Craig McDonald Named Third Head Coach in Robert Morris Men's Lacrosse History

PHOTO COURTESY OF UMASS ATHLETICS


MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. – Robert Morris Vice President and Director of Athletics Chris King '94 announced Monday that Craig McDonald has been named men's lacrosse head coach.
 
"Today is an exciting day for RMU Athletics and the men's lacrosse program," King said. "Selecting Craig McDonald as our new head coach sets the course for a new era of success in all phases of our program. He's been part of championship-level lacrosse at UMass, and he will bring that kind of competitiveness to RMU lacrosse.
 
"When we started this search, we were looking for a coach that was energized by the challenge of competing for and winning ASUN and NCAA Tournament championships and also understood the importance of building upon the history of the RMU men's lacrosse program," King said. "After speaking with several of the top head coaches in college lacrosse, it became clear that Coach McDonald has a strong ability to recruit, lead, inspire, communicate and develop meaningful and long-lasting relationships with student-athletes. His philosophies on the student-athlete experience align with the vision, core values, purpose and culture of our department and the men's lacrosse program. We are thrilled to welcome Craig, his wife, Maggie, and son, Conor, to the RMU family."
 
McDonald comes to RMU after spending the last seven years at UMass, where he started as an assistant coach before being promoted to Associate Head Coach in 2018. While with the Minutemen, McDonald served as both defensive coordinator, working with the goaltenders while assisting with the faceoff unit, and recruiting coordinator.
 
During his time at UMass, the Minutemen appeared in three Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) championship games, winning the 2018 CAA tournament crown and advancing to the NCAA Tournament. In 2019, UMass advanced to the CAA Tournament semifinals behind a defense tutored by McDonald that ranked third in the country in scoring defense. Over the last four seasons with McDonald on the coaching staff, the Minutemen compiled an overall record of 31-18 (.633).
 
"My family and I are very humbled and thankful for the opportunity to join the Robert Morris University family," McDonald said. "I would like to thank Vice President and Director of Athletics Chris King for this great opportunity and his belief and confidence in me to lead the RMU men's lacrosse program forward as we move into the ASUN Conference. I'm excited to get started and look forward to building on the foundation and tradition that was established by Bear Davis and Andrew McMinn, as well as all the student-athletes that have come through this great program. I'm extremely honored with this great opportunity and can't wait to meet with the current players and alumni and get to work."







During a 2020 campaign that was shortened due to COVID-19, UMass ranked in the top 20 nationally and finished with a 5-2 (.714) mark behind a defense led by McDonald that allowed just 9.60 goals per game in its five victories. The Minutemen posted a landmark win during the year, a 13-10 triumph over No. 1 Yale (2/29), the program's first victory over a top-ranked team in the country. Earlier that season UMass also went on the road and knocked off No. 12 Ohio State (2/15), 9-7.
 
In 2019, McDonald guided a UMass defense that allowed just 8.87 goals per game, which ranked third in NCAA Division I. That defense was anchored by defenseman Isaac Paparo and goalie Sean Sconone, both which were named Inside Lacrosse First Team All-Americans as the Minutemen compiled an overall record of 10-5 (.667) and claimed the 2019 CAA regular-season championship. Sconone was tabbed the 2019 CAA Defensive Player of the Year, while Paparo garnered United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Scholar All-America accolades.
 
In 2018, UMass earned a 12-8 victory over Towson (5/5) to claim the CAA Tournament crown and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. McDonald helped the Minutemen record an overall record of 12-5 (.706) in 2018, with Papano being selected the CAA Player of the Year, while attack Chris Connolly garnered CAA Rookie of the Year honors. Overall during his tenure at UMass, McDonald helped tutor a Tewaaraton Award nominee, two Academic All-Americans, eight All-Americans and 35 All-CAA honorees.

"Searching for a head coach can be a long and difficult process, but we were able to accomplish our goals in three weeks," King said. "That would not have been possible without the tireless efforts, counsel and leadership of our lacrosse sport administrator Marty Galosi, deputy athletic director Kim Graham and head women's lacrosse coach Katrina Silva during this national search. I would also like to give a shout out to our men's lacrosse student-athletes and their role during campus interviews. Their involvement, dedication and commitment to the process was extremely impressive, and their transparent and honest feedback was greatly appreciated and is reflected directly in today's hire of Coach McDonald."
 
Prior to UMass, McDonald was an assistant coach at Rutgers, serving as defensive coordinator, goalie coach and recruiting coordinator from 2011-14. McDonald also was an assistant coach at Siena (2010-11) and began his collegiate coaching career at Union College (2008-10).
 
A 2008 graduate of the University at Albany with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology with a minor in education, McDonald was a four-year letterwinner with the Great Danes on defense. He helped guide Albany to the NCAA Tournament in both 2005 and 2007 and was a three-time All-America East honoree, garnering second team accolades in 2006 and first team plaudits in 2007 and 2008.
 
McDonald, a native of Geneva, N.Y., and his wife, Maggie, have one son, Conor.

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