May 26, 2012

Meade Named First Head Coach of Furman Lacrosse

Current Team USA head coach and former Navy head man Richie Meade is returning to college coaching as the first coach of Furman's new Division I men's lacrosse program.
© Kevin P. Tucker

by Gary Lambrecht |

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Richie Meade knew the first time he set foot on the campus of Furman University that it was a place where he would love to work in the game he still adores. Furman president Rod Smolla knew the first time he met Meade that the search for his school's first men's lacrosse coach was over.

On Monday at Gillette Stadium, where Meade fought back tears while recognizing his imminent break from the school he still cares about deeply, the former face of Navy lacrosse was introduced as Furman's new head coach.

Meade, who was forced to resign a year ago after 17 seasons at Navy, officially will take over at Furman in January 2013. Furman will begin varsity competition in the spring of 2015.

"My family and I are very excited to join the Furman community. I'm enthusiastic beyond words to become the first coach in Furman history," said Meade, who has remained at Navy in teaching and administrative roles for the past year.

"Every single person I've met there has a deep, emotional feel for that university. You can sense camaraderie on campus," Meade added. "The opportunity to start a brand new Division I lacrosse program, with all of the support I'm getting at such a great school was too good to pass up. I was comfortable at the Naval Academy, but I didn't want to look back in 10 years and think I should have done something more."

"When we first started our search [in February], no matter who we asked, one name was always at the top of everybody's list. Richie Meade was the first name people mentioned to us," said Furman president Rod Smolla. "It was love at first sight. [Meade] swept us off our feet. We believe Richie Meade is the ideal person to jump-start our program. We also think he's the idea person to help grow the game in the South."

At Navy, Meade led the Midshipmen to a 142-97 record and took Navy to the national title game in 2004. Navy also won five Patriot League regular-season or tournament championships and appeared in seven NCAA tournaments. Earlier this year, Meade was named head coach for the U.S. team at the 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships in Denver.

"Being around the Midshipmen has taught me a lot," said Meade, who worked as an assistant at Army and Navy before taking over in Annapolis in 1994. "Every single kid I've coached at the Naval Academy and West Point has gone to war. This is a great day for me and my family, but it's really about celebrating a generation of kids who have defended their country."

Full Furman Press Release

Furman University director of athletics Dr. Gary Clark announced today that U.S. men's national senior team coach Richie Meade has been named the school's first men's head lacrosse coach.

The announcement was made by Clark and Furman president Rod Smolla at a press conference at Gillette Stadium, site of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship.

Furman, a private, co-educational university of 2,700 students in Greenville, S.C., and member of the Southern Conference, announced on Feb. 9 that it would add men's and women's lacrosse to its Division I athletics program. The teams will begin varsity competition by the 2014-15 academic year.

"Richie Meade is the ideal person to jump start our new men's lacrosse program at Furman," Clark said. "He sports a tremendous combination of experience and leadership to help grow lacrosse in a non-traditional area of the country. We are thrilled to have Richie join the Furman family."

Said Meade, "My family and I are very excited with the opportunity to join the Furman community. I am grateful to President Smolla and Gary Clark for their faith and trust in me. We will build our program with integrity, substance, and toughness. Our goal will be to compete with passion, skill and honor, and to graduate individuals who will make a difference in the world and reflect the values of a great American university."

Meade was named head coach of the U.S. men's national senior team by US Lacrosse in December. He is the 12th head coach in the history of the men's senior team program, and he will lead Team USA in its title defense at the 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championship in Denver, Colo., July 10-19.

"We are very pleased that such a well-respected and highly qualified coach as Richie Meade has agreed to lead our men's lacrosse program," said Smolla. "His connections in the sport are unparalleled, and he has enjoyed great success in coaching and recruiting at the national level. ~We welcome Richie and his family to the Furman community, and we look forward to seeing the men's lacrosse program grow and prosper under his guidance."

A 35-year veteran of collegiate coaching, Meade most recently served as head coach for the United States Naval Academy men's team from 1994-2011, where he led the Midshipmen to a 142-97 (.589) record. In his 21-year career as a head coach, including four years at the University of Baltimore, Meade compiled a 162-120 (.585) ledger.

During Meade's head coaching tenure at Navy, his teams claimed five Patriot League regular season and tournament titles, appeared in seven NCAA tournaments, and racked up 39 All-America citations. In 2004, Navy advanced to the national championship game and Meade was honored with the Morris Touchstone Memorial Award as National Coach of the Year. He also was twice named Patriot League Coach of the Year (2004 & '07).

Meade began his coaching career as an assistant at Duke University in 1977. Following a two-year stint in Durham, he moved on to the University of North Carolina, where he served as an assistant for one year before accepting his first head coaching job at the University of Baltimore (1980-83). In 1984 he was named defensive coordinator at Navy (1984-88) before returning to Chapel Hill (1989-90) for a two-year stint as offensive coordinator. He accepted the same post, as well as an instructor's role in physical education, at the United States Military Academy in 1991, remaining there for three seasons, before returning to Navy as head coach in 1994, becoming the seventh lacrosse mentor in school history.

In addition his coaching duties with the Midshipmen, he also served as a tenured professor of physical education and is a Senior Fellow at the Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership at the Naval Academy.

He has served the sport in a variety of administrative positions, including the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Rules Advisory Committee, U.S. Lacrosse Men's Coaches Council, and NCAA Rules and Equipment Committee. Since 2005, he has been president of the Intercollegiate Men's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IMLCA) and over the last two years has served as executive director of the Wounded Warrior Project Lacrosse.

A native of Williston Park, N.Y., Meade attended and played lacrosse at Nassau (N.Y.) Community College. He then transferred to the University of North Carolina, from which he graduated with a B.A. in 1976 with a degree in parks and recreation administration. He later added an M.S. from UNC in 1979.

Meade is a member of both the New York Metropolitan Long Island Lacrosse Hall of Fame and University of Baltimore Athletic Hall of Fame.

He and his wife, Sue, have three daughters: Jillian, Shannon Grace, and Cassidy.

What They're Saying About Richie Meade

"Richie Meade represents everything that is good about college lacrosse. Furman University hit a home run. Coach Meade is a well-respected individual that brings instant credibility to Furman. He is an outstanding coach, strong recruiter and dynamic leader. Most importantly, he is a tremendous human being. Hats off to Furman for recognizing what a special individual Coach Meade is." -- Dave Pietramala, Men's Lacrosse Coach, Johns Hopkins University

"The announcement of Furman adding Division I men's lacrosse was exciting to all who love the game and want to witness its growth. The hiring of Coach Meade shows great conviction and dedication by Furman to get the absolute best lacrosse man possible to lead that charge. I am thrilled for Richie, his family, the university, and all of lacrosse, that this great coach is back in the college game." -- Bill Tierney, Men's Lacrosse Coach, University of Denver, National Lacrosse Hall of Fame Inductee

"Rarely does a start-up program have the chance to hire someone with the experience and ability of Richie Meade. Furman University is fortunate to have a proven winner, a man of integrity and a committed leader like Richie." -- Kevin Corrigan, Men's Lacrosse Coach, University of Notre Dame

"Furman is not only hiring one of the best lacrosse coaches of all time, but they are hiring one of the best leaders, a tremendous motivator and a wonderful person. You build a program from the ground floor up and this foundation with Coach Meade is rock solid. I couldn't be happier for both Furman and Coach Meade." -- David Cottle, Chesapeake Bayhawks (MLL)

"Furman University has hit a home run with this hire.~ No one is more capable of building a Division 1 lacrosse program from scratch to national prominence than coach Meade.~ He is one of the most respected coaches in lacrosse. He is a proven winner and, most importantly, a leader, teacher and mentor of young men.~ Coach Meade's passion for and commitment to developing leaders of integrity who are also athletes will reverberate across the Furman campus in the same manner that it did at the Naval Academy. I congratulate the search committee on their excellent choice of coach Meade to lead the Furman lacrosse program." - Dr. Tom Virgets, Senior Associate Athletics Director/ Head Physical Education, United States Naval Academy

"Richie Meade, USA Team head coach, is arguably the best collegiate lacrosse coach in the country. With the hiring of Coach Meade to head up its new program, Furman University has stamped its name on the lacrosse collegiate landscape in a most prominent way. He is an absolute winner. The boys who will experience his leadership will be better men for it and Furman, as time passes, will be increasingly proud to call Richie Meade their head lacrosse coach." - Coach Jack Emmer, National Lacrosse Hall of Fame Inductee

"This is absolutely a tremendous hire by Furman University! Richie Meade is one of the most respected, admired and revered men's lacrosse coaches in the history of our sport. Furman lacrosse has just now burst onto the Division 1 lacrosse world. For Furman to land the next Team USA head job is just brilliant. The future of Paladin lacrosse could not be brighter. I am so happy for Richie, his family, and Furman athletics." -- Mike Pressler, Men's Lacrosse Coach, Bryant Univeristy, Head Coach, Team USA 2010

"Furman's hiring of Richie Meade as its lacrosse coach is great news for the sport of lacrosse and also for one of college lacrosse's most respected coaches. The announcement of a new Division I lacrosse program in South Carolina at a school with Furman's athletic reputation is~a positive step in the growth of the men's game. Having Richie Meade as the individual responsible for the leadership of a start-up program~is another positive in ensuring that Furman lacrosse is in most capable hands. I think the kids who compete for Furman will benefit~by having Richie as their coach.~ The people involved~in anything you do are the most~important and significant factors.~ Richie will get good kids. Their experience as undergraduates and lacrosse players will be enhanced by~studying~at Furman and having a coach like Richie Meade." -- Willie Scroggs, Senior Associate Athletics Director, University of North Carolina, National Lacrosse Hall of Fame Inductee

"Furman's announcement that coach Meade has been hired to lead the men's lacrosse program is evidence of the excellence that is a hallmark of the university. Coach Meade brings national credibility to the upstart Furman program, and it is the perfect pairing of a coach whose integrity and coaching prowess have turned young men into leaders and a university whose priorities and goals are perfectly aligned with the coach. It is a great match." - Dan Einstein, Furman Lacrosse Advisory Committee

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