Five months ago, Brian Kelly was tabbed to succeed Kyle Hannan at Goucher as head coach. Kelly, who had spent the previous five years as the team’s top offensive assistant, now has the unenviable task of taking over a squad that won four consecutive Landmark Conference regular-season titles and two of the last three league tournament championships and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament last season under Hannan, who was 121-79 in 12 years with the Gophers.

Following up the program’s most successful coach would seem to be a daunting task, but Kelly said he’s not feeling any pressure.

“I personally feel like I’ve been a large part of that success,” he said. “Obviously, Kyle has done a lot of great things in his coaching career, and it really comes down to that team mentality. He was the face of it, but there were a lot of long hours by our coaching staff in the offices and in the team rooms, talking about different strategies and messages that needed to be imparted to the team. So I feel a great stake in the success that was achieved under his leadership. I’m not pressured by it. I feel honored that I’m picking up the torch and carrying it on. So I don’t see it as pressure because I’ve been here and the only thing that’s really changing is the nameplate on the door. The practices, the program, the system, the concepts, those are all things that are staying consistent and not really changing. So hopefully, we’ll continue to be Goucher lacrosse.”

Kelly’s promotion means longer hours at the school’s Towson campus and with the players, but he said his transition has been aided by his familiarity with the players and their knowledge of him.

“The guys that are returning are very familiar with me and my coaching style, and I’m very familiar with them and their abilities,” Kelly said. “So relative to getting out on the field, it’s been pretty seamless. The practices are pretty much the same, they’re run the same way, we’re doing a lot of the same things relative to drills and how we approach practice. I played at [Johns] Hopkins and I’ve got some good relationships with the existing coaching staff. So we spent some time down there over the winter break and were able to watch them practice and incorporate some of the drills that they’re doing and leveraging some of those relationships to hopefully get the most out of this team.”