Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/15/23
From Press Release
Lehigh Men’s Head Coach Will Scudder (Haverford School) has announced the promotions of Matt Francis (North Penn) to associate head coach and Matt Licciardi to offensive coordinator.
Francis and Licciardi both spent the 2023 season on staff with the Mountain Hawks.
In his elevated position as associate head coach, Francis will also assume the role of recruiting coordinator and will continue to coach the defense and goalies
“I am so happy for coach Scudder to be leading the Lehigh Lacrosse Program,” said Francis. “Coach Scudder has poured his heart and soul into this program and to our players for 14-plus years, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to work alongside him as we continue this journey together. The future is bright for Lehigh Lacrosse, and I am as fired up as ever to get to work and bring the Patriot League Championship back to Bethlehem.”
In his first season at Lehigh, Francis guided the Mountain Hawks to 10 wins and a trip to the Patriot League Semifinals. He helped mentor Richard Checo, who earned honorable mention All-American honors and was named to the first team All-Patriot League. Checo led the nation in caused turnovers with 3.64 per game.
The Mountain Hawks were also 11th in the nation this past season in caused turnovers per game (9.67).
Francis guided goaltender Nick Pecora, who was second in Patriot League saves per game (11.67) on a 51.3% save percentage.
Francis also spends time with the faceoff unit. In 2023, Lehigh’s faceoff unit ranked first in the nation in team faceoff percentage as Mike Sisselberger led the country in faceoff win percentage at 65.2%.
“I could not be more grateful and excited to have Matt Francis by my side in my first year as a head coach,” said head coach Will Scudder. “I have known coach Francis for more than 10 years, and he is a consummate professional that brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our staff. His positive energy is infectious, and his work ethic reflects what we look for in a Lehigh lacrosse man.”
Licciardi was the assistant offensive coordinator and the substitution box coach this past season, and now assumes the full-time role of offensive coordinator.
“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity. I want to say thank you to Kevin Cassese for bringing me into the Lehigh Lacrosse Family and laying the foundation for this elite program,” Licciardi said. “Additionally, I’d like to thank Will Scudder and Matt Francis for helping me grow and develop as a coach and person over the past year. Lehigh University is an outstanding institution and one that I’m extremely proud to be apart of. I’m excited and thankful that I get to continue to work with some of the best student-athletes in the country.”
In 2023, the Mountain Hawks were third in the nation in shooting percentage (34.2%) and were first in the Patriot League. They ranked fifth in the nation in assists per game, also good for first in the Patriot League (8.80).
Lehigh was also 21st in the nation in extra man offense (.444), as Licciardi helped coach and develop one of the top leading point scoring attack lines in the country in Scott Cole, Justin Tiernan and Christian Mule’. The trio combined for 203 points this past season.
“Matt Licciardi is mature beyond his years,” Scudder said. “I had a front row seat to his development last year, and saw him grow as a coach exponentially throughout the season. He has a very bright lacrosse mind and a championship-caliber work ethic. I could not be more confident in coach Licciardi’s ability to lead our offense and am excited to see him expand on the success we had last year.”
Under Licciardi’s tutelage, Cole developed into a top five-point scorer in the country and was named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year. Cole scored 75 points (49 G, 26 A) this past season.