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Fairfield hires Andrew Baxter as next men’s lacrosse head coach

The Stags have tabbed the Yale defensive coordinator as their next boss.


UPDATE: After my initial report on Wednesday that the school would choose Andrew Baxter as their next men’s lacrosse head coach, Fairfield has made it official. Baxter is the team’s fourth head coach in program history. I was told over the weekend administration was completing its background check on their choice.

The university issued a short statement a day after my initial report stating that the head men’s lacrosse search was still ongoing.

Fairfield’s press release is below.

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – A coaching veteran with nearly two decades of collegiate experience, Andrew Baxter has been named the Head Coach of Fairfield University Men’s Lacrosse. Baxter had served as Defensive Coordinator at Yale University since 2013 and was elevated to Associate Head Coach following the 2018 campaign.

“I am thrilled to welcome Andrew and his family to the Fairfield University community,” said Director of Athletics Paul Schlickmann. “Coach Baxter brings an exceptional track record of success building championship caliber programs and recruiting hard-working and dedicated student-athletes who achieve with integrity on the field, in the classroom and as campus and community citizens. His professional and personal reputation is impeccable, and he shares a core belief and passion to educate and develop young men through the sport of lacrosse. He emerged through the search process among a very talented pool of candidates as the right man at the right time for the Fairfield Men’s Lacrosse program.”

As Recruiting Coordinator, Baxter was integral in assembling the Yale squad that won the 2018 National Championship and returned to the title game this past spring in addition to claiming two Ivy League Regular Season Championships and four Ivy League Tournament Championships. His defensive unit has led the Ivy in scoring defense in each of the last six seasons and ranked among the top 15 nationally in five of his seven campaigns in New Haven.

“I am honored to be chosen as the head coach of Fairfield Men’s Lacrosse,” said Baxter. “I would like to thank President Nemec and Director of Athletics Paul Schlickmann for their confidence and trust in me. I am committed to building a brand of lacrosse that our community of students, fans and alumni will be proud to follow and support.”

Before heading to Yale, Baxter was the Defensive Coordinator and Recruiting Coordinator at Ohio State, where he managed the fourth-ranked defense in the nation in 2012. He mentored 2011 ECAC Lacrosse League Defensive Player of the Year Matt Kawamoto, who was also a USILA All-America Honorable Mention in 2011 and a USILA Scholar All-American in 2012.

Baxter is no stranger to CAA Lacrosse, having spent time as both the Offensive Coordinator (2004-05) and Defensive Coordinator (2006-08) at Drexel. His tenure in Philadelphia concluded with the Dragons ranked seventh nationally in scoring defense in both 2007 and 2008 en route to a share of the CAA Regular Season Championship in both campaigns. Baxter also managed the Drexel faceoff men, ranking as high as fifth in the nation on the draw in 2008.

“We are most excited to welcome Andrew, Marika, and their two girls to our community,” said Fairfield University President Mark R. Nemec, PhD. “Andrew comes to us with a proven history of success, having elevated lacrosse programs to national prominence year after year. We look forward to having him lead our men’s lacrosse team as the Stags’ transformation mirrors Fairfield’s overall rise as an institution.”

Baxter began his coaching career as an Assistant Coach at Colgate University for the 2002 and 2003 seasons.

As a student-athlete at Springfield College, Baxter made a pair of NCAA Division III postseason appearances. He graduated from Springfield in 2001 with a degree in Movement and Sports Studies.

A native of Rochester, N.Y., Baxter graduated from Brighton High School. He and his wife, Marika – also a Springfield College graduate – have two children, Rae, born in 2010 and Frankie, born in 2014.

The Fairfield Stags men’s lacrosse team will hire Yale Bulldogs Associate Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Andrew Baxter as their next head coach. The news was first reported by College Crosse’s own Chris Jastrzembski. The hiring concludes a 27 day search since Andy Copelan stepped down as the program’s head coach on May 8th.

Baxter has been Yale’s defensive coordinator since 2013, adding the title of associate head coach prior to this past season. He has spent 18 seasons as a collegiate coach; his first at Colgate from 2002-03, then at Drexel from 2004-2008, where he was offensive coordinator the first two years before manning the defense the final three years. He then spent four seasons at Ohio State before moving to New Haven. Baxter’s success as a defensive mind is extensive. Yale never ranked lower than 14th in Scoring Defense in Baxter’s first six seasons, including ranks of 6th in 2013, 9th in 2015, 8th in 2016, and gave up just 8.8 goals per game in 2018 as the Elis won the National Championship. He had back-to-back Top 10 defenses at Ohio State in 2011 and 2012, and also had consecutive 7th placed scoring defenses at Drexel in 2007 and 2008.

It was reported yesterday by our own Chris Jastrzembski that Baxter was among five finalists for the job and further along in the process than any of the four candidates. Fairfield seemed to zero in on Baxter as their first choice and now they will have him as their head man. He’ll be tasked with restoring a program that reached the NCAA Tournament twice, in 2002 and 2004, and had a eight year streak of .500 or better finishes from 2009-2016, including consecutive CAA Regular Season titles in 2015 and 2016 to success. The Stags were 14-29 the last three years, bringing an end to Andy Copelan’s 12 year run as head coach.