Harvard assistant DeLuca replaces longtime Hen men’s lacrosse coach Shillinglaw

NEWARK — For the first time in four decades, the University of Delaware has a new head men’s lacrosse coach.

UD announced on Thursday that it has hired Harvard assistant coach Ben DeLuca to replaces Bob Shillinglaw. Shillinglaw retired after 39 seasons as the Blue Hens’ coach.

DeLuca becomes just the ninth coach in the 67-year history of the sport at Delaware, Shillinglaw’s teams won 310 games, made six NCAA Division I Tournament appearances and won 16 conference titles.

“I am so excited to welcome Ben and his family to the Blue Hens family,” said Delaware athletic director Chrissi Rawak. “Ben believes strongly in the pursuit of excellence on and off the field and embodies the core values that drive the decisions we make everyday in Delaware athletics.

“In addition, he brings to us an incredible knowledge of the game of lacrosse and an understanding that the University of Delaware is a very special place. We have such a passionate group of Delaware lacrosse alumni and I know Ben will build a strong connection with them. There is absolutely no doubt that Ben will make our men’s lacrosse program, this department, and this university better.”

Ben DeLuca has coached at Cornell, Duke, and Harvard. During that time he has helped teams to 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, including a national championship as an assistant at Duke, a national runner-up finish as an assistant at Cornell, and three other NCAA semifinal appearances as a head coach and as an assistant. (UD Photo Services)

DeLuca has coached at Cornell, Duke, and Harvard. During that time he has helped teams to 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, including a national championship as an assistant at Duke, a national runner-up finish as an assistant at Cornell, and three other NCAA semifinal appearances as a head coach and as an assistant.

“My family and I want to thank President (Dennis) Assanis and Chrissi Rawak for this special opportunity and for the trust they have showed in inviting us to share in their mission to lead the renaissance of this great program together,” said DeLuca. “I am excited and honored to take over a program from someone like Bob Shillinglaw who has meant so much to this university and to the entire sport of lacrosse.”

UD athletic direcror Chrissi Rawak joins new men’s lacrosse coach Ben DeLuca at the Bob Carpenter Center on Thursday.

Following an outstanding playing career for Cornell, DeLuca joined the coaching ranks at his alma mater and served for 14 years, including three seasons as head coach in 2011-13. He then served for two seasons as an assistant coach to John Danowski at Duke in 2014-15 and the last two seasons as associate head coach at Harvard for head coach Chris Wojcik.

Among his fellow staff members at Harvard was former Delaware starting goalkeeper and captain Noah Fossner.

In two seasons at Harvard, DeLuca helped lead the Crimson to a 14-15 record. That included an 8-8 mark in 2016 when the team advanced to the Ivy League championship game after knocking off top-seeded and No. 2-ranked Brown in the semifinals.

That victory was one of three for the Crimson over a nationally-ranked opponent, with Harvard also defeating then No. 4 Duke, 14-9, and then No. 20 Villanova, 13-12. The win over the Wildcats came in the season opener in overtime as the Crimson became just the second team in NCAA history to win three-consecutive games in overtime.

DeLuca came to Cambridge after spending the previous two seasons as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator under Danowski at Duke, helping the Blue Devils to the 2014 national championship and the ACC regular season championship. DeLuca coached four defensive All-American’s in his first season in Durham. Duke also advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2015.

Prior to Duke, DeLuca spent 18 years at Cornell as both a student-athlete and coach, including three seasons as head coach from 2011-13. The Big Red won a pair of Ivy titles with DeLuca at the helm, posting an overall record of 37-11 with a conference mark of 16-2.

Cornell also made two appearances in the NCAA tournament, reaching the quarterfinals in 2011 and the national semifinals in 2013. Twelve student-athletes earned All-America recognition under DeLuca’s tutelage, including Rob Pannell who graduated from Cornell as the NCAA’s career leader in points (354).

A native of Rochester, N.Y, DeLuca is married to the former Laurie Tortorelli, a former All-American goalie for the women’s lacrosse team at the University of Delaware. Laurie was a four-year starter in goal in 1999-2002 and led the Hens to the NCAA Tournament in 2000 and an America East conference title in 1999. She still ranks No. 2 all-time at Delaware with 754 saves and No. 3 in minutes played (3,767).

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