November 20, 2013

DeLuca Makes Statement as Cornell Lacrosse Alumni Rally Support

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | McLaughlin Archive

More than 150 people voiced their support for former Cornell coach Ben DeLuca with an open letter published Wednesday.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

updated 11.20.2013 at 5.26 p.m.

More than 250 people — including many Cornell alumni and Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala and Penn State coach Jeff Tambroni, both former Cornell head coaches — put their names on a letter to the editor published in the Cornell Daily Sun on Wednesday, thanking Ben DeLuca, who was fired as Big Red coach last Thursday, for his 17 years at Cornell and voicing displeasure over the university's decision to dismiss him.

Later Wednesday, DeLuca issued his first comments since being dismissed in a statement through the law firm Dinsmore & Shohl, in which he said he's unsure of why he was fired and thanked those who have offered support.

"For reasons which still remain unclear to me, after seventeen years as a student-athlete and coach in the men's lacrosse program at Cornell University, I will be parting ways with the university and move on to the next chapter in my professional career," DeLuca said in the statement. "I am grateful for the opportunities that Cornell University has given to me.

"To all of those friends, parents, students, alumni, and mentors who have reached out to me and my family in recent days, your support has been overwhelming and humbling. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

"To the student-athletes of the Cornell men's lacrosse team, I am extraordinarily proud of the way in which you have conducted yourselves during your time at Cornell. I am proud of the accomplishments we have achieved together, and I wish you all every happiness and success for this season and into the future. My pride in watching you mature as young men is second only to that of your parents and family. It has been an honor to have a window into that part of each and every one of your families and lives."

The school, citing university policy, has not provided a reason for DeLuca's firing and current Big Red players last Thursday were provided virtually the same explanation that the public at-large was via a press release from Cornell athletic director Andy Noel.

Most of the signatures on Wednesday's letter initially came from Cornell alumni from the 1990s through 2013, but the list also includes names from the 1980s and about 100 names were added throughout the course of the day on Wednesday.

Among other notable former players to sign the letter are 2013 Tewaaraton Award winner Rob Pannell, who last week told LaxMagazine.com that there was "no better person for the Cornell head coaching job than Ben DeLuca. It is an incident like this that will change a program forever," as well as 2007 Tewaaraton finalist, Major League Lacrosse veteran and Team USA hopeful Max Seibald. Several parents of former players also are represented.

The full letter is below:

While many of us have expressed our frustration and disappointment at the news that Ben DeLuca will no longer be the Head Coach of Cornell Men's Lacrosse, the purpose of this letter is to thank Ben for his leadership and commitment to Cornell University over the last 17 years. We have witnessed firsthand Ben's dedication to the school and the program he loved. For decades, the Men's Lacrosse program has been a gold standard in the Cornell athletic department and Ben has been an integral part of that as a player, an assistant coach and head coach.

We have been DeLuca's classmates and teammates. We have been his co-captains, his alumni supporters and boosters. We have watched him coach our own children. We played for him as our assistant coach, and eventually, as our coach. Undoubtedly, the goal of a collegiate head coach is two-fold: One, to prepare your players for success on the field, and two, to prepare them for professional and personal success as responsible men maximizing their individual potential, while serving as positive ambassadors for a university athletic program. Surely on both counts, as former player Rob Pannell '13 said last week, there could have been no better man for the job.

Athletically, the results under DeLuca's stewardship have been undeniable. In his three years as head coach, the Big Red has won two Ivy League titles and his teams have twice advanced to the NCAA tournament with one appearance at the Final Four. DeLuca currently has the highest active winning percentage in all Division I. DeLuca has coached 12 All-Americans, five of whom were First Team All-Americans, 19 All-Ivy selections, five Academic All-Americans, five Academic All- Ivy, 10 All-Ivy Tournament selections, one Ivy League Rookie of the Year, two Ivy League Players of the Year and one Tewaaraton Award recipient.

As a mentor of young men, DeLuca's accomplishments are even more impressive, albeit on a more private scale. You cannot see young men maturing in highlights on ESPN, and you do not read about it in the newspaper. But a coach's role as a mentor is every bit as important. Under Coach DeLuca's leadership, the lacrosse team has been a fixture in the community. The team's commitment to giving back in terms of time and fundraising is unparalleled by any team at Cornell. For years now, the Cornell Lacrosse team has set an example on campus that other teams strived to emulate, in the classroom, on the field and in the community. DeLuca stressed the importance of giving back to those who come out and support the team on game day. Through various endeavors such as Big Red Readers, the 21 Run, Dream Factory of Central New York Lacrosse Clinic, and cleaning Schoellkopf after Homecoming, among other things, the Cornell Lacrosse team has made its presence felt in the Cornell and Ithaca communities under DeLuca. And as with everything he did, Coach DeLuca always led by example, his tireless efforts as a member of the Executive Committee for the Mario St. George Boiardi Foundation since its inception providing just one example among many.

DeLuca has also applied his inexhaustible focus and energy toward the post-collegiate success of his many players, a role he excelled at as much as his more public on-field accomplishments. For the impact he has had on our children and friends, we owe him our greatest debt. From when DeLuca started at Cornell to now, Cornell has become a winner again. This makes all of our lives better and more fun each spring. We see each other more, personal and professional relationships flourish, and our pride in Cornell and our lacrosse program has been at an all-time high.

As Cornellians, it is hard not to focus on the unfortunate loss that this decision brings for the program we love, and the University we all remember so fondly. But as alumni who have felt DeLuca's impact on ourselves and seen it on those behind us, we can only say that some lucky program is about to be changed in an infinitely positive manner. We have no doubt that DeLuca will win a national championship. It is just too bad that it will not be for the Big Red.

Adam Buttermore ('03)
Adam Shaivitz ('98)
AJ Fiore ('13)
Alan ('81) & Candace Collmer ('82) (parents of Alex Collmer '97)
Alex Baydin ('97)
Alex Collmer ('97)
Allison Angelilli ('00)
Allison Riley Holmes ('98)
Alyson A. Levine ('95)
Amanda Linnertz ('08)
Amanda Linnertz ('08)
Andrew MacDonald ('10)
Angie Harter ('98)
Anthony G. Pavone ('95)
August Cardona ('00)
Austin Boykin ('10)
Bart Weinstein ('07)
Bart Weinstein '07
Ben Hutchen ('95)
Big Red Steelheads
Bill Flannery ('02)
Billy Fort ('02)
Bob and Susan Pannell (Parents of Rob Pannell '13)
Bob Budington ('92)
Bobby Cummings ('87)
Bobby Werhane (01)
Brad Little ('00)
Brandon A.S. Ross ('04)
Brandon Hall ('02)
Brett Wilderman ('99)
Brian & Sue Keller (Parents of Brian Keller '98)
Brian Brady ('03)
Brian Clayton ('07)
Brian Goldberg ('99)
Brian J. Lasda ('77)
Brian Keller ('98)
Brian Rodgers ('95)
Brigham Kiplinger ('03)
Bruce and Mary Calvert (P'09)
Buck Holmes ('97)
C.C. Hafner
Cameron Marchant ('06)
Cara Grealy ('11)
Carissa Mirasol Nee ('04)
Carl & Monnie Viola (Parents of Chris Viola '03 & Margaux Viola '07)
Caroline Boiardi (Sister of Geroge Boiardi '04)
Casey Lewis (07)
Casey Stevenson ('05)
Chandler Hall ('98)
Charlie and Kathie Werhane (parents of Bobby Werhane)
Chris Braceland ('97)
Chris Brown ('94, MBA '04)
Chris Danler ('95)
Chris H. Packard ('00)
Chris Langton ('12)
Chris Morea ('03)
Chris Reynolds (91)
Chris Viola ('03)
Christiaan B Reynolds ('91)
Clayton Weber (96')
Connor English ('13)
Courtney Baker ('10)
Cristina Niccolini ('94)
Dan Gellert ('00)
Dan Leary ('05)
Dan McNamara ('98)
Dan McNulty ('96)
Dan Wolff ('96)
Dana Raymond Roth ('95)
Danny Nathan ('08)
Daryl (Nierenberg) Noble '99
Dave Bush ('06)
David Baiada ('99)
David Carlos ('99)
David Casillo ('97)
David Coors ('04)
David Key ('01)
David Krauter ('96)
David Lau ('11)
David Mitchell ('07)
David Nachman ('00)
David Pietramala (Head Coach 1998-2000)
David Pittard ('04)
Dean Gurney ('99)
Deirdre Lafferty ('09)
Derek Haswell ('06)
Doug Needham ('04)
Doug Thornell ('99)
Dr. Kraig and Dolores Adler (parents of Todd Adler '93)
Dr. Vanessa Redd ('05)
Edward & Judy Clayton (Parents of Brian & Andrew) '07
Edward ('68, P'98, P'06) and Catherine (P'98, P'06) Marchant
Elena Boiardi (Sister of George Boiardi '04)
Eliot Marchant ('98)
Elizabeth Levin ('98)
Eric and Teresa Rosenberger (Parents of Ian Rosenberger '04/05)
Eric C. Pittard ('07)
Eric Penttinen ('92)
Eric Rosenberger (Father of Ian '05)
Eric Smith ('93)
Ethan Vedder ('07)
Evan P. Boulukos ('00)
Frank Sands ('03)
Fred Peightal ('98)
Gary & Kathleen Danler (Parents of Chris Danler '95)
Geoffrey Gross ('95)
George and Dorothy Voris (Parents Michael Voris '99)
George Calvert ('09)
Ginger Brown ('98)
Glenn Minerley ('98)
Greg Raschdorf ('79)
Greg Zumas ('99)
Henry Bartlett ('07)
Hunter Ross ('94)
Ian Hafner ('98)
Ian Rosenberger ('04/05)
Jack and Stephanie Seibald (Parents of Amanda '08 and Max'09)
Jack Dudley ('11)
Jacqueline McMichael and Tom Rennick (parents of Mitch McMichael '12)
Jake Myers ('09)
Jamie Brown ('98)
Janna Burrows ('04)
Jason Noble ('13)
Jason Underwood ('94)
JD Nelson ('05)
Jeff Tambroni (Head Coach 2001-2010)
Jennifer Talley Gonnella ('94)
Jerry Morea (father of Chris Morea '03)
Jesse Cole ('94)
Jesse Rothstein ('03)
Jessi Petrosino ('04)
Jinaan Clayton (wife of Brian Clayton '07)
Joe and Judi McMonagle (Parents of Matt '07)
Joe Lando ('92)
Joe Rossettie ('98)
Joe Taylor ('80)
John Bucci ('95)
John C. Scott ('94)
John Glynn ('09)
John Wilkinson ('79)
Johnny Heil ('90)
Jon Ciaio ('99)
Jon Gordon (93)
Jon Luoto ('09)
Jonathan Cheng ('98)
Joseph Boulukos ('06)
Josh Gellert (95)
Josh Gonnella ('94)
Josh Heller ('02)
Jud Howson ('95)
Julie Hootkin ('99)
Justin Redd ('05)
Kaitlin Tierney ('04)
Katie Crist ('97)
Katrina Pratt ('09)
Keith Roscoe ('97)
Kevin Matthews ('96)
Kevin Nee ('05)
Kevin Nee ('05)
Kim Radziul ('98)
Kimmy (Gardner) Reinking '04
Kristamarie Pratt ('07)
Kristin Dono Casillo ('98)
Kristy White (sister of Brian Keller '98)
Kyle Doctor ('09)
Kyle Georgalas ('05)
Kyle Harer ('09)
Kyoko and Stephen Redd (Parents of Justin Redd '05)
Lauren Giugliano ('07)
Leigh Marchant (99)
Linda and Bill Fort
Liza Holder (on behalf of David Holder '95)
Lowell Taub '96
Lyndsay Knupp ('06)
Margaux Viola ('07)
Mario and Deborah Boiardi (Parents of George Boiardi '04)
Mark Anatole ('74), Jodi Anatole, Carter Anatole
Mathew D. Norfolk ('95)
Matt Cooney ('97)
Matt McMonagle ('07)
Matt Robbins ('07)
Matt Shulkin ('96)
Matt Wise ('98)
Matthew Mitchell ('97)
Matthew Moyer ('09)
Matthew Somma ('96)
Max Seibald ('09)
Meredith Scardino ('98)
Michael Capasso ('94)
Michael Connors ('08)
Michael Cummings ('90)
Michael Fronk ('95)
Michael J. Levine ('93)
Michael LaRocco ('96)
Michael Niccolini ('93)
Michael Riordan ('04)
Michael Rodgers ('05)
Michael Voris ('99)
Mike Corbolotti ('08)
Mike Haushalter ('82)
Mike Pisco ('06)
Mike Regan Butler University 2000
Mimi Engler Shalhoub ('98)
Mitch Belisle ('07)
Mitch McMichael('12)
Nanette and Wayne Derkac (parents of Pierce Derkac '10)
Nina Roosevelt ('96)
Noelle Dowd ('08)
Nora Lovell Marchant ('06)
Oliver Guinness ('95)
Patricia & Ed Curtis (Rob Pannells '13 Grandparents)
Patrick Leahy ('91)
Peggy Clayton (Aunt of Brian and Andrew '07)
Peter and Pat Boulukos (P'00, P'06)
Peter Grom ('09)
Peter Grom ('09)
Peter Knupp ('06)
Phil Tretola ('00)
Pierce Derkac ('10)
R. Graydon Ripley III ('96)
Ralph & Peg Turri (Parents of Troy Turri '08)
Rebecca Taub '96
Rich and Nancy Belisle (parents of Mitch Belisle '07)
Richard Yost
Rick and Melanie Bartlett (Parents of Henry '07)
Rob Pannell ('13)
Robert and Annette Corbolotti
Rocco Romero ('09)
Roger Needham, Father of Doug ('04)
Rosemary Avery (Faculty Advisor to CU Men's Lacrosse team)
Ryan Geller (99)
Ryan Hurley ('10)
Ryan McClay ('03)
Sacha Ross ('95)
Samantha hafner
Scott and Vicki Campbell (parents of Tanner Campbell '99)
Scott Boomer ('90, MS '98, PhD '02)
Scott Burnam '91
Scott Lee ('02)
Scott Raasch ('04)
Sean Greenhalgh ('05)
Stephanie Pratt ('12)
Steve Mock ('13)
Steven and Anne Langton (Parents of Chris Langton '12)
Steven Kay ('94)
Susannah Johnson Keller ('98)
Tanner Scott Campbell (99)
TaraLeigh Lamb Masterson ('95)
Taryn Goodman ('00)
Tasha Rodgers ('95)
Tee Cahill ('08)
Tim Kirchner ('04)
Tim Randall ('07)
Todd Adler ('93)
Todd Miles ('98)
Tom Corbolotti ('08)
Tom Gellert (.94)
Tommy Schmicker ('09)
Travis Lamb ('93)
Troy Turri ('08)
Vikas Varma ('97)
Wayne Meichner ('79)
Will Brassel ('02)


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