Lehigh men's lacrosse head coach Will Scudder. The Lehigh alum returns to Frank Banko Field 13 years after his senior season. (Holly Fasching / B&W Staff)

Lehigh men’s lacrosse embraces new head coach


The Lehigh men’s lacrosse team looks to continue their success under first-year head coach Will Scudder. Scudder begins his head coaching career after 11 years on the Mountain Hawks’ staff as both associate head coach and defensive coordinator.

Scudder’s resilience, made clear by his choice to wear a single long-sleeve shirt in freezing conditions, has paid off as he takes the top spot at his alma mater.

“He thinks it represents a toughness level like no other and showing that the cold doesn’t affect him is a mental edge,” sophomore midfielder Peter Theodoropoulos said.

Previous head coach, Kevin Cassese, who became the new associate head coach at the University of Virginia, stepped down after 16 seasons and held the best winning percentage in program history at .567. 

After beginning the year 1-2 with the lone victory against Fairfield University, Scudder and the Mountain Hawks look to get back on the right track early into the season.

Before coaching, Scudder was the team captain at Lehigh and earned  All-Patriot League honors as a face-off specialist. Before Lehigh, Scudder attended The Haverford School in Pennsylvania where he began to play high-profile lacrosse.

“Lacrosse is the most popular sport at Haverford,” Scudder said. “I got into it because all of my friends and the older guys who were role models to me all played. The most influential people outside of my mom and dad would be my high school coaches. Because of them, I knew I wanted to coach.”

Scudder’s coaching career began in his first year at Lehigh where he coached an elementary summer lacrosse team.

“I coached a bunch of fourth and fifth graders with some of my best friends from high school and it was a lot of fun,” Scudder said. “The genuine love of the game and the competitiveness from the 10-year-olds is how I got into coaching and I did it every summer.”

Following his graduation from Lehigh, Scudder worked for a financial insurance company and volunteered as a coach for a local public high school during his free time.

“I was leaving work early to go coach those high school kids, which is where a lot of my time was being spent. I wasn’t getting paid for it but I loved my time coaching there,” Scudder said.

After that year of volunteer coaching, Cassese offered Scudder a spot on Lehigh’s coaching staff.

Although his playing days are over, he still partakes in athletic activities with the team. Sophomore attackman Andrew Kelly said he appreciates his active involvement with the team.

Coach Scudder participated in all of our team lifts in the fall, and was on the same squat rack with Sean Dow and Hayden Donely and I,” Kelly said. “Not too many coaches out there are joining the team in their training like coach Scudder does.”

Since becoming head coach, Scudder has won over talented recruits and created strong relationships with his players.

Kelly was one of them. 

“As a person, there is not a coach out there like Coach Scudder,” Kelly said. “He was the reason I came to Lehigh. Not only because he is a very reputable coach, but is also someone who is very easy to talk to and genuinely cares about each player on the team. As a coach, there are not too many coaches that are as dedicated and passionate about lacrosse than he is, which makes it very easy for us to give it our all.” 

Kelly started his sophomore season with seven goals in ten games, good for second on the team in that category.

This hot start is reflective of the confidence that Kelly said Scudder instills in his players and makes him stand out from other coaches.

“As one of his players, I have never felt more confident on the field than I have under him,” Kelly said.

The start of Scudder’s head coaching tenure has already seen ups and downs. The team fell 14-12 to No. 14 Rutgers in the first game of the season and nearly erased a 10-4 deficit against No. 5 Cornell on Feb. 17, scoring five consecutive goals to close the gap before conceding four straight.

Still, Theodoropoulos said Scudder’s personality and intensity motivate the team to improve as the season goes on.

Coach Scudder is not only one of the best coaches but he is a great person,” Theodoropoulos said. “He always says that he would run through a wall for anyone on the team and I’m sure if you asked anyone else they would say the same exact thing, that we truly believe it.” 

The Mountain Hawks play Villanova University at home on Saturday, March 2.

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