Former Cornell lacrosse coach breaks silence about firing

Ben DeLuca

The former head lacrosse coach fired by Cornell University is breaking his silence.

Ben DeLuca just issued a statement through an attorney saying he has been overwhelmed by support.

DeLuca was dismissed on November 14. "For reasons which still remain unclear to me, after seventeen years as a student-athlete and coach in the Men's Lacrosse program at Cornell University, I will be parting ways with the University and move on to the next chapter in my professional career. I am grateful for the opportunities that Cornell University has given to me," DeLuca said. "To all of those friends, parents, students, alumni, and mentors who have reached out to me and my family in recent days, your support has been overwhelming and humbling. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart."

DeLuca says he is extraordinarily proud of the way the student-athletes on the team have conducted themselves and is proud of their accomplishments.

Cornell officials have said while they recognize DeLuca's contributions, the university wants to move in a new direction. They did not say whether a hazing incident in September played a part in the firing. Freshman players were reportedly treated as "less than equals." There were even reports of an organized keg race where freshman were tied up in a circle and made to drink large amounts of beer in a competition against each other. In light of the incident, the team's fall games were cancelled during the investigation.

Assistant coach Matt Kerwick will serve as interim head coach while the school searches for a new head coach.