Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/19/23
From Press Release
Lehigh’s Will Scudder, a Lehigh alum and Haverford School graduate, has been elevated to the head coach of the Mountain Hawks after veteran mentor Kevin Cassese – according to Inside Lacrosse – accepted a position as associate head coach at Virginia.
Scudder, Lehigh Class of 2011, is a former team captain and All-Patriot League honoree. He recently completed his 10th season on Lehigh’s coaching staff and his fifth as associate head coach. He has served as Lehigh’s defensive coordinator since 2016.
Cassese was head coach for 16 years at Lehigh, building Lehigh into a perennial Patriot League power.
The owner of the most coaching victories (136) and best winning percentage (.567) in program history, Cassese led the Mountain Hawks to three NCAA Tournament appearances, winning Patriot League Tournament titles in 2012 and 2013 and earning the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championships as the top seed in the Patriot League in 2021.
A two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year, Cassese’s Lehigh teams played in six Patriot League championship games. Under his leadership the Mountain Hawks have qualified for 12 consecutive Patriot League Tournaments, the longest active streak among league schools.
“Kevin Cassese transformed our program into one that is nationally competitive and nationally respected,” said Lehigh Dean of Athletics Joe Sterrett ‘76. “We are deeply grateful to Kevin for his exceptional service and leadership over 16 years, and while we will miss him at Lehigh, we also appreciate and support his decision to pursue a position at an institution he holds in high regard. We wish Kevin and the Cassese family only the very best always.”
In 2023, Cassese led the Mountain Hawks to a 10-5 overall record and a 6-2 Patriot League mark. Lehigh reached the Patriot League semifinals for the fifth consecutive season.
Cassese’s Lehigh student-athletes achieved both on and off the field. Twenty-four Mountain Hawks earned All-America honors during Cassese’s tenure. Cassese mentored 70 All-Patriot League performers and 12 Patriot League major award winners. This past season Mike Sisselberger became a three-time Patriot League Faceoff Specialist of the Year while Scott Cole was the league’s Offensive Player of the Year.
Cole was also named Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year, marking the fourth time in Cassese’s tenure that a Lehigh student-athlete won the award. Cassese mentored 18 USILA Scholar All-Americans and coached Jonathan Stumpf (2011) and Conor Gaffney (2018, 2019, 2022), who earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors.
Cassese also coached 25 players who have gone on to compete in the professional ranks, including four who are currently active in the Premier Lacrosse League.
“I am incredibly grateful for the 16 years I spent at Lehigh University,” Cassese said. “In particular, I am grateful to Dean of Athletics, Joe Sterrett, for taking a chance on a 26-year old kid with only 3 years of coaching experience. I am grateful for all the blood, sweat, and tears my players and coaches put into this program over the years, and I am proud of the men they became during their time in Bethlehem.
“I am also grateful for the alumni and parent support that allowed us to operate the way we needed to in order to compete at the highest level within the Patriot League and on the national stage. At the end of the day, I’m grateful for it all, and I can unequivocally say that I will forever be a Lehigh Lacrosse Man. My goal was to leave Lehigh Lacrosse in a better place than how I found it. I feel that goal was accomplished and I am extremely proud of that. I wish Lehigh Lacrosse nothing but great success moving forward.
Scudder was a faceoff specialist on Cassese’s first four Lehigh teams from 2008-11. He returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach in 2014 and has been on staff for four of Lehigh’s six Patriot League title game appearances in that time frame.
“I have been at Lehigh for 14 years, four as a player and now 10 as a coach,” Scudder said. “As a player, I wanted nothing more than to legitimize and instill a sense of pride into our program. As a coach, I have fallen in love with this profession. There is no off switch for me. Whether we are in season or in the depths of recruiting, I am always thinking of ways to improve our program. That is because this team is my family and this school is my home.
“I want to thank President Helble, Joe Sterrett, and Sue Troyan for entrusting me with the Lehigh Lacrosse program. I am forever grateful for this opportunity and could not be more excited for the future of Lehigh lacrosse!”
“I could not be more excited for Will Scudder to take over as the next head coach of Lehigh Lacrosse,” Cassese said. “This appointment is well deserved and well earned. Will was a freshman when I got the job at Lehigh and went on to become a captain, then a volunteer assistant, full time assistant, associate head coach, and now the head coach. Nobody bleeds brown and white more and nobody knows Lehigh better than Will Scudder. He will be terrific.”
In 2023, Scudder’s defense allowed 11.5 goals per game as the Mountain Hawks limited opponents to single digit goals in five of their last seven games. First-year Richard Checo burst onto the scene, setting a school record with 54 caused turnovers and leading the nation with 3.60 caused turnovers per game. Checo was a first team All-Patriot League honoree and an honorable mention All-American.
Sisselberger capped his stellar career as a three-time Patriot League Faceoff Specialist of the Year and a three-time All-American. Along with Gaffney (2019), Scudder has worked with the last four Patriot League Faceoff Specialists of the Year.
Since taking over as defensive coordinator in 2016, Scudder has coached five players on the back end that have earned All-America recognition. Checo joins Teddy Leggett, goalie James Spence, Anthony Tangredi, and three-time All-American Craig Chick as Mountain Hawk defenders that earned All-America laurels with Scudder leading Lehigh’s defensive unit.
“We have great confidence in the leadership of Will Scudder, who has been instrumental in every aspect of our Lehigh Lacrosse program for the past 14 years,” Sterrett said. “Will could have been a head coach years ago, but chose to remain a vital part of what he was helping to build at Lehigh, and Lehigh Lacrosse is better for it. He has the enthusiastic support of our staff, our administration, our most engaged lacrosse alumni and most importantly our lacrosse athletes. The present and future are both very bright for Lehigh Lacrosse!”
Scudder played in 51 games over his career in the Brown and White, highlighted by his junior campaign when he won 56 percent of his faceoffs (140-of-251) to earn second team All-Patriot League honors. This came after a sophomore season which saw him win 56 percent (152-of-273) with 69 groundballs. Scudder played a key role in the rise of the Mountain Hawks’ program, advancing to the league tournament as a senior in 2011 and helping set the stage for the two straight Patriot League Championships that followed in 2012 and 2013.
Scudder ended his collegiate career by winning 331-of-612 faceoffs (54.1 percent) with 156 groundballs. He also added three goals and four assists. Scudder played in the prestigious North-South Senior All-Star Game following his senior campaign.
Upon graduation, Scudder worked with A.G. Administrators, Inc. in the sports insurance industry from Summer 2011 until Spring 2013, while also serving as an assistant lacrosse coach at Great Valley High School in Fall 2012 and Spring 2013. While at Great Valley, he helped lead the school to its first league title, coached six first team all-league players, two members of the all-state team and one All-American. He then moved onto Fever Lacrosse Inc. in Haverford, Pa. where he served as Director of Operations, in charge of managing tournaments, camps, clinics, and the 14 club teams within the Fever Program.
An Exton native, Scudder resides in Historic Bethlehem with his wife Megan ‘10 (a former women’s lacrosse player), son William III and daughter Brooke.
“I want to express my gratitude to Coach Cassese, who has been my coach, mentor and friend for 16 years,” Scudder said. “In every role, I have been privileged to benefit from his guidance, counsel and most importantly his trust and faith in me. I am truly honored to have been chosen to be a part of his legacy. I wish him the best of luck as he moves on to the next stage of his career.”