Dan Russo was named the Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach at Wentworth Institute of Technology on July 20, 2011. The sixth head coach in program history, he enters his ninth season as the head coach and 12th season involved with the program.
The 2018 campaign saw Wentworth qualify for the Commonwealth Coast Conference Tournament for the first time since the 2016 campaign and matched the total number of wins (six) in the previous two seasons. Six of the Leopards’ nine losses came by a combined nine goals, including three defeats by a single goal. Senior Jacob Eldred became the eighth player in program history to be selected for the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association’s West-West Senior All-Star Game.
During Russo’s first season at the helm the Leopards may have finished 2-11, however, two of those losses were by a combined four goals, including a 7-6, overtime loss to Nichols, and were in many other contests until the latter stages. He won his first game as a head coach, defeating Mass. Maritime, 8-6, on March 14, 2012. The Leopards also improved by taking fewer penalties in four seasons.
The 2013 season was a breakout one for the Black & Gold as Wentworth finished with an 11-7 record, made its first trip to the CCC Tournament since 2009 and earned a berth in the ECAC Tournament for the first time since 2004. Four of Wentworth’s losses were by a single goal, including a pair of overtime games to conclude the regular season and end hopes of advancing in the CCC Tournament. The Leopards began the season with a 5-0 record and would battle perennial CCC power Endicott to the very end, falling 11-10 on April 2. A program-record six players were named All-CCC, with one being selected to play in the prestigious USILA North/South All-Star Game. Wentworth set program records for wins, points, assists, ground balls during this campaign.
Coming on the heels of the program’s most successful season, the 2014 edition of the Leopards faced a challenging schedule, one that would see three games against teams which would appear in the NCAA Tournament. After an 0-2 start, Wentworth won its next three before falling in its next four games to stand at 3-6. A three-game win streak brought the Leopards back to .500 before dropping an overtime decision to Salve Regina. In the final regular-season contest, the Black & Gold needed to win to clinch a CCC Tournament berth and edged the University of New England, 12-10, before falling to Salve Regina in the first round of the tournament. Of Wentworth’s nine losses, four were by a combined eight goals.
Wentworth posted its second winning season in the last three seasons with a 9-8 finish in 2015. The Leopards’ nine triumphs ties for second on the program’s all-time single season win list. Wentworth began the season with a pair of one-goal wins on its first-ever trip to Texas, including a 9-8 win over Southwestern. The Leopards stood at 6-2 before dropping a pair of games to NCAA Tournament participants in Endicott and Emmanuel. Wentworth finished the regular season going 3-3 over its final six games and earned its third straight Commonwealth Coast Conference Tournament berth. Freshman Jake Ollila became the second player in program history to earn CCC Rookie of the Year honors, while senior Ryan Coakley because the first player in program history to score more than 200 points in their career.
In 2016, Wentworth got off to a slow start, dropping its first six contests before a 16-6 win over Emmanuel on March 26 got the Leopards in the win column. An 11-9 win at Gordon on April 20 clinched Wentworth's fourth straight Commonwealth Coast Conference Tournament berth. Five of Wentworth's losses came by a single goal with four coming in overtime. Two members of the team earned All-CCC accolades and the class of 2016 graduated as the program's all-time leader with 31 wins.
The Leopards picked up two additional victories in 2017 at 6-10 than the previous campaign in 2016, including a 6-5 overtime win at Salve Regina on March 25. The victory broke a nine-year freeze between Wentworth and Salve men’s lacrosse, as the Leopards last topped the Seahawks in March of 2008.
Wentworth matched the total number of wins achieved during the 2017 season by finishing 6-8 in 2018. The Leopards, who averaged 15.5 goals in their first six games of the season, finished the season among the top ten in program history in goals, assists, and points. Half (four) of Wentworth’s losses came by a combined eight goals, including dropping a two-goal decision to eventual league champion Wentworth New England.
A native of Manhasset, N.Y., Russo joined the Leopard staff at the start of the 2008-09 academic year and assisted former head coach Paul Murphy in all areas of on and off-field coaching, including recruiting, practice planning, conditioning, and in-game coaching. He helped to coach three All-CCC selections over during his time as an assistant coach and in the 2011 campaign he helped direct an offense to its highest scoring average (8.85 goals per game) since the 2005 season.
Russo was a four-year letterwinner at Lasell College, where he played in 50 of a possible 59 games during his career, helping the Lasers to a 31-28 record. His freshman season (2004) saw him achieve career-highs with 14 goals, three assists, and 17 points, and he finished his career with 47 points, coming on 41 goals and six assists. During both his sophomore and junior seasons Lasell posted back-to-back 10-6 records and earned berths in the ECAC Tournament in each of those two seasons. He received a Bachelor's degree from Lasell in sports management in 2007 and is set to receive a Master's of Arts degree in teaching from Northeastern University this coming September.
Outside of coaching at the collegiate level, Russo has been a youth lacrosse coach in Newton, Mass., for the past two years and served as a coach in the New England Select Lacrosse League in 2008 and 2009. He has also been involved with the Ireland Lacrosse Foundation since 2005 and worked for the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse as a ticket sales manager.
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