Ben DeLuca, a fixture on the Big Red men TMs lacrosse sideline for the past decade, has been named The Richard M. Moran Head Coach of Men's Lacrosse at Cornell, it was announced Friday afternoon by Andy Noel, the Meakem*Smith Director of Athletics and Physical Education. DeLuca becomes the 10th head coach in program history, replacing Jeff Tambroni, who resigned to take the head coach position at Penn State on Thursday.
"I couldn't be more thrilled than to name Ben DeLuca as our new Richard M. Moran Head Coach of Men's Lacrosse," said Andy Noel, the Meakem*Smith Director of Athletics and Physical Education. "Ben is a terrific coach and leader of young men, but most importantly he is the person that we as a university and lacrosse community most want to represent our program. This is a happy day for Cornell lacrosse, and I know Ben will pour his heart and soul into this terrific opportunity."
"My family and I are both humbled and excited by the opportunity offered by Andy Noel and Dr. Susan Murphy to represent Cornell University as the next head coach of lacrosse," DeLuca said. "I am thrilled to remain at my alma mater and to have the chance to lead such a great group of young men. Finally, I want to thank Jeff Tambroni for being a great mentor and a friend to me over the years. As a Cornell alumnus, no one appreciates more than I do what he has accomplished in bringing this program into the national spotlight in recent years. I look forward to the challenge of carrying on Cornell TMs great lacrosse tradition and keeping the Big Red moving forward."
During DeLuca TMs time as both an assistant and associate head coach at Cornell, the East Hill has seen a resurgence of one of the greatest programs in the history of collegiate lacrosse as the Big Red has advanced to three final fours in the past four seasons, including a spot in the national championship game in 2009.
In total, DeLuca has spent 16 years at Cornell, including four years as a player for the Big Red before serving as an assistant coach for two seasons. A brief two-year hiatus took DeLuca away from Ithaca and into the business world, but he returned prior to the 2002 season and he was promoted to the top assistant position under Tambroni in the summer of 2003. He became the first Mario St. George Boiardi Assistant Coach of Men's Lacrosse the following year and was promoted to associate head coach following the 2007 season.
Since rejoining the coaching staff in 2002, DeLuca has helped the Big Red to an undefeated regular season (13-0), six 11-win seasons, a pair of nine-win seasons and eight Ivy League titles. Under his tutelage, 11 of Cornell's defensive players have earned first-team All-Ivy, as well as All-America honors, including three-time All-American selection Matt Moyer ~09. DeLuca was also key in the development of Mitch Belisle '07, who became Cornell's first winner of the USILA's Schmeisser Cup, given to the nation's best defender, since Chris Kane garnered the award in 1978.
DeLuca, the 2007 IMLCA Assistant Coach of the Year, has been the Big Red's defensive coordinator for the past seven seasons and during that time the Cornell defense has become consistently one of the best in the nation. During the 2010 campaign, DeLuca earned great praise as the Big Red advanced to the NCAA semifinals with two freshmen defenders playing in front of a freshman goalie. Cornell ended the season ranked 15th in the nation in scoring defense (8.72). That performance came on the heels of a 2009 campaign in which DeLuca did one of his best coaching jobs to date. Faced with nearly an entirely new defensive unit, the Big Red jelled over the second half of the season as Cornell advanced to the national championship game. Despite finishing the year ranked 17th in the nation in scoring defense (8.41) and 28th in man-down defense (.667), the Big Red posted significantly better numbers in its final eight games, holding opponents to just 7.35 goals per game and killing 75 percent of its opponents TM extra-man opportunities.
DeLuca donned the Carnelian Red and White for three years under legendary coach Richie Moran, before becoming a captain his senior year under former head coach Dave Pietramala. A four-year letter winner on defense for the Big Red, he was voted the team's outstanding senior athlete for his leadership and dedication on and off the field. DeLuca earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional sciences and biochemistry in 1998.
A native of Rochester, N.Y., DeLuca resides in Ithaca with his wife, Laurie and their daughter, Elizabeth.
Tambroni leaves Cornell as the second all-time winningest coach in program history with a record of 109-40. The 2009 Morris Touchstone Award winner as the USILA Coach of the Year, Tambroni was also named the 2007 and the 2009 FieldTurf/NCAA Division I Coach of the Year in men TMs lacrosse, as well as the Ithaca Journal Male Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2009. Tambroni led the Big Red to eight Ivy League titles and the 2010 campaign marked the eighth time that Cornell advanced to the NCAA tournament during his tenure, making it to the quarterfinal round six times, the semifinals three times and the national championship game once.
"I also join the Cornell lacrosse community in wishing Coach Tambroni much success and happiness at Penn State," Noel said. "We appreciate all that he invested in the young men in our program and he leaves Coach DeLuca with an extremely strong foundation which we can continue to build Cornell lacrosse."
During his tenure, Tambroni TMs players earned 37 first-team All-Ivy honors, including five Ivy League Player of the Year awards and three Rookie of the Year selections. He has also helped his players to earn a combined 43 All-America honors. Under Tambroni TMs tutelage, Joe Boulukos TM06 became the first Big Red player in nearly a decade to win one of the major USILA honors, earning a share of the Lt. j.g. Donald McLaughlin Jr. Award as the nation TMs top midfielder. In 2007, the Big Red swept the defensive honors given by the USILA, as Mitch Belisle TM07 earned the Schmeisser Cup as the Outstanding Defenseman in Division I, and Matt McMonagle TM07 won the Ensign C.M. Kelly, Jr. Award as the Outstanding Goaltender in Division I. That same season, Max Seibald was named a finalist for the Tewaaraton Trophy, becoming the first Cornell player to earn that distinction. Seibald went on to collect most of college lacrosse TMs major hardware in 2009, winning the Tewaaraton Trophy, while being named the Lt. j.g. Donald McLaughlin Jr. Award winner, as well as the Lt. Raymond Enners Award winner as the Outstanding Player in Division I.
Over the last six seasons (2005-10), Tambroni led Cornell to the heights of Division I, boasting the third highest winning percentage of all Division I teams during that span (.777) and ranking third in number of victories (73). Likewise, since March 28, 2005, the Big Red has been ranked in the top 10 of both major national polls for all but one week. The Big Red concluded the 2010 season with a 12-6 record after seeing is improbable run to the national semifinal ended by Notre Dame.