Cassese to coach U.S. national team in Champion Challenge
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese will continue his work with the U.S. men’s national team when he coaches the squad in an exhibition tilt on Sunday, Jan. 29 against defending National Semifinalist Denver. Faceoff against the Pioneers is set for 1:30 p.m. at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Cassese will be joined by Towson head coach Shawn Nadelen and Chestnut Hill head coach Brian Dougherty to make up the staff.
“It’s an honor to represent your country in this capacity,” said Cassese. “I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with U.S. Lacrosse ever since 1999 when I was involved with the Under-19 Team. I’ve been a part of that team and three men’s senior national teams.”
Cassese has extensive involvement with U.S. Lacrosse, as both a player and coach, including last year’s Champion Challenge when he led the United States to a 12-7 win over Notre Dame.
A star-studded U.S. roster includes numerous returnees from that 2010 team: Mike Leveille (Syracuse ’08), Stephen Peyser (Johns Hopkins ’08), Max Seibald (Cornell ’09) and Matt Striebel (Princeton ’01). Returners from the 2009 training team: Stephen Berger (Washington College ’04), Steven Brooks (Syracuse ’08), Chris Eck (Colgate ’08), Kevin Leveille (Massachusetts ’03) and Lee Zink (Maryland ’04). For the complete roster, please click here.
This past October, Cassese led the Red, White & Blue to a win over his alma mater Duke in Stars & Stripes Weekend, one year after coaching the U.S. to victory over Harvard. One highlight as a player came when he co-captained the United States to a 12-10 win over archrival Canada in the summer of 2010 to capture the gold medal at the FIL World Championships
“I’ve been involved with the U.S. National Team for 13 or 14 years,” said Cassese. “To stay on in this capacity as a coach with the program is very special to me.
“We’re treating this as a business trip like we’ve always had,” he continued. “I’m very proud to have coached three of these training teams. We’ve gone 3-0 and the goal for this one is to improve to 4-0. All the coaches and players are ultra-competitive, so we’ll go down to enjoy the experience, but we’re also there to win the game.”
Former Navy coach Richie Meade was recently announced as the new head coach of the U.S. Team for the 2014 FIL World Championships in Denver. He will observe the Champion Challenge before transitioning to take over the reins of the team.