Former Lehigh lacrosse standout David DiMaria, ’13, has returned to the team as director of operations and as an assistant coach.
DiMaria’s coaching responsibilities include coaching the goalies and running the box. As director of operations, DiMaria oversees campus tours for recruits and schedules fall tournaments.
In his playing days, DiMaria, a collegiate All American, played a crucial role in the program’s breakthrough.
As a junior, he posted a team-high 47 points in Lehigh’s 2012 season, which culminated in the program’s first Patriot League Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance.
As a senior and team captain, DiMaria led the Mountain Hawks to another Patriot League championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
DiMaria added another 33 goals and 40 assists to his career statistics, earning a nomination for the Tewaaraton Award, which is given each year to the most outstanding NCAA men’s and women’s lacrosse players.
DiMaria is still second in program history for career assists with 117 and third for career points with 205.
Following graduation, the Boston Cannons picked DiMaria in the 2013 Entry Draft of the Premier Lacrosse League.
DiMaria returns to Lehigh for the same reason he committed in the first place: his love for Coach Kevin Casssese.
In high school, DiMaria said he took a chance on Cassese and the Lehigh program by committing to the university without officially visiting.
“I believed in (Cassese) and the culture he was trying to instill,” DiMaria said. “After an hour long phone call, I knew I’d run through a wall for this guy.”
Ever since graduating, DiMaria said he’s patiently waited for the opportunity to come back to coach with Cassese.
“Coach Cassese is like a second father to me,” DiMaria said. “It’s an honor to be back in the mix with the guy that taught me everything.”
His former coach is excited to welcome him back into the fold.
Coach Cassese said DiMaria will bring a wealth of knowledge, genuine love for the game, love for the players and love for the Lehigh lacrosse program.
He considers DiMaria one of the best attackmen in Lehigh lacrosse history, and one of the toughest competitors he has ever coached.
“He was a true quarterback for our offense from 2010-2013,” Cassese said. “He could do it all, dodge, score, pass, ride.”
DiMaria also joins associate head coach Will Scudder, ‘11, his former teammate of two years.
Scudder said he hopes DiMaria brings the same energy and passion he brought to the program as a player.
“He wears his emotions on his sleeve,” Scudder said. “His energy and passion is contagious.”
Besides the coaching staff, DiMaria is a familiar face to some of the players as well. As a youth coach, he guided eight of the Long Island natives on the team to Lehigh.
While watching those same players advance to the NCAA tournament, he decided he didn’t want to watch from the backseat any more.
Now as a college coach, DiMaria said he aims to instill in his players the same competitive nature he played with as a Mountain Hawk.
Despite the team’s success, last year’s season was different than most because of the pandemic. With the absence of Ivy League teams and positive COVID-19 test results halting play, DiMaria said he anticipates tougher competition this upcoming season.
“As a coach, it’s easier because you’ve been there and done that,” DiMaria said. “Having been in their shoes, I want to help develop each player no matter if they’re the first guy on the depth chart or the last.”
DiMaria didn’t win a national championship at Lehigh, but now as a coach, he’s focused on bringing one back to Bethlehem.
“I know people think a national championship is crazy or maybe even unattainable,” DiMaria said. “But, with Cassese at the helm combined with the talent from players like Mike Sisselberger and James Spence, we have all the pieces in place.”