Duke Names DeLuca as Volunteer Assistant Coach for 2014 Season
|Duke has hired former Cornell head coach Ben DeLuca as a volunteer assistant for the 2014 season. (John Strohsacker)|
Defending NCAA champion Duke has named former Cornell head coach Ben DeLuca as a volunteer assistant coach for the 2014 season, Blue Devils head coach John Danowski said Wednesday, saying it's a great fit "on all sorts of different levels."
DeLuca will replace former assistant Joe Cinosky, who left Duke last month to replace Travis Johnson as the full-time assistant at Mount St. Mary's. Johnson became the first coach of NJIT. Inside Lacrosse first reported the DeLuca hire Wednesday morning.
"I had been thinking about it," Danowski told Lacrosse Magazine. "It's a no-brainer for us. We replace a defensive coach with a defensive coach who has a lot of experience, but more importantly is a terrific person, great character, somebody that I can learn from, somebody that our coaching staff can learn from and most importantly, my kids can. We always have a lot of fun coaching. We always make the sure the right personalities are involved, so he just seemed to fit."
DeLuca, who was fired from Cornell amid controversy in November, will join long-time Duke assistant Ron Caputo and second-year assistant Matt Danowski on the Blue Devils staff.
DeLuca, who in addition to coaching the Big Red to a final four appearance against, go figure, Duke, last year — was an evaluator at Team USA tryouts over the summer, and was on the sideline at Champion Challenge Jan. 24-26 as a volunteer scouting consultant for head coach Richie Meade's staff.
At Duke, DeLuca will work with a defense that returns starting long-stick midfielder Luke Duprey and defensemen Chris Hipps and Henry Lobb, all Major League Lacrosse draft picks last month.
Casey Carroll, who served five years as an Army Ranger after last playing for the Blue Devils in 2007, has been working to return to the lineup as well. Danowski said Carroll is slated to be in the starting lineup as the Blue Devils' third close defenseman in Duke's season-opener at 1 p.m. Saturday against Atlantic Sun preseason favorite Jacksonville in Durham, N.C.
Carroll, 29, tore his ACL while attempting a comeback with Duke this time last year, and was only able to practice with the Blue Devils a few days a week in the fall given graduate school and family responsibilites. He has two young children.
"Coming back, it's all about figuring out where your place is on the field and how the whole rhythm of the game goes again," Carroll told LM on Tuesday night. "My teammates and coaches have been extra patient with me while I try to figure all this stuff out."
DeLuca will now be one of those coaches.
Check back to LaxMagazine.com on Friday for a full season preview for the No. 1 Blue Devils.