Stony Brook, N.Y. - Rick Sowell, former head men's lacrosse coach at St. John's University, has been named head men's lacrosse coach at Stony Brook University, Director of Athletics Jim Fiore announced. Sowell becomes the fifth coach in the program's history, coming to Stony Brook after leading the rebirth of the St. John's lacrosse program and highly successful coaching stints at Dartmouth College and Georgetown University. He replaces Lars Tiffany who accepted the Brown University head coaching position last week.
"We are thrilled to welcome Coach Sowell and his family to our Seawolves family," said Fiore. "His understanding of the demands of Division I college lacrosse at the highest level both academically and athletically makes him ideally suited to lead our men's lacrosse program. Having worked with Rick during our formative professional years at Dartmouth, I am fully confident he has the experience and expertise to build upon our recent success and lead our men's lacrosse program to even greater heights."
Sowell was tapped to head the rebirth and start up of the St. John's lacrosse program in 2003 after leading two of the top programs in collegiate lacrosse to national acclaim. From 1990-1998, he served as an assistant coach at Georgetown University where the Hoyas grew from an also-ran to a national contender in Division I college lacrosse, participating in the 1997 and 1998 NCAA Tournament. In 1998, the Hoyas finished 10-5 overall and advanced to the quarterfinal round before falling to top-seed Loyola, 12-11.
Following his stint at Georgetown, he moved on to be the head coach at Dartmouth and revived the Big Green program, taking the program from last place in the Ivy League to first during his five years at the helm. During his fifth and final season with the Big Green, Sowell's squad posted an 11-3 record, 5-1 in the Ivy League, en route to a conference title and an appearance in the NCAA tournament. During the title run, the Big Green registered a road victory at No. 2 Princeton, its first win at Princeton since 1958. Under Sowell's leadership the Big Green steadily improved, with four student-athletes earning All-New England honors, two receiving All-Ivy honors and several receiving academic awards. Sowell was also named the NEILA Coach of the Year in 2003.
"I am extremely excited to take over a winning program," said Sowell. "Coach Tiffany and his staff did a tremendous job in elevating the program and I look forward to working with President Kenny and Jim Fiore in taking Stony Brook men's lacrosse to an even higher level. The atmosphere and excitement surrounding Stony Brook University and specifically its athletic program is palpable which made this an opportunity that was too good to pass up."
Sowell was named head men's lacrosse coach at St. John's on July 10, 2003. In 2005, Sowell led the Red Storm back onto the field of play for the first time since 1994.
From 1988-1991, Sowell spent three years as the head coach of the boy's lacrosse team at Mount St. Albans High School in Washington, D.C. While at Mount St. Albans, he also served as an assistant football coach. Sowell's coaching career began at Washington College in Chestertown, Md. where he helped guide the Shoreman to the NCAA Division III national title game in 1986 and the semifinal round in 1987.
Before dedicating his life to coaching, Sowell played lacrosse at all levels. He began his college career in 1982 at the State University of New York in Cobleskill but transferred to Washington College prior to the 1984 season. As a member of the Shoremen, Sowell was named the 1985 Division III National Midfielder of the Year and was also a two-time All-American. He helped lead Washington College to the Division III national championship game twice. In Sowell's senior campaign, he was team captain, earned the Dr. Charles B. Clark MVP Award and was named Best Athlete by Washington College's Athletic Council. His 45 goals and 14 assists earned him first-team Division III honors and selection to participate in the annual North/South All-Star game.
Sowell spent five years with the Baltimore Thunder of the Major Indoor Lacrosse League (MILL). He was a three-time first-team All-Pro.
Sowell, 42, graduated in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in history. He was inducted into the Washington College Hall of Fame on October 21, 2000. Sowell and his wife Catherine live in Malverne, N.Y., with their daughter Kennady.
Coach Sowell will be introduced at a press conference tomorrow in the Goldstein Family Student-Athlete Development Center at 11:30 a.m.