The fall has already begun for most college lacrosse teams. It’ll be a time to get in proper shape, learn or remember plays and other facets of the game, participate in a multitude of scrimmages, and get ready for January.
This summer has seen a lot of changes, mainly on the coaching end. Some teams saw a few notable transfers enter and leave their programs as well.
With that in mind, here are some teams whose stock has gone up or gone down since the end of the NCAA Tournament in May. Overall, a lot of teams made improvements during the offseason, even those that are in the “stock down” section.
Harvard Crimson: In my eyes, Harvard’s the team that saw their stock rise the most. Harvard tabbed perhaps the best assistant coach at the time in Gerry Byrne as their next head coach who is not only a great coach, but also an outstanding recruiter and able to craft a presence on social media to attract potential recruits.
With his staff, Byrne kept it in the Notre Dame family, bringing over offensive coordinator Will Hutchinson from the Irish as well as former Notre Dame graduate Will Corrigan, the son of current Fighting Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan. Byrne also brought former Wesleyan goaltender and Cleveland State volunteer assistant Ted Bergman as their volunteer coach as well as former Navy All-American Steve Looney, who will help with team building and culture development. Al Lattell, a former Crimson assistant, is being kept on as their Lacrosse Operations Coordinator.
On a side note, Byrne is the second Gerry Byrne at Harvard. The other Gerry Byrne is the Associate Director of Finance and Research Administration in the school’s Physics department.
Maryland Terrapins: Perhaps the biggest winner from the transfer portal came from College Park. The Terrapins landed four notable transfers during the summer in defenseman Nick Grill, long stick midfielder Michael Ubriaco, goalie Chris Brandau, and FOGO Joel Trucksess.
Grill played his first three seasons at Marquette and was an All-Big East selection each season, capping his Golden Eagle tenure off with a First Team nod in 2019. He started all 43 games in those three years and finished with 32 caused turnovers and 69 ground balls. He should be a starting defenseman with the graduation of Curtis Corley.
Ubriaco and Brandau, both Boys’ Latin grads, are coming off their freshmen seasons with Villanova and Georgetown respectively. Ubriaco finished with 13 caused turnovers and 25 ground balls along with three goals for the Wildcats. He was also a College Crosse All-Freshman Third Team selection and should be one of two long poles along with Matt Rahill. Brandau appeared in nine games, starting the final two during Georgetown’s postseason run highlighted by a 15-save performance against Denver in the Big East Championship. Brandau was the backup to Owen McElroy for the majority of the season. Maryland’s goaltending situation is interesting with Brandau, Drew Morris, and incoming freshman Logan McNaney all looking to become the team’s starter.
Trucksess spent his first two seasons with Lehigh as the backup FOGO to Conor Gaffney. In 13 games, the rising junior went 41-of-65 (63.1%) with 21 ground balls and a pair of goals. He should provide Maryland with another faceoff option along with Justin Shockey.
Syracuse Orange: Two new arrivals and a much-anticipated return for the Orange helped boost their stock over the summer.
On the playing side, former Loyola midfielder Chase Scanlan decided to transfer to Syracuse and also became the next bearer of the famed No. 22 jersey last worn by Jordan Evans in 2017. Scanlan finished with 43 goals and 15 assists with the Greyhounds in his freshman year, including three points against the Orange in the NCAA Tournament. He was also a College Crosse All-Freshman First Team choice.
On the coaching end, Syracuse brought in former Princeton and Vermont offensive coordinator Pat March to run their offense and be their recruiting coordinator. March spent the last three seasons working with Michael Sowers in New Jersey and have put the Tigers in the top 10 in scoring offense in each of those years.
LIU Sharks: One of two Division II teams to make to jump to Division I this upcoming season, the Sharks made some noise in the offseason.
LIU landed former Maryland attackman George Wichelns over the summer after leaving College Park a little after their Christmas break in the winter. Wichelns was an Under Armour All-American in 2018 out of Connetquot in New York. The Sharks do not lose that much scoring from a year ago with guys such as William Snelders, Alex Russell, and Jake Gillis all coming back.
Head coach Eric Wolf also finalized his first Division I staff by bringing in former Loyola goaltender and Manhattan assistant Jack Runkel to work with the defense along with former Maryland midfielder and former Marquette volunteer assistant Tim Rotanz to work with the offense. Wolf also kept Connor Farrell as a volunteer assistant after graduating from LIU Post in 2019.
Hampton Pirates: Hampton has been a team that’s been barely noticed since becoming a program in 2016. They have yet to play a full Division I schedule after four seasons, but there is a promising future head. The Pirates hired Rashad Devoe as their new head coach to replace the retired Lloyd Carter in August and also return plenty of players for 2020. The team will play eight Division I opponents for next season and plan on finally taking on a full D1 slate in 2021. But for now, his goal is to get better every day and try to get Hampton’s first win over a D1 opponent.
Others: Like we mentioned earlier, more teams saw their stock rise and fall. New coaching staff at Fairfield, Marquette, Navy, and Stony Brook show signs of bigger and better things ahead. Some assistant hires, such as Tucker Durkin to Drexel, were also good signs for a team. And especially high-profiled transfers, which included Chris Gray joining North Carolina.
Bellarmine Knights: Perhaps the team that took the biggest hit to their stock in the summer was the lone Division I team in Kentucky. Bellarmine saw head coach Jim Mitchell step down unexpectedly after only a year as their leader before replacing him with former Fairfield assistant Andrew Whitley.
In addition, the Knights saw SoCon Freshman of the Year Riley Seay transfer to Loyola. Bellarmine does have some work to do, but one bright spot was to see the entire athletic department announce their move up to Division I and join the Atlantic Sun. Men’s lacrosse will not be affected by the move.
Boston University Terriers: It’s a positive for a team when they gain a big-name transfer, but perhaps it’s a much larger negative when a team loses a star player. That could be said for the Terriers who saw Chris Gray depart for North Carolina. Gray was a First Team All-Patriot League selection in his two seasons at BU and racked up 111 points as a sophomore in 2019. BU loses 183 total points between Gray and James Burr who graduated, but return a young core of players on offense such as Timmy Ley, Jake Cates, Matt Hilburn, and Jett Dziama. Head coach Ryan Polley also welcomes in Phil Wies from Towson.
Loyola Greyhounds: When a team loses a Tewaaraton Award winner and one of the best goalies in the country, it’s already a tough offseason. But Loyola saw another departure in Chase Scanlan leaving for Syracuse. Focusing on the lacrosse side of things, the Greyhounds lose 60% of their scoring with Scanlan gone. Kevin Lindley and Aidan Olmstead are the only two starters returning on offense. However, the addition of Riley Seay from Bellarmine should help ease some of the losses on offense.
In any league, it’s tough to replace a very successful assistant coach that went elsewhere. In college lacrosse, Yale and Notre Dame saw both of their assistants take new roles elsewhere.
Yale saw both Andrew Baxter and Andrew Stimmel become head coaches at Fairfield and Marquette respectively. Both of them were on Andy Shay’s staff during Yale’s Championship Weekend appearances the last two seasons, highlighted by the Bulldogs’ national championship in 2018. Tom Compitello, who was the team’s volunteer assistant in 2018, comes over from Lehigh to run the offense while Ed Williams, who was their volunteer assistant this past year, is being retained as a permanent assistant. Williams also led the defense at Lafayette and was their interim head coach in 2018.
As for Notre Dame, we already highlighted Gerry Byrne’s departure to Harvard. He also brought Neil Hutchinson after one season in South Bend to work with the Crimson offense. But coming in to Notre Dame are two solid replacements. Ryan Wellner takes over for Byrne as the team’s defensive coordinator and director of recruiting. Wellner arrives from Navy after eight years in Annapolis where he served in both of those roles as well as the team’s associate head coach for the last three seasons. Former Harvard head coach Chris Wojcik comes in as Notre Dame’s new offensive coordinator.