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Ben DeLuca

New men's lacrosse head coach

UD selects Ben DeLuca as next men’s lacrosse head coach

An exciting new era in the rich history of University of Delaware men's lacrosse is now underway as Ben DeLuca, who has enjoyed national success as a student-athlete, assistant coach, and head coach over the last two decades, has been selected to lead the Blue Hens program.

DeLuca, who spent the last two seasons as associate head coach at Harvard University, becomes just the ninth coach in the 67-year history of the sport at Delaware and replaces legendary mentor Bob Shillinglaw, who retired this spring after winning 310 games and leading the Blue Hens to six NCAA Tournament appearances and 16 conference titles over a 39-year career.

“I am so excited to welcome Ben and his family to the Blue Hens family,” said Chrissi Rawak, Delaware director of athletics and recreation services. “Ben believes strongly in the pursuit of excellence on and off the field and embodies the core values that drive the decisions we make every day in Delaware Athletics. In addition, he brings to us an incredible knowledge of the game of lacrosse and an understanding that the University of Delaware is a very special place. We have such a passionate group of Delaware lacrosse alumni, and I know Ben will build a strong connection with them. There is absolutely no doubt that Ben will make our men's lacrosse program, this department, and this University better.”

Impressive history of success


DeLuca comes to Delaware with an impressive history of success as a student-athlete and coach at three of the nation's top academic and NCAA Division I lacrosse-playing institutions -- Cornell University, Duke University and Harvard University. During that time, he has led teams to 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, including a national championship title as an assistant at Duke, a national runner-up finish as an assistant at Cornell and three other NCAA semifinal appearances as a head coach and as an assistant.

“My family and I want to thank President [Dennis] Assanis and Chrissi Rawak for this special opportunity and for the trust they have showed in inviting us to share in their mission to lead the renaissance of this great program together,” said DeLuca.

“I am excited and honored to take over a program from someone like Bob Shillinglaw who has meant so much to this University and to the entire sport of lacrosse," he said. 

"I agree wholeheartedly with Chrissi's vision of comprehensive excellence in all facets of the student-athlete experience. We want to be great in the sport of lacrosse, but we want to be excellent in the classroom and leaders in the community as well.

"I take very seriously my role as an educator, mentor and role model and will lead our central mission to develop young men into men and prepare them for life after college," DeLuca said. "Our program aspires to produce polished, accomplished, admirable men who will graduate and become ambassadors for the University of Delaware and Blue Hen Lacrosse. Hard work, integrity, character and a passion for greatness will be the hallmarks of our program. Well done is better than well said, and here at the University of Delaware we believe our actions will speak louder than our words."

After an outstanding playing career for the Big Red, he joined the coaching ranks at his alma mater and served for 14 years, including three seasons as head coach in 2011-13. He then served for two seasons as an assistant coach to John Danowski at Duke in 2014-15 and the last two seasons as associate head coach at Harvard for head coach Chris Wojcik. Among his fellow staff members at Harvard was former Delaware starting goalkeeper and captain Noah Fossner.

In two seasons at Harvard, DeLuca helped lead the Crimson to a 14-15 record, including an 8-8 mark in 2016 when the team advanced to the Ivy League Championship game after knocking off top-seeded and No. 2 ranked Brown in the semifinals. That victory was one of three for the Crimson over a nationally ranked opponent, with Harvard also defeating then No. 4 Duke, 14-9, and then No. 20 Villanova, 13-12. The win over the Wildcats came in the season opener in overtime as the Crimson became just the second team in NCAA history to win three-consecutive games in overtime.

At the conclusion of the year, Bobby Duvnjak (third team), Devin Dwyer (third team), and Joe Lang (honorable mention) were named to the USILA All-America teams, with a total of six individuals garnering All-Ivy League honors. This spring, Harvard attackman Morgan Cheek earned honorable mention USILA honors and three other Crimson players earned All-Ivy League honors.

DeLuca came to Cambridge after spending the previous two seasons as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator under Danowski at Duke, helping the Blue Devils to the 2014 national championship and the ACC regular season championship. DeLuca coached four defensive All-American's in his first season in Durham. Duke also advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2015.

Before Duke, DeLuca spent 18 years at Cornell as both a student-athlete and coach, including three seasons as head coach from 2011-13. The Big Red won a pair of Ivy titles with DeLuca at the helm, posting an overall record of 37-11 with a conference mark of 16-2. Cornell also made two appearances in the NCAA tournament, reaching the quarterfinals in 2011 and the national semifinals in 2013. Twelve student-athletes earned All-America recognition under DeLuca's tutelage, including Rob Pannell who graduated from Cornell as the NCAA's career leader in points (354).

Prior to his time as head coach, DeLuca served 11 seasons as both an assistant and associate head coach. Cornell made nine NCAA tournament appearances, including two national semifinals appearances in 2007 and 2010 and a trip to the national championship game in 2009. DeLuca was named as the IMLCA Assistant Coach of the Year in 2007.

Over his 17-year coaching career, DeLuca has recruited and developed more than a dozen first team All-Americans, two Tewaaraton Award winners, seven Ivy League Player of the Year honorees and 40-plus All-Ivy League selections. In addition, DeLuca has mentored a pair of Lt. Raymond Enners Award winners, an En. C.M. Kelly Award winner, a Schmeisser Cup award winner, three recipients of the Lt. J.G. Donald MacGlaughlin, Jr. Award and two Jack Turnbull Award winners.

DeLuca also has gained invaluable international coaching experience representing the United States as a member the U.S. Men's National Team staff in 2014 and will serve with the team again in 2018.

Throughout his coaching tenure, DeLuca has invested in the development of the young men under his guidance outside the realm of lacrosse as well, mentoring numerous Academic All-Ivy and Academic All-Atlantic Coast Conference selections, more than a dozen USILA Academic All-America selections, multiple CoSIDA Academic All-America selections and a pair of Lowe's Senior CLASS Award winners.

In the community, DeLuca's student-athletes have been heavily involved in the community, volunteering with such organizations as the American Cancer Society, the American Red Cross, Children's Dream Factory of Central New York, Mario St. George Boiardi Foundation, Family Reading Partnership of Central New York, children's literacy, Harvard's Team Impact and Duke's Lead the Way Foundation.

He was a four-year letterwinner on defense for the Big Red, and earned his bachelor of science degree in nutritional sciences and biochemistry in 1998. He was elected as a co-captain for his senior campaign in 1998 and was voted as the team's Outstanding Senior Athlete for his leadership and dedication on and off the field.

A native of Rochester, New York, DeLuca is married to the former Laurie Tortorelli, a former All-American goalie for the women's lacrosse team at the University of Delaware. She was a four-year starter in goal in 1999-2002 and led the Hens to the NCAA Tournament in 2000 and an America East conference title in 1999. She still ranks No. 2 all-time at Delaware with 754 saves and No. 3 in minutes played (3,767).

The DeLucas have two daughters, Elizabeth and Anne.

For more, visit BlueHens.com.

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