By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/16/19
Dan Keating’s coaching career has come full circle.
The former Lehigh and St. Joseph’s University assistant coach began his Philly coaching career with a successful three-year stint (61-22 record) at St. Joseph’s Prep from 2006-08. Today, Keating returned to those roots, accepting the job as head coach once again at The Prep.
Keating has taken a whirlwind trip through the high school and college coaching ranks since leaving The Prep.
He served as an assistant under John McEvoy at Malvern Prep in 2009 and then took over as head coach in 2010 (McEvoy later returned as head coach in 2013). Keating then left to become an assistant at Lehigh and moved the next year to St. Joseph’s University where he spent 7 years as the top assistant for former Lehigh assistant Taylor Wray.
Last year Keating was an assistant at Stockton University and helped the Ospreys reach the NCAA Division III tourney for the first time. Just 6 weeks ago Keating took a job as a volunteer assistant at D1 Bryant under Mike Pressler – Keating’s head coach when he played at Duke in the late 1990s – but after a brief time he decided commuting to Rhode Island was too diffuclt with his wife and two children living in South Jersey.
Last weekend St. Joe’s Prep began searching for a new coach and contacted Keating. His answer was swift and decisive: Yes, and this is where I want to stay.
“It was great to be with coach Pressler, but from a family situation, it was best for me to come home,” said Keating, who also will serve as Assistant Director of Student Activities. “Given the relationships with the people at St. Joe’s Prep, and with the AD, Dennis Hart, and the kids there, I felt it was a great opportunity to get back there.
“I can’t wait to get started. I don’t know anyone in the program; the first goal is to get to know the players. I am really looking forward to t; it’s a place I hold near and dear to my heart.”
Keating was confident in saying – despite a writer comparing him to the Larry Brown of coaching lacrosse as a nomad who moved around a lot – that he wants to make his roots in Philly at St. Joe’s Prep. He even said his brother, Mike, his top assistant his first time at The Prep, will return as assistant coach.
“I look forward to bridging the alums to the current program,” Keating said. “We’ll have our work cut out for us. We’ll take take each day, one day at a time. The most important thing is to begin to get to know the guys. I am really going in blindly.
“To be honest, I really thought I was on track at one point in time to be a college head coach. I was working towards that. I had 7 great years at St. Joseph’s University and one at Lehigh.
“But this is a great opportunity with great administrators and a great school. This is where I can be very happy and have a chance to call home.”
St. Joe’s Prep has gone to the PIAA finals twice – in 2011 and 2015, when it fell to Radnor in overtime. Since that year The Prep has not been able to contend with mighty La Salle in the Catholic League, although in 2019 the Hawks (14-10) did win a PIAA Class AAA game over District 11 champion Emmaus and gave Garnet Valley a tough game in the second round.
“Coaching even for a short time under Mike Pressler was an excellent opportunity,” said Keating. “And I have had the chance to learn from some other great coaches that were very instrumental in my life – Coach Pressler, Taylor Wray, Kevin Cassese (Lehigh coach). The circle of influence is pretty strong.”
“St. Joe’s Prep has a chance to be consistently competitive. I have stayed in touch with a lot of alums and in fact I got to coach a lot of St. Joe’s Prep alums at St. Joseph’s University. I also got to coach against a lot of them. This is a time to reconnect.”
In seven years at Saint Joseph’s, Keating has helped guide the Hawks to a 61-47 record, including four 11-win seasons over the last five years, and a 25-5 record in five Northeast Conference regular seasons.
Keating developed three NEC Offensive Player of the Year selections over his last four seasons at St. Joe’s University: Mike Rastivo (2016, 2015) and Ryan McGee (2014), as well as the 2016 NEC Player of the Year in Rastivo and the 2015 NEC Rookie of the Year, Chris Blewitt. Additionally, under Keating’s direction, the Hawks saw history made as Rastivo earned USILA/Nike All-American Honorable Mention accolades, marking the first All-American recognition in program history.
Keating worked as the extra man offensive coordinator and assistant offensive coordinator at Lehigh. In 2011, the Lehigh Extra Man Unit finished ninth in the country in terms of scoring percentage and second in the Patriot League in terms of goals scored. As the assistant offensive coordinator, Keating helped develop the Lehigh offense that finished the 2011 season averaging 10.44 goals per game.
In 2010 when he coached at Malvern, Keating won the regular season Inter-Ac Championship. Under his leadership, Malvern produced two High-School All-Americans, one Underarmour All-American, three All-State players, and five All Inter-Ac First Team selections.
Keating also coached at The Taft School (CT). During his three years at St. Joseph’s Prep, Keating coached 24 All-Catholic First Team players, three of whom earned All-State honors.
A 1999 graduate of Duke University, Keating was a member of three NCAA Tournament teams, including the Blue Devils’ 1997 squad that reached the NCAA Final Four. Keating was a member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll and earned his master’s degree in Secondary Education from Saint Joseph’s University.