DULUTH, Minn. - The University of Minnesota-Duluth men’s lacrosse team is pleased to announce the promotion of Alex McNamara and Ben Blaeser to co-head coaches for the 2017 season.
McNamara served as an assistant coach for the Bulldogs last season which went 7-7 (5-2 UMLC). Blaeser, a '12 graduate, joins the UMD coaching staff as the defensive coordinator and midfield coach.
Prior to his arrival at Duluth, McNamara served as an assistant coach for The Academy of Holy Angels, where he had many successful seasons. He spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach at UMD, where he helped lead the Bulldogs to an MCLA tournament berth in 2014 and 2016. As a player, McNamara developed into a standout offensive threat for the Bulldogs, earning all-conference honors each of his four years on the team.
Blaeser joins the Bulldog staff to lead the defense and work with the midfield. Along with coaching for UMD, Blaeser is the head coach for Champlin Park (Minn.) High School and coaches for Team Minnesota. As a player, Blaeser was one of UMD's most athletic two-way midfielders, earning multiple all-UMLC honors and All-American accolades as a senior in 2012. Along with his many athletic achievements, Blaeser served as president of the team and was awarded the Nancy Burley Scholarship in 2012.
Former UMD head coach Sam Litman stepped down this fall after 12 years coaching with the team. Litman, an assistant prior to being head coach for four years, passed the responsibilities of leading the Bulldogs to McNamara and Blaeser after guiding the team through a successful fall campaign. Under Litman, UMD won three UMLC titles and advanced to the MCLA tournament in 2014 and 2016.
The Bulldogs look to build upon a successful 2016 season, where they earned an at-large bid to the MCLA Division II National Championships powered by Under Armour. UMD's large freshman and sophomore classes bring a lot of talent to the team and will likely be a determining factor to the success of the 2017 season. Seniors Andrew Greenlee and Tyler Lundberg will help lead the team, along with junior captains Kyle Kattermann and Cooper Carlson.
UMD begins official spring practice at the beginning of January in order to prepare for their first game against Saint John's on Feb. 17 in Collegeville, Minn.