Casey D’Annolfo of Tufts Men’s Lacrosse – Going Offsides
When you think of DIII lacrosse, Tufts is one of the first names that comes to mind. Maybe it’s because you’ve seen one of its fantastic documentary style videos, or you saw the team play in three-straight national championships from 2014-2016, winning two of them.
The program rose to prominence under head coach Mike Daly, who left the program at the end of the 2016 season to pursue a DI coaching opportunity at Brown, a position he holds to this day. Enter new head coach Casey D’Annolfo. Coach Casey is a Tufts alum (2002-06) who lettered four times in football and lacrosse and managed to squeeze in a letter in basketball his junior year. Being an alum certainly gives you an advantage when applying for the job, a job that if you ask him, he’ll tell you he wasn’t sure he should apply for.
“I kept calling other alums who were in the coaching profession and asked, ‘You’re applying right?'” D’Annolfo remembered. “And they would respond, ‘No, but you should.'”
After having that same conversation a few different times, the then Taft School head coach decided it was time to apply. After a six-week process, he eventually accepted what was the most prestigious job in DIII.
New Coach Same Program
When you take over a lacrosse program like Tufts, one that had just been in three-straight national championships, there is a lot of pressure to keep things the way they are.
I asked Casey how he managed to do this while adding in his own coaching style and philosophies, and the answer was more or less patience. He understood he couldn’t come in and change everything. Why would you want to? Instead, he knew it would take time to develop trust from the team, to slowly implement change, to take the best from the previous regime while still being true to himself.
This was an excellent conversation from one of the great coaches in our game, and I truly hope you take the time to listen in. You’ll also hear about playing against DI Dartmouth, DIII recruiting, and what makes Tufts such a great school.