Mearns Named St. Bonaventure's First Division I Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach


In addition to coaching Canisius for the past 19 seasons, Randy Mearns led the Canadian National Team to gold in the 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championship.

St. Bonaventure University Director of Athletics Tim Kenney has announced the hiring of Randy Mearns as the first Division I head coach of the Bonnies men's lacrosse program.

A decorated coach and player, Mearns brings a lengthy resume to St. Bonaventure.

Mearns has directed the men's lacrosse program at Canisius College for the past 19 seasons. During his time in Buffalo, Mearns led his program to a pair of Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championships and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2008 and 2012. Under his leadership, 41 players have received all-conference accolades and a number have gone on to play professionally – six Canisius players have been selected in the first round of the National Lacrosse League Draft and three earned selections in the Major League Lacrosse Draft.

"Everyone who knows Randy talks about his energy and his vision to move things forward," Kenney said. "He's coming to St. Bonaventure to create something special and with Randy at the helm the sky is the limit for this program. His reputation in the lacrosse world is huge. We're going to build this program from the ground up and into a championship contender."

This past season, Mearns registered his 100th career victory with the Griffs and guided the MAAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year in Connor Kearnan while six of his players were honored as part of the annual MAAC awards. Mearns' players also enjoyed success in the classroom as 19 student-athletes were named to the MAAC All-Academic Team, tying for most in the league. Mearns enjoyed another winning MAAC season as well, giving him 11 years where his Canisius teams have been .500 or better in conference.

"As the process went, this became more and more of a great fit," Mearns said. "The opportunity at St. Bonaventure really intrigued me; when I came on campus I was immediately inspired. This is a gem of an institution. I think we can really build something special here.

"The academics at St. Bonaventure are phenomenal, the people are phenomenal and the support for the program is there," Mearns continued. "Tim Kenney is a visionary who is excited about this journey and I want to thank Tim and (St. Bonaventure University President) Dr. DePerro for this opportunity. I'm tremendously excited to be part of it."

Mearns also has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success on the international level.

In 2014, he added a gold medal to his head coaching resume by leading the Canadian National Team to the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championship. That year saw 10 of his Canisius players participate in the world championship including five on his winning Canadian team. Prior to leading the Canadian National Team to the 2014 World Championship, he was an assistant coach in both 2006 and 2010, with the 2006 team also winning the gold medal.

In his nine-year playing career in the National Lacrosse League (NLL), he was a part of two championship teams and named NLL All-Star Game MVP in 1999. He has also experienced success at the National level as team captain of four Mann Cup championship teams, the Brampton Excelsiors ('93) and the Six Nations Chiefs ('94-'96). Further, he served as team captain for the Rochester Knighthawks (NLL) for six years, and Team Canada at the 1998 World Championship. 

While in Rochester, he helped the Knighthawks to four championship appearances ('96, '97, '99 and 2000) including a league title in 1997. He bookended his NLL playing career with a pair of seasons with the Buffalo Bandits including the best offensive output of his career with 14 goals and 24 assists during the 2002 season. In all, he tallied 244 career points in nine NLL seasons with Buffalo and Rochester.

He also played in the Canadian Junior A and Canadian Senior A Lacrosse Leagues with a 10-year stint beginning in 1990. During that time, he appeared in eight national championships including five as team captain, winning six overall championships.

Mearns was a part of the Canadian Junior National Team which won the silver medal in the 1988 World Championships before being a part of the first recruiting class at Canisius. He finished his college career ranking second in Griffs career scoring with 190 points and still holds the school's single season records for points (94) and assists (49). Mearns is also the Griffs' all-time leader in assists (95). He was drafted by the Buffalo Bandits in 1992 to begin his professional playing career and was a member of the Bandits Major Indoor Lacrosse League World Championship team in 1993.

After serving as a tri-captain for the 1998 World Championship Canadian silver medal winners, he accepted the head coaching job at Canisius and has guided his alma mater for the last 19 years.

Mearns will begin his duties immediately and start building the Bonnies program which will open play in the 2018-19 academic year with its first championship season coming in spring 2019.

"We will start with the 2018-19 class and I feel with the contacts that I have that we will be able to bring the right-fit student-athletes here," Mearns said. "I know we will have some struggles our first year and there will be learning experiences. But it is important for me to know that we are building the right way, to bring in student-athletes who are the right fit. We are going to bring in kids that are strong in the classroom and have high lacrosse IQ from different places around the United States and Canada. My intention is to win here – we are going to roll up our sleeves and really take to the challenge."

He is a member of the Canadian Lacrosse, Ontario Lacrosse, Rochester Knighthawks and Canisius College halls of fame and also owns bachelor's and master's degrees from Canisius.

St. Bonaventure previously sponsored men's lacrosse as an intercollegiate team from 1989-93, when the program was moved to its current club level. This will mark the first time the Bonnies will play the sport at the Division I level. Mearns remembers playing at St. Bonaventure against the Bonnies more than two decades ago, and hopes to connect with alumni from those teams. "We are excited to see how many of those guys are still involved in the game in some way," he said.

The men's lacrosse team will play its home games at the Tom 80' and Michelle Marra Athletics Fields Complex, which was re-dedicated in September 2014 following a $1 million donation from its namesakes with a brand new artificial turf playing surface. 

What They're Saying About Randy Mearns

"I think it is a perfect hire. He's a guy who knows what it takes to make a start-up a really strong program. He's been around long enough to know what the benefits of a place like St. Bonaventure can be and he brings a wealth of experience from so many fronts. The location of St. Bonaventure is going to be great for bringing in the Upstate New York kids and the Canadian kids. He's just such a great guy and so well-liked and respected in the lacrosse community. I am excited to see him grow the program." - Bill Tierney, Head Coach University of Denver (seven-time national champion)

"He is a true passionate professional. His passion for the game of lacrosse and for his student-athletes is unrivaled. St. Bonaventure is getting a fantastic individual in Randy Mearns and an exciting coach who has won a world championship with Team Canada and will bring that same level of dedication to his new venture." - Steve Govett, President and General Manager Colorado Mammoth (NLL)

"I have worked closely with Randy as a player and a coach for our Canadian National Team since 1998 and he is without question one of the finest people that are involved in our sport. I think St. Bonaventure could not have picked a better man to lead their program and get things started with the Bonnies." - Dave Huntley, Canadian National Program Director and Assistant Coach Atlanta Blaze (MLL)

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