National semifinalist Cornell dismisses men's lacrosse coach DeLuca
Move follows suspension of team over hazing; former Georgetown associate head coach Kerwick will take over as interim replacement
Nearly two months after the Cornell men’s lacrosse team was suspended from fall events because of hazing, the school announced Thursday that Ben DeLuca has been dismissed.
Matt Kerwick, who served as assistant coach for the Big Red last season and is a former associate head coach at Georgetown, will take over as the interim head coach while Cornell conducts a national search for DeLuca’s replacement. Last spring, the Big Red advanced to the national semifinals before losing, 16-14, to eventual champion Duke in Philadelphia.
A school investigation into the hazing, which occurred during team orientation in August, found a "presence of a culture within this group of treating new members as less than equals." The report, found on the university's website dedicated to the reporting of hazing incidents, detailed underage drinking by team members and said freshmen were expected to do menial tasks and chores.
Cornell athletic director Andrew Noel issued the following statement:
"This was a difficult decision, but our students are our first priority and there is no doubt now that new leadership is required.
"Matt is a proven leader and has held head coach positions at Hobart and Jacksonville University. I have great confidence in Matt's ability to lead the team in this time of transition. We are also confident in our ability to attract an exceptional head coach to lead the team forward in the tradition of Cornell lacrosse."
A news release announcing the dismissal did not mention the hazing report. It said: “While Cornell University recognizes the contributions DeLuca has made to our nationally ranked lacrosse program as a player and assistant coach, it is the university's belief that new leadership is required to best serve our students and to continue our lacrosse program's decades-long tradition of excellence."
DeLuca, who previously worked as a Cornell assistant, was promoted to head coach in June 2010. He led the team to an overall record of 37-11 (.771) and a mark of 16-2 in the Ivy League to go along with a pair of conference titles.
Former Cornell attackman Rob Pannell, who won the Tewaaraton Award as the sport’s top player last season, responded on Twitter:
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