Duke University.

Following his return to Hofstra in 2003, the Pride posted a 76-49 record and advanced to five NCAA Championships. He coached 53 all-conference players at Hofstra, including five conference players of the year, four rookies of the year and 21 All-Americans. One of those players, Doug Shannahan, earned the Tewaaraton Award in 2001, honoring the top player in college lacrosse. Amplo also coached Tewaaraton Award finalist Chris Unterstein, 13 North-South All-Stars and six USILA Scholar All-Americans at Hofstra.

As a student-athlete, he was an All-America East performer as a senior in 1999 when he started all 16 games and led the school to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship. He played in 58 games in his career and notched 91 ground balls, 40 of which came during his senior season.

Amplo is active on the lecture circuit and is the founder of the Team Amplify, which operates clinics, camps and competitive club teams for the Milwaukee-area lacrosse community. He has also been involved with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation and the Milwaukee Eagles wheelchair lacrosse team, which he partners with the Milwaukee VA Hospital to help coach disabled and able-bodied United States veterans.

The Farmingville, New York, native attended Sachem High School in Lake Ronkonkoma, New York, where he earned four letters in both lacrosse and football and was an all-conference performer in both sports.

Amplo graduated from Hofstra in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in geography and earned a master’s degree in college student counseling. He and his wife, Jennifer, are the parents of three daughters, Sophia, Charlotte, and Lily.

USILA All-Americans:

2019 Noah Richard (honorable mention)
2017 Ryan McNamara (honorable mention)
2016 Liam Byrnes (second team) B.J. Grill, Jacob Richard (third team) Ryan McNamara (honorable mention)
2014 Tyler Melnyk (honorable mention)

USILA Scholar All-Americans:

2018 Cole Blazer
2017 Andy DeMichiei
2016 Liam Byrnes
2015 B.J. Grill

Senior CLASS Award Senior All-Americans:

2016 B.J. Grill (first team)

USILA North-South Selections:

2018 Zachary Melillo (FO)
2015 Jordan Greenfield (A), Logan Tousaw (D)

BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year:

2018 Noah Richard
2016 Liam Byrnes

All-BIG EAST (*-unanimous):

2019 (First Team) Tanner Thomsen, Nick Grill, Noah Richard* (Second Team) John Wagner
2018 (First Team) Noah Richard*, John Wagner (Second Team) Nick Grill, Zachary Melillo
2017 (First Team) Ryan McNamara (Second Team) Cole Blazer, Andy DeMichiei, Nick Grill, Zachary Melillo, Tanner Thomson
2016 (First Team) Liam Byrnes, Ryan McNamara* (Second Team) Cole Blazer, Conor Gately, B.J. Grill, Zachary Melillo, Jacob Richard
2015 (First Team) Liam Byrnes*, B.J. Grill, Kyle Whitlow (Second Team) Conor Gately, Jordan Greenfield
2014 (First Team) B.J. Grill*, Tyler Melnyk (Second Team) Liam Byrnes, Kyle Whitlow

All-BIG EAST Championship (*-Most Outstanding Player):

2018 Cole Blazer, John Wagner
2017 Cole Blazer*, Joe Dunn, Nicholas Eufrasio, Grant Preisler
2016 Liam Byrnes*, Cole Blazer, Zachary Melillo, Tanner Thomson
2015 Conor Gately, Dan Mojica
2014 Liam Byrnes

BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award:

2018 John Wagner
2017 Andy DeMichiei
2016 B.J. Grill
2015 Jordan Greenfield

BIG EAST All-Academic:

2018 (31) Benjamin Allen, Luke Anderson, Cole Blazer, Brendon Connolly, Anthony Courcelle, Paul John-Ellsworth Cox, Dylan Dobrosky, Jackson Ehlert, Ryan Fazio, Cole Froemming, Zachary Granger, Ted Goltzman, Peter Henkhaus, Kyle Koch, Michael Lardy, Alexandros Malitas, Connor McClelland, Zachary Melillo, Colin O’Donnell, Robert Pelton, Noah Richard, Christopher Rolfing, Jordan Schmid, Nicholas, Singleton, Kai Storrs, Luke Vassos, John Wagner, Jon-Christopher Whelan, Elliott Yacu, Jack Zerrillo, Owen Weselak
2017 (23) Cole Blazer, Kyran Clarke, Brendon Connolly, Griffin Connor, P.J. Cox, Dylan Dobrosky, Ryan Fazio, Cole Froemming, Peter Henkhaus, Ted Goltzman, Connor McClelland, Scott McNamara,Colin O’Donnell, Robbie Pisano, Grant Preisler, Noah Richard, Chris Rolfing, Nick Singleton, Tommy von den Benken, John Wagner, Owen Weselak, Josh Williamson
2016 (21) Matt Barone, Zach Barr, Liam Byrnes, Anthony Ciammaichella, Kyran Clarke, Michael Clemente, Brendon Connolly, Jimmy Danaher, Andy DeMichiei, Tyler Gilligan,Ted Goltzman, Brett Hornung, Phil McFarland, Scott McNamara, Dan Mojica, Bob Pelton, Robbie Pisano, Salvatore Vitale, John Wagner, Owen Weselak, Jack Zerrillo
2015 (25) Matt Barone, Cole Blazer, Anthony Ciammaichella, Michael Clemente, Griffin Connor, Jimmy Danaher, Andy DeMichiei, Tyler Gilligan, Ted Goltzman, B.J. Grill, Brett Hornung, Matt Lanza, Phil McFarland, Andy Myers, Dan Mojica, Henry Nelson, Robbie Pisano, Grant Preisler, Travis Schelhorn, Logan Tousaw, Pat Townsend, Salvatore Vitale, Owen Weselak, Kyle Whitlow, Jack Zerrillo
2014 (20) Matt Barone, Anthony Ciammaichella, Kyran Clarke, Michael Clemente, Griffin Connor, Andy DeMichiei, Joe Dunn, Ben Dvorak, Tyler Gilligan, B.J. Grill, Brett Hornung, Sam Lindsey, Phil McFarland, Matt Melnyk, Henry Nelson, Robbie Pisano, JJ Sagl, Andrew Smistad, Logan Tousaw, Pat Townsend