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.@DelawareMLAX selects Ben DeLuca as Head Coach

Thursday, 25th May 2017

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 5/25/17
From Press Release

An exciting new era in the rich history of University of Delaware men’s lacrosse is now underway as Ben DeLuca, who has enjoyed national success as a student-athlete, assistant coach, and head coach over the last two decades, has been selected to lead the Blue Hens program.

DeLuca (pronounced “dee-luke-uh”), who spent the last two seasons as associate head coach at Harvard University, becomes just the ninth coach in the 67-year history of the sport at Delaware and replaces legendary mentor Bob Shillinglaw, who retired this spring after winning 310 games and leading the Blue Hens to six NCAA Tournament appearances and 16 conference titles over a 39-year career.

“I am so excited to welcome Ben and his family to the Blue Hens family,” said Delaware Director of Athletics and Recreation Services Chrissi Rawak. “Ben believes strongly in the pursuit of excellence on and off the field and embodies the core values that drive the decisions we make everyday in Delaware Athletics.

“In addition, he brings to us an incredible knowledge of the game of lacrosse and an understanding that the University of Delaware is a very special place. We have such a passionate group of Delaware lacrosse alumni and I know Ben will build a strong connection with them. There is absolutely no doubt that Ben will make our men’s lacrosse program, this department, and this University better.”

DeLuca comes to Delaware with an impressive history of success as a student-athlete and coach at three of the nation’s top academic and NCAA Division I lacrosse-playing institutions – Cornell University, Duke University, and Harvard University. During that time he has led teams to 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, including a national championship title as an assistant at Duke, a national runner-up finish as an assistant at Cornell, and three other NCAA semifinal appearances as a head coach and as an assistant.

“My family and I want to thank President (Dennis) Assanis and Chrissi Rawak for this special opportunity and for the trust they have showed in inviting us to share in their mission to lead the renaissance of this great program together,” said DeLuca. “I am excited and honored to take over a program from someone like Bob Shillinglaw who has meant so much to this University and to the entire sport of lacrosse. I agree wholeheartedly with Chrissi’s vision of comprehensive excellence in all facets of the student-athlete experience.

“We want to be great in the sport of lacrosse, but we want to be excellent in the classroom and leaders in the community as well. I take very seriously my role as an educator, mentor, and role model and will lead our central mission to develop young men into men and prepare them for life after college. Our program aspires to produce polished, accomplished, admirable men who will graduate and become ambassadors for the University of Delaware and Blue Hen Lacrosse. Hard work, integrity, character and a passion for greatness will be the hallmarks of our program. Well done is better than well said, and here at the University of Delaware we believe our actions will speak louder than our words.”

Following an outstanding playing career for the Big Red, he joined the coaching ranks at his alma mater and served for 14 years, including three seasons as head coach in 2011-13. He then served for two seasons as an assistant coach to John Danowski at Duke in 2014-15 and the last two seasons as associate head coach at Harvard for head coach Chris Wojcik. Among his fellow staff members at Harvard was former Delaware starting goalkeeper and captain Noah Fossner.

In two seasons at Harvard, DeLuca helped lead the Crimson to a 14-15 record, including an 8-8 mark in 2016 when the team advanced to the Ivy League Championship game after knocking off top-seeded and No. 2 ranked Brown in the semifinals. That victory was one of three for the Crimson over a nationally ranked opponent, with Harvard also defeating then No. 4 Duke, 14-9, and then No. 20 Villanova, 13-12. The win over the Wildcats came in the season opener in overtime as the Crimson became just the second team in NCAA history to win three-consecutive games in overtime.

At the conclusion of the year, Bobby Duvnjak (third team), Devin Dwyer (third team), and Joe Lang (honorable mention) were named to the USILA All-America teams, with a total of six individuals garnering All-Ivy League honors. This spring, Harvard attackman Morgan Cheek earned honorable mention USILA honors and three other Crimson players earned All-Ivy League honors.

DeLuca came to Cambridge after spending the previous two seasons as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator under Danowski at Duke, helping the Blue Devils to the 2014 national championship and the ACC regular season championship. DeLuca coached four defensive All-American’s in his first season in Durham. Duke also advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2015.

Prior to Duke, DeLuca spent 18 years at Cornell as both a student-athlete and coach, including three seasons as head coach from 2011-13. The Big Red won a pair of Ivy titles with DeLuca at the helm, posting an overall record of 37-11 with a conference mark of 16-2. Cornell also made two appearances in the NCAA tournament, reaching the quarterfinals in 2011 and the national semifinals in 2013. Twelve student-athletes earned All-America recognition under DeLuca’s tutelage, including Rob Pannell who graduated from Cornell as the NCAA’s career leader in points (354).

Prior to his time as head coach, DeLuca served 11 seasons as both an assistant and associate head coach. Cornell made nine NCAA tournament appearances, including two national semifinals appearances in 2007 and 2010 and a trip to the national championship game in 2009. DeLuca was named as the IMLCA Assistant Coach of the Year in 2007.

Over his 17-year coaching career, DeLuca has recruited and developed more than a dozen first team All-Americans, two Tewaaraton Award winners, seven Ivy League Player of the Year honorees, and 40-plus All-Ivy League selections. In addition, DeLuca has mentored a pair of Lt. Raymond Enners Award winners, an En. C.M. Kelly Award winner, a Schmeisser Cup award winner, three recipients of the Lt. J.G. Donald MacGlaughlin, Jr. Award, and two Jack Turnbull Award winners.

DeLuca also has gained invaluable international coaching experience representing the United States as a member the U.S. Men’s National Team staff in 2014 and will serve with the team again in 2018.

Throughout his coaching tenure, DeLuca has invested in the development of the young men under his guidance outside the realm of lacrosse as well, mentoring numerous Academic All-Ivy and Academic All-Atlantic Coast Conference selections, more than a dozen USILA Academic All-America selections, multiple CoSIDA Academic All-America selections, and a pair of Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award winners.

In the community, DeLuca’s student-athletes have been heavily involved in the community, volunteering with such organizations as the American Cancer Society, the American Red Cross, Children’s Dream Factory of Central New York, Mario St. George Boiardi Foundation, Family Reading Partnership of Central New York, children’s literacy, Harvard’s Team Impact, and Duke’s Lead the Way Foundation.

He was a four-year letterwinner on defense for the Big Red, and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional sciences and biochemistry in 1998. He was elected as a co-captain for his senior campaign in 1998, and was voted as the team’s Outstanding Senior Athlete for his leadership and dedication on and off the field.

A native of Rochester, N.Y, DeLuca is married to the former Laurie Tortorelli, a former All-American goalie for the women’s lacrosse team at the University of Delaware. Laurie was a four-year starter in goal in 1999-2002 and led the Hens to the NCAA Tournament in 2000 and an America East conference title in 1999. She still ranks No. 2 all-time at Delaware with 754 saves and No. 3 in minutes played (3,767).

Benton A. “Ben” DeLuca
Born: January 29, 1975
Hometown: Rochester, N.Y.
Playing Career: Four-year letterwinner on defense at Cornell (1995-98). Team captain in 1998; Team Outstanding Senior Athlete, 1998; Team advanced to NCAA Tournament in 1995
Degree: Cornell ‘98 (Nutritional Sciences & Biochemistry)
Family: Wife Laurie; Daughters, Elizabeth (8), Anne (6)

2000-10 – Assistant/Associate Head Coach, Cornell University (9 NCAA Tournament appearances; ‘09 NCAA National Runner-up; ‘10 NCAA Semifinals; ‘07 NCAA Semifinals)
2011-13 – Head Coach, Cornell University (37-11 overall record, 16-2 Ivy League record; ‘13 NCAA Semifinals; ‘11 NCAA Quarterfinals)
2014-15 – Assistant Coach, Duke University (‘14 NCAA Champions; ‘15 NCAA Tournament)
2016-17 – Associate Head Coach, Harvard University (‘16 Ivy League runner-up)
2017-Present – Head Coach, University of Delaware


Bob Scalise, John D. Nichols ‘53 Family Director of Athletics, Harvard University:
“Ben is one of the great young coaches in the game of lacrosse today. We are grateful for all of his contributions to our program and look to forward to watching him accomplish great things for Delaware Lacrosse.”

Dr. Kevin White, Vice President, Director of Athletics & Adjunct Professor of Business Administration, Duke University:
“Ben DeLuca never failed to impress me during his tenure at Duke. He was a terrific coach and an even better man. Ben’s leadership was a major factor in Duke’s national championship in 2014, but beyond that, his personal impact on the young men he coached was profound and enduring. This is an absolutely brilliant hire for the University of Delaware.”

John Danowski, Duke University Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach:
“I am thrilled beyond words to learn of the appointment of Ben DeLuca as head men’s lacrosse coach at the University of Delaware. It was an honor for me to work alongside Ben for two years. Professionally, he checks all the boxes, well-prepared, organized, detail-oriented, open to new ideas, enthusiastic, a great communicator. But what sets him apart is his dedication to a young man’s development as a student, athlete and person and his core values, specifically his faith, family and friends.”

Bob Shillinglaw, Former Delaware Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach, University of Delaware (1979-2017; 310 wins; 2-time USILA National Coach of the Year):
“I am extremely excited to welcome Ben DeLuca to the Blue Hen Family as the next lacrosse coach at the University of Delaware along with his wife Laurie and daughters Elizabeth and Anne. Ben’s resume speaks for itself. During his coaching career he coached with some of the sport’s greatest mentors. He has a long history of success coaching teams to the NCAA tournament while emphasizing academics, community service, alumni involvement and career development. The University of Delaware is extremely fortunate to have someone of Ben’s character and most importantly passion to be the next head lacrosse coach.”

Rob Pannell, Cornell ‘13 (2013 Tewaaraton Trophy as National Player of the Year; No. 2 all-time in NCAA with 354 career points; 2016 MLL Offensive Player of the Year):
“The University of Delaware is not only getting a great coach with great knowledge of the sport and what it takes to win at the highest level but more importantly they are getting a great person. Coach DeLuca cares about having success, but that success goes far beyond the lacrosse field. It goes into the classroom and community and having players leave campus as young men ready to take on anything that may come their way. Coach DeLuca is a passionate leader and I couldn’t be more excited for the current members of the team, the University of Delaware and Coach DeLuca and his family to start a new chapter for the UD lacrosse program!”

John Grant, Jr., UD Lacrosse Alum ‘99 (UD Athletics Hall of Fame; 1999 USILA National Player of the Year; Two-time NLL Most Valuable Player; 2-time MLL Most Valuable Player):
“As a proud alum of the University of Delaware Lacrosse program, I am so excited to have Ben DeLuca as the next head coach. Ben has a championship pedigree and has coached with some of the best lacrosse minds in the history of the game. Ben is a tireless recruiter and has a strong desire to mentor his student athletes on and off the field. He has developed numerous All Americans and two Tewaaraton winners in his illustrious career and helped develop some of the top Ivy League students in the country. Ben is a proven winner and I look forward to him leading our Hens back to national prominence.”

Bob Smith, UD Alum ‘83 (1983 Team Captain; 3 East Coast Conference team titles):
“The Delaware alumni is extremely excited to welcome a new coach who has been so successful at inspiring and developing young men and winning at the highest level. We look forward the journey and future we will share with Ben DeLuca.”

Steve Shaw, UD Lacrosse Alum ‘86 (UD Athletics Hall of Fame; 3-time All-American; former NCAA all-time faceoff leader)
“I could not be more excited for the University of Delaware, the Players and the Alumni that our new coach is Ben DeLuca. We have been so fortunate over the years to have a great man in Bob Shillinglaw lead our program and we will continue that tradition with Ben.”

David Spartin, UD Board of Trustee member:
“Ben has the kind of championship-caliber experience that will help take UD lacrosse to the next level. His passion and commitment to helping student-athletes succeed in the classroom, in the community, and on the field are a perfect fit for Delaware.”

Dr. Chris Kennedy, Senior Deputy Director of Athletics & Adjunct Professor of English, Duke University:
“I had the pleasure of working very closely with Ben DeLuca during his two years at Duke. It quickly became evident to me that he combines a thorough knowledge of the game of lacrosse with an uncompromising commitment to the welfare of the student-athlete. At Duke, the players absolutely loved him; so will his players at the University of Delaware.”



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