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Lehigh’s Cassese announces additions, changes to coaching staff

Thursday, 8th September 2011

Categories College, Features, 9/8/11
From Press Releases

Lehigh men’s lacrosse coach Kevin Cassese has announced the hiring of two new assistant coaches, along with the promotion of fifth-year assistant Brendan Callahan.

New to the staff is Errol Wilson, formerly coach at Brown and Rutgers, and Tom Compitello, who just wrapped up a standout career at Stony Brook.

“I am pleased to officially announce the 2011-12 Lehigh Lacrosse Coaching Staff,” said Cassese. “I am truly excited for Brendan Callahan to take the next step in his professional career and I am eager to help him grow into his new role with expanded responsibilities.

“Errol Wilson has a tremendous lacrosse mind and brings with him a wealth of knowledge that comes from working with excellent coaches and mentoring elite players at the Division I level for the past five years. Tom Compitello was the quarterback of an offensive juggernaut at Stony Brook, and I’m excited to work closely with him as we attempt to advance a team offense that achieved many successes during the 2011 campaign.”

Along with the additions comes the promotion of Callahan, who is entering his fifth year at Lehigh. He will now serve as defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator. A former Stony Brook All-American goalie himself, Callahan has worked extensively with the Mountain Hawks’ goaltenders, and has been an integral part of the defense, which came into its own last season.

Lehigh allowed only 9.38 goals per games in 2011 while holding seven teams to single digits and four to seven or fewer. Callahan also led a man-down defense which finished in the top 10 nationally in 2010.

Under Callahan’s guidance, Dan Carr (Penn Charter) posted a career-best 8.70 GAA last season, highlighted by a 16-save performance against #20 Penn State. Griffin Farha came on late in the year, starting the final four games while posting an impressive .551 save percentage, which would have led the Patriot League if he had enough minutes to qualify. Farha made double-digit saves in each start, beginning with 13 against #12 Bucknell, 11 vs. #9 North Carolina, a career-high 15 against Lafayette and then 11 in the Patriot League Semifinals at #12 Bucknell.

Also a former Stony Brook goalie, Wilson comes to the Lehigh Valley after one season as associate head coach at Rutgers. At Lehigh, Wilson will serve as associate defensive coordinator and goalie coordinator, man-down coordinator and camps/clinics coordinator. At Rutgers, he helped the Scarlet Knights win five of their first six games last season and coached a defense which allowed only 8.27 goals per game.

“I’m excited to be at a pristine institution of higher education, and also one that is full of tradition like Lehigh,” said Wilson. “The men’s lacrosse program has a great foundation and is moving in the right direction. It’s a tribute to the university, the coaching staff and the young men that have done the work on the field, in the classroom and in the community.”

Prior to Rutgers, Wilson served as assistant coach at Brown for four seasons (2007-10). While there, he was both offensive coordinator and goalie coach, helping the Bears reach new heights by winning an Ivy League Championship in 2008, then earning an NCAA Tournament berth in ’09. Wilson worked with and mentored one of the nation’s top goalies in Jordan Burke. The 2009 USILA Goalie of the Year, Burke was twice named the Ivy League Player of the Year and New England Player of the Year, while earning First Team All-America honors as well.

“I would like to thank Coach Cassese for the opportunity to be a part of the Mountain Hawks staff and family,” said Wilson. “I was fortunate to have him as a coach at Stony Brook; he mentored me as both a player, and as a coach. When the opportunity presented itself to work with amazing student-athletes, Coach Cassese and my former teammate/friend Coach Callahan, it was an opportunity I didn’t want to pass by.”

Also joining the staff is Compitello, a recent 2011 Stony Brook graduate. He will serve as assistant offensive coordinator, sub box coordinator and community lacrosse coordinator in his role as volunteer assistant coach. Compitello wrapped up a stellar collegiate career with 146 career points (68 goals, 78 assists), highlighted by his All-America junior campaign when he had 37 goals and 35 assists to help lead the Seawolves to the National Quarterfinals. Compitello scored three goals in an NCAA First Round win over Denver, one of which was a behind the crease dive shot that earned him an ESPN Top Play.

“I am extremely excited to join the staff at Lehigh University,” said Compitello. “Having the ability to work alongside, and learn from, an experienced coaching staff is an incredible opportunity. Coach Cassese and the Lehigh community have welcomed me with open arms and I can’t wait to get started.”

Compitello was an integral part of Stony Brook’s rise to national prowess, adding 35 points (17 goals, 18 assists) in 13 games last season to lead the Seawolves to the America East Championship Game. He was selected by the eventual Major League Lacrosse Champion Boston Cannons in the fifth round (35th overall) of last year’s collegiate draft. Compitello has extensive coaching experience with Dynamic Lacrosse, an organization that provides individual lessons, small group lessons, league training, positional focus clinics and more.

“Lehigh University is an incredible institution,” said Compitello. “The support they show to their athletic department is incredible. When looking at possible positions, this university afforded me the opportunity to work with a team and staff filled with incredible talent, and people. Also, the opportunity to work with a team that is right on the cusp of becoming a common name in the lacrosse community made this decision an easy one.”
Compitello is from Hauppage, N.Y., the same hometown as junior attackman Dante Fantoni.

Tom Cassese will also return in 2011 as Director of Quality Control. It will mark Cassese’s fifth year on the Lehigh coaching staff. He owns nearly 40 years of coaching experience, beginning with his tenure at Comsewogue in 1973.



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