Lowell, MA. – Ed Stephenson, a native of Baltimore, Md., was named the Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach at UMass Lowell, Director of Athletics Dana Skinner announced Saturday.
Stephenson, who was the associate head coach at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County the last two years, comes to UMass Lowell to restart the men’s lacrosse program which was discontinued after the 1989 season. Both the men’s and women’s programs are slated to open in the spring of 2015.
UMass Lowell enters its first year in NCAA Division I and the America East Conference this fall.
“I really love the New England area and this is such a great opportunity,” Stephenson said. “I’m real excited. Athletics are very strong and have a great tradition at UMass Lowell. It’s exciting to see the progress and momentum through the leadership of the Chancellor (Marty) Meehan. You can’t find enough accolades for all the things that are going on.”
UMass Lowell’s men’s lacrosse team will be the second program Stephenson will build from the grassroots. In 2001, he started the program at Binghamton University and enjoyed success within his first three years.
In 2004, the Bearcats began the season with a 1-4 record, but went 9-1 the remainder of the year which included an undefeated campaign (6-0) in the America East Conference. They marched to the America East Tournament final, losing to Albany (10-4).
He guided a Binghamton defensive unit which ranked tops among NCAA Division I schools in scoring defense (6.94) and was named the AE Coach of the Year.
Off the field, Binghamton earned the National Sportsmanship Award in 2004 and 2006 while the team maintained the highest team grade point average and highest percentage of all-academic honorees in America East.
Between his years at Binghamton and UMBC, Stephenson has coached in eight of the last 10 America East Conference Tournaments.
“Ed brings great energy, and his love for the sport is contagious,” said Skinner. ” We are excited to have someone with significant head coaching and recruiting experience to anchor the return of lacrosse as we head into Division I and the America East Conference.”
Stephenson will begin his position on Aug. 1.
“Recruiting is paramount, so we’ll begin that process immediately,” he said. “We will focus on hardworking student-athletes who will be ready to play good lacrosse and receive a good education at an affordable cost. The first year is quite a challenge for that first group of recruits, but with that challenge comes a great reward.”
After 10 seasons at Binghamton, he returned to UMBC as the associate head coach in 2011, reuniting with head coach Don Zimmerman. The two led UMBC to the America East championship match last spring, where they fell to Albany, 19-10.
Prior to leading Binghamton, Stephenson was an assistant coach at UMBC from 1995-2000 and helped lead the Retrievers from a 3-9 record in 1996 to a 9-3 clip in 1997, and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 1998 with a 9-5 record.
From 1996-2000, the Retrievers went 39-28.
Previously, he served as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Towson University, from 1992-95, which followed a three-year professional career with the Pittsburgh Bulls of the Major Indoor Lacrosse League.
A standout player at Towson, Stephenson was named an All-American defenseman as a senior and captained the South squad in the 1989 U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) North-South All-Star Game.
He earned his undergraduate degree in physical education in 1992 and was inducted into the Towson Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.
Stephenson has been very active within the sport, having served on the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Rules Committee from 2008-11; the USILA Rankings Committee from 2006-11and the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse All-America Committee.
He also served as the NCAA Tournament site representative for the 2010 first round matches in Ithaca, N.Y.
Stephenson plans to relocate in the greater Lowell area.