Legendary Urick steps down, Hoyas open coaching search
Georgetown lacrosse entered a new era on Friday, with legendary head coach Dave Urick announcing his retirement from the program after 23 years at its helm. A press release made the announcement on Friday, also stating that Urick would continue to work in the Athletic Department as a Special Assistant to Athletics Director Lee Reed.
“Dave Urick has been a great ambassador for Georgetown University and he has guided our men’s lacrosse program to the top of the sport nationally,” Reed said in the release. “He is an icon in the sport and his legacy on the Hilltop will last for years to come. Dave brought our program from the ground up and made it one of the best in the country, both on the field and off. We’re grateful for all that he has done for men’s lacrosse and Georgetown University and I’m happy that we will have him here as a resource.”
Urick’s Hoyas have struggled over the past couple of seasons, failing to get past seven wins. The only reason these seasons were considered disappointments, though, is because of the precedent Urick set in 21 seasons prior, leading the Hoyas to 223 wins in his time on the Hilltop. The program reached its heydey beginning in 1997, when Urick’s Hoyas started a string of 11 straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including an appearance in the 1999 semifinals.
Urick played a huge role in the success of the lacrosse program. Georgetown lacrosse did not achieve a winning season until his arrival in 1990 (and subsequently, have not had a losing season since). Prior to his time on the Hilltop, Urick coached for ten seasons at Division III Hobart College, where he won not one, not two, not three, but ten consecutive national championships. In his 33 years of coaching, Urick has produced 102 All-Americans, including 65 during his time at Georgetown. His oversight of the program’s transformation from a dormant lacrosse team to a national powerhouse has not gone unnoticed either; Urick has been honored with countless accolades over the years, including an induction into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1998.
Though Georgetown announced a national search for a new head coach, expect in-house assistants Matt Kerwick and Scott Urick (COL ’00) to feature prominently in the process. Urick told the Washington Post he expected both coaches to apply and hoped the committe would give the candidates a “long, hard look.” The Voice profiled Kerwick’s impact on the program from Urick’s perspective at the beginning of the season:
Across the board, the players seem to credit first-year Associate Head Coach Matt Kerwick with transitioning the new group in preparation for the season. Urick has kept the Hoya program quite stable during his time on the Hilltop, but breathed new life into it by bringing Kerwick back to Georgetown after a two-year head coaching stint in Jacksonville.
“Matt was an offensive player [under Urick at Hobart] and he’s a great coach, but he’s working with the defense primarily,” Urick said. “I think that’s obviously going to help him tremendously in the long run. He’s a real positive addition to what we’re doing, that’s for sure.”
Whoever replaces Urick–whether it be Kerwick, Urick’s son, or an outside candidate–will have enormous shoes to fill. But in a farewell email to alumni and friends of the lacrosse program, Urick vowed to oversee the transition to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible. The full text of that email, as published on InsideLacrosse, follows:
Dear member of the Georgetown Lacrosse family:
Twenty-three years ago, I arrived at Georgetown, excited about the opportunity to serve at such an outstanding institution of higher learning. I have decided that now, after 42 years of coaching college lacrosse, I am ready to shift gears.
Happily, I plan to continue working — as a special assistant to Director of Athletics, Lee Reed. I look forward to remaining involved in the future of Georgetown Athletics, especially as we take on the challenge of constructing a new intercollegiate athletic center and a new lacrosse locker room. I am confident that the lacrosse program will remain a strong and vital part of Georgetown Athletics. I look forward to becoming another fan in the grandstand.
As I look back on the intervening years, I am most proud of the accomplishments of our players. Much has been achieved on the field, but most meaningfully, it is their development as young men that has mattered the most to me.
Looking ahead, there will be an immediate open search for a new head coach. The administration will be looking for the best coaching talent who is also the best fit for Georgetown University. I anticipate working with the new coaching staff to ensure that there is a smooth transition.
You will be hearing more in the coming weeks. Thank you for past and continued support and involvement.
Photo: Abby Greene