November 14, 2013

Former Players ‘Dumbfounded’ by Dismissal of Cornell Men’s Lacrosse Coach

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By AKANE OTANI

The University has dismissed Ben DeLuca ’98, head coach of men’s lacrosse, two months after the team’s upperclassmen were caught forcing freshmen to chug beer in a hazing incident.

“This was a difficult decision, but our students are our first priority and there is no doubt now that new leadership is required,” Andy Noel, director of Athletics and Physical Education, said in a statement Thursday.

Neither Noel nor other University officials were available to answer questions from the press about why DeLuca was dismissed. DeLuca was also unavailable for comment Thursday evening.

Multiple alumni and former lacrosse players said they were shocked to hear the news. J.J. Gilbane ’12, a former midfielder for the team, said the dismissal of DeLuca — who he said “lives and breathes Cornell lacrosse” — came as “a complete surprise” to both him and other alumni.

The news has left people “dumbfounded,” added Rob Pannell ’13, former captain of the lacrosse team, who told Bloomberg News the team and alumni believe hazing allegations were related to DeLuca’s dismissal.

“They had no idea this was coming and are very upset with the news,” Pannell told Bloomberg News.

Ben DeLuca ’09, former head coach of the men’s lacrosse team, was dismissed by the University Thursday. (Tina Chou / Sun File Photo)

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