Six weeks ago, Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel announced the firing of men’s lacrosse coach John Paul, the only head coach the program has known.
Wednesday, Manuel found his replacement when he announced the official hiring of Kevin Conry, formerly the associate head coach and defensive coordinator at Maryland.
“I am excited to welcome Kevin Conry to the University of Michigan,” Manuel said in a statement. “Kevin has a diverse background in the Big Ten landscape, which will be a huge asset as we continue to build on the success of our program.”
Conry spent five years in College Park — a span during which the Terrapins went 67-17, including a third straight Big Ten title and a national championship this season. Under Conry’s guidance, Maryland’s defense ranked in the Top 10 in fewest goals allowed in four out of five seasons.
Instead of trying to defend a national title at a perennial power next season, however, Conry’s next task will be to continue building a program from the ground up.
Maryland and Michigan may share conference affiliation, but aside from that, the two programs could hardly be more different. Maryland’s lacrosse program has existed since 1924, and is one of the most prestigious in NCAA history — the Terrapins are the only major college team that has never had a losing season, and have won 31 conference titles and three national titles while making 40 NCAA Tournament appearances.
The Wolverines, on the other hand, only added varsity lacrosse in 2012, and have had just one winning season in their history. That one winning season, however, took place just this year, when Michigan went 8-6 and defeated a ranked opponent — No. 10 Penn — for the first time ever.
“My wife, daughters and I could not be more excited to join the Michigan Athletics family, and Ann Arbor community,” Conry said in a statement. “The University of Michigan represents a standard of excellence that I look forward to upholding. I would like to thank sport administrator Bitsy Ritt and athletic director Warde Manuel for their commitment to the sport of lacrosse, and this amazing opportunity to be a head coach in the best lacrosse conference in the country.”