Navy hires Joe Amplo as men's lacrosse coach

Bill Wagner
Contact Reporterbwagner@capgaznews.com

Navy has hired Joe Amplo as the eighth head coach in the 112-year history of its men’s lacrosse program. Athletic director Chet Gladchuk officially made the announcement of Amplo’s hiring early Wednesday afternoon, about an hour after The Capital broke the news.

Amplo replaces Rick Sowell, who was fired May 3 after eight seasons at the helm. Navy compiled a 54-56 record and shared three Patriot League regular season championships during Sowell’s tenure.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be named the next head coach at the United States Naval Academy. Having the opportunity to help develop the next group of our nation’s leaders is a responsibility that I do not take lightly,” Amplo said in a statement.

“I look forward to embracing everything the Naval Academy stands for, engaging with our alumni, immersing our family into this community and, most of all, developing life-long relationships with the members of our team as we work to add more successes to the rich history of Navy lacrosse,” Amplo added.

Amplo comes to the Naval Academy after spending seven seasons and eight total years as head coach of Marquette University. He was hired on February 4, 2011 to start the Marquette men’s lacrosse program from scratch and built the program into a consistent contender in the Big East Conference.

Amplo led Marquette to Big East Tournament championships in 2016 and 2017, earning automatic berths into the NCAA Tournament as a result.

“To begin, then lead a sport of a major Division I institution may be the most significant challenge in our profession. To do so with such astonishing short-term success is historic,” Gladchuk said in a statement.

“Marquette lacrosse with so many documented accomplishments is a tribute to a man whose untiring work ethic and determination provided life changing experiences to student-athletes,” Gladchuk added.

Amplo compiled a 52-53 overall record in seven seasons at Marquette. In 2016, the Golden Eagles finished 11-5 overall and 4-1 in the Big East.

Marquette beat Denver in the Big East Tournament championship then lost to North Carolina in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

“Joe built a foundation on vision, sound educational principles, competed against and beat the best and left a legacy of success that can now be carried over to his next challenge at Navy,” Gladchuk said. “Passion, perseverance and inspirational leadership define Joe Amplo and he will be the perfect fit at the Naval Academy where developing our nation’s future leaders is our priority and mission.”

Amplo was named Big East Conference Coach of the Year after just his second season at the helm after leading Marquette to a second place finish in its first season as member. That began a run of five straight appearances in the Big East Tournament semifinals.

Marquette is coming off a disappointing 2019 season in which it posted a 6-8 overall record and 2-3 conference mark. According to multiple media reports, the Golden Eagles had 19 players, including almost every starter, suspended due to a violation of team rules for the March 10 upset loss to Cleveland State.

Marquette posted a 5-8 record in its inaugural season of men’s lacrosse in 2013 then finished 6-10 the following season. However, the Golden Eagles turned the corner in their third season of existence, posting a 10-6 record and reaching the Big East semifinals.

“I am forever grateful to Marquette University, the people who believed in me, and the players who fought so tirelessly to build a nationally-recognized program,” said Amplo. “I will cherish the relationships that we built and the memories we all shared knowing those experiences have provided me with a framework to lead a program that I have always held in the highest regard.”

Amplo is a member of the NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Committee and served as an assistant for the United States national team that captured the Federation of International Lacrosse World Championship in 2018. He has already been named to the staff for the 2022 FIL World Championship by head coach John Danowski.

Amplo is a disciple of Danowski, currently head coach at Duke University. Amplo played for Danowski at Hofstra University then served as his assistant for a total of 10 years over two stints at the Long Island school.

Amplo is active on the lecture circuit and is the founder of the Team Amplify, which operates clinics, camps and competitive club teams for the Milwaukee-area lacrosse community. He has also been involved with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation and the Milwaukee Eagles wheelchair lacrosse team, which he partners with the Milwaukee Veteran Administration Hospital to help coach disabled and able-bodied United States veterans.

Amplo was the 2016 recipient of the USILA Howdy Myers Man of the Year Award, presented in honor of one of the sport’s most outstanding coaches. The annual award goes to an individual who has contributed to the game of lacrosse in a capacity over and above the normal efforts and in so doing, has shown unselfish and untiring devotion to the game.

As a player, Amplo was an All-America East selection as a senior in 1999 when he started all 16 games and led Hofstra to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals. A standout close defenseman, Amplo played in 58 games in his career and notched 91 ground balls, 40 of which came during his senior season.

The Farmingville, New York native attended Sachem High School in Lake Ronkonkoma, New York, where he earned four letters in both lacrosse and football and was an all-conference performer in both sports.

Amplo graduated from Hofstra in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in geography and earned a master’s degree in college student counseling. He and his wife Jennifer are the parents of three daughters — Sophia, Charlotte, and Lily.

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