follow us on...

.@ArcadiaMLAX names VMI assistant Purpura as head coach

Friday, 9th November 2018

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 11/9/18
From Press Release

Arcadia University Director of Athletics Brian Granata announced the hiring of James Purpura as the Knights’ head men’s lacrosse coach on Friday afternoon.

Purpura assumes the position after serving as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator at Division I Virginia Military Institute (VMI) for the last three seasons.

“I am both honored and grateful for the opportunity to represent Arcadia University as the head men’s lacrosse coach,” said Purpura “I want to thank Director of Athletics Brian Granata, the search committee, and the entire Arcadia University community for bestowing their confidence in me to coach, teach and mentor the men’s lacrosse program.”

James Purpura, named men’s head lacrosse coach

“We are thrilled to welcome coach Purpura into the Arcadia community,” said Granata. “He is a tireless worker and fully equipped to take over our men’s lacrosse program. Coach Purpura truly understands what it takes to be successful in college lacrosse and strives to develop student-athletes on and off the field. He has benefited greatly from several influential mentors and is positioned well to establisha successful and sustainable lacrosse program at Arcadia. His passion for the game is infectious and his level of professionalism is second to none.”

In addition to his duties as offensive coordinator, Purpura also served as the Keydets’ recruiting coordinator. Under Purpura’s offense in 2018, senior midfielder Wesley Sanders became the 17th Keydet in program history to join the 100-Point Club as he finished his career with 102 points. Sanders also joined the 70-Goal Club at VMI, becoming the 13th Keydet in program history to achieve the rank.

In Purpura’s his first year on staff at VMI, the Keydets’ offense improved in nearly every statistical category, including scoring the most goals per game in half a decade. Under Purpura’s leadership in 2017, Sanders was named First Team All-Southern Conference and freshman attackman John Daniel was named to the Southern Conference All-Freshman team after guiding the Keydets’ offense with 34 points.

“I could not be more excited to get to Arcadia and begin building a program that is built on attitude, effort and integrity,” added Purpura. “We will be relentless in our pursuit of being the best we can be as students in the classroom, players on the field, and as leaders in the community. Our culture will help fuel our vision as a program to graduate young men of character and to compete at the highest level within Division III lacrosse.”

Purpura arrived at VMI after serving as the offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator at Queens University of Charlotte in 2016. Under his leadership, the Royals’ offense broke the school record for most goals scored in a season. The Royals also finished with the second-most wins in program history (11), made a SAC Conference Championship appearance, and were ranked as high as No. 12 in the country in Division II. In one season, Purpura helped coach and develop six All-SAC selections, including both the SAC Player of the Year and SAC Scholar-Athlete of the year, as well as one Major League Lacrosse player.

Prior to Queens, Purpura was a graduate assistant coach at Frostburg State during the 2015 season. Purpura helped lead a fifth-year program to the first national ranking in program history, ranking as high as No. 17 in the nation. The Bobcats finished with the most wins in program history (16) and made their first CAC Conference Championship appearance. Purpura assisted with a defense that gave up the fewest goals allowed per game in program history (6.16), which ranked sixth in the nation in Division III. Purpura helped coach and develop eight All-CAC selections and the program’s first three USILA All-Americans.

“I offer my sincere thanks to the head coaches I have had the privilege of learning from that have guided me to this exciting new chapter in my career. I have been able to learn invaluable lessons at each stop as an assistant and I look forward to applying them to Arcadia men’s lacrosse,” said Purpura.

A native of Pittsford, N.Y., Purpura began his collegiate career at Mount Saint Mary’s before transferring to SUNY Geneseo. While at Geneseo, Purpura helped the Knights climb as high as No. 12 in the national rankings, and the Knights made consecutive SUNYAC playoff appearances, including one SUNYAC Championship appearance.

A 2013 graduate of SUNY Geneseo with a B.A. in sociology, he earned his Masters of Education in interdisciplinary studies from Frostburg State in 2015.


“James is one of the hardest working and most loyal coaches and people I know. He coaches and leads with passion by putting his players first. We have been incredibly lucky the last three years at VMI to have James leading and mentoring our cadet student-athletes on and off the field.” – Jon Birsner, Head Lacrosse Coach at VMI

“I have had great assistants in the past who have gone on to coach at the Division I level and I knew right away that James would be a great head coach when I had him as an assistant. He has a great work ethic, is always working to get better, and has a great mind for the game. I feel he will really help Arcadia get to the next level.” – Jim Fritz, Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach at Brevard College

“I’ve had so many great discussions with Purps on coaching and leadership, and all the time thinking about things like mental toughness, team culture and self-development. Arcadia’s men’s lacrosse team is in great hands. This is a coach that knows what he’s doing” – Eric Hoffberg, Owner of Coach It Forward



Latest Headlines