Following the announcement that Peter Milliman would be Cornell to take the head coaching job at Johns Hopkins; Cornell has moved quickly and announced current offensive coordinator Connor Buczek will serve as the team’s head coach for the 2021 season, after which a national search will take place. The news was first reported by John Johnson and Spectrum News in Central New York and later confirmed by a spokesman for the school.
#Breaking former #BigRed All-American and current assistant, Connor Buczek @cbucz33, will be named Cornell men’s lacrosse coach for the 2021 season. Assistant Jordan Stevens will remain on staff as associate HC. @SPECNewsCNY @CornellSports @CornellLacrosse #NCAA— JOHN JOHNSON II (@TheRealJKJ) April 27, 2020
The decision is a very familiar one for Cornell. Following Ben DeLuca’s dismissal as head coach in fall 2013, assistant coach Matt Kerwick was named interim coach for the 2014 season and following the season was promoted to full time head coach. After Kerwick resigned as head coach in 2017, Cornell chose to name the aforementioned Milliman as “interim coach” for the 2018 season after which they said a national search would commence. Milliman led the Big Red to an Ivy League tournament championship and the NCAA Quarterfinals, and was like Kerwick, promoted to full time head coach.
Due to ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, a hiring freeze is in effect at Cornell at the moment, which may have contributed to the decision to name Buczek as interim coach. Nonetheless, the decision to follow a path that has led to much coaching instability in Ithaca over the previous few years is an interesting one, likely to be debated amongst fans and the lacrosse community as a whole.
Buczek is a Big Red great, being named a First Team All-American in 2014 and 2015, a Second Team All-American in 2013, and Ivy League Player of the Year in 2014. He’s the top scoring midfielder in Cornell history and Top 10 all time in goals at the school. After serving as a volunteer assistant in 2016 and 2017, he was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2018, where the team was 2nd in Offensive Efficiency per Analytics Lacrosse. This year the team was 2nd in the country in scoring offense, averaging 18.4 goals per game.
Current Cornell assistant and alum Jordan Stevens will also remain on staff and assist Buczek in 2021; as was also first reported by Johnson and Spectrum News.