Following the program’s worst consecutive seasons in 20 years, Cornell men’s lacrosse has announced head coach Matt Kerwick will not return for his fifth year at the helm.
Associate head coach Peter Milliman, who has been with the program for four years, will take over as interim head coach through the 2018 season. A nationwide search for a head coach will begin then for a “full-time replacement,” the team announced.
“After careful thought and consideration, I have decided to step aside from my role as head coach of the men’s lacrosse team to focus on my family,” Kerwick said in a statement. “I would like to thank Cornell University for five great years. The people here have made it a truly special place to work. This decision has taken a great deal of thought because of the 47 young men in the locker room, and all of the former players that I have been so fortunate to build relationships with. With that said, my family and I are looking forward to moving on to a new chapter.”
“I respect and support Matt’s decision to focus on family first and very much appreciate the investment he made in the Cornell program. There is nothing more important than family, and all decisions must be made through that lens,” said Athletic Director Andy Noel in a statement. “Watching our young team play one of the most challenging schedules in the country, the development throughout the season was very apparent and portends great things in the future.”
Kerwick’s resignation was announced Monday, a little over a week after his team ended its 5-8 season with an upset win over then-No. 13 Princeton. The team started the year 0-5 — the worst start for Cornell since 1994.
Despite recent struggles, Kerwick opened his Cornell career with two straight co-Ivy regular season titles, as well as consecutive trips to the Ivy and NCAA tournaments. The Red showed promise of what’s to come this past season; the team’s young makeup had it positioned for success in the future, as highlighted in that final win over the Tigers.
Kerwick landed the No. 1 ranked prospect in the class of 2020, current freshman Jeff Teat, who broke the program’s freshman record for points in a single season with 72. He had 12 points in the win against Princeton.
Each of the past two Cornell squads have been over 60 percent underclassmen, and the top two scorers this year were freshmen — Teat and Connor Fletcher.
“I am proud of the growth we’ve seen over the last few seasons and I am confident that this young team is well positioned for a bright future,” Kerwick’s statement continued. “The Big Red family should be excited for all of the great things that lay ahead for our team.”
Kerwick joined the program as an assistant coach in 2013, then served as interim head coach in 2014 after the departure of Ben DeLuca. On June 11, 2014, he was officially named head coach.
Before Cornell, Kerwick worked as head coach at Randolph-Macon, Alfred, Jacksonville and Hobart — his alma mater — and was an associate head coach at Georgetown, after serving as an assistant at Penn. Including Cornell, he has led three different teams to the NCAA tournament, with Alfred and Hobart as the remaining two.
Milliman was the team’s associate head coach and led the offense, defense and recruiting. In March, he was named an assistant coach of the 2019 U.S. men’s national indoor team. Prior to Cornell, he was head coach of Pfeiffer and served as assistant coach at RIT and Princeton.