BOSTON – Ryan Polley, an 11-year coaching veteran in New England and the defensive coordinator for this year’s Ivy League tournament champion, has been named the inaugural head men’s lacrosse coach at Boston University, it was announced today by Assistant Vice President and Director of Athletics Mike Lynch.
Polley (POLE-ee) has spent the last six seasons as an assistant coach at Yale University, heading up the defense for the past four. This spring, he helped the Bulldogs claim the Ivy League tournament title with convincing wins over perennial powers Cornell and Princeton, earning the program’s first NCAA bid since 1992 in the process. Yale finished the year ranked 11th in the final USILA Division I poll.
Prior to his time at Yale, Polley was the head coach at Merrimack College – his alma mater – for three seasons (2004-06). He capped his tenure with the Warriors by being named the New England Division II Coach of the Year for the second time in three years after his squad finished with a record of 11-5 and a national ranking of eighth at season’s end.
“It is with great pleasure that I welcome Ryan Polley to Boston University as our first varsity men’s lacrosse coach,” said Lynch. “His head-coaching experience along with his efforts in pushing Yale to the top of the Ivy League made him a fantastic candidate. After learning more and more about him, it was easy to recognize that he’s the right choice to get our program off and running.”
Ever since Polley took over the reins of the Yale defense, the results have been remarkable. The Bulldogs have recorded three straight 10-win seasons, beginning with a 2010 campaign that saw them earn a share of the Ivy title for the first time since 1990 and become the top-ranked team in New England. Five players received All-Ivy recognition this past season with three earning All-America honors as the Bulldogs strung together their longest win streak in over two decades.
Under Polley’s charge, the 2011 Yale squad ranked seventh nationally in scoring defense (7.57) and third in caused turnovers (10.2) a year after being ranked 10th and sixth, respectively, in those categories.
As one of the youngest head coaches in the country, Polley guided Merrimack to back-to-back top-10 finishes in Division II (2005, 2006) while having his players sweep the New England player and rookie of the year awards in both of those seasons. His defense ranked fifth in the country in 2005 while his offense averaged 13.3 goals per game in 2006, good for eighth nationally. He also produced a pair of All-Americans, including the 2006 NCAA all-divisions point leader.
Prior to taking over the Merrimack post, Polley was the first-ever head coach for the girls’ lacrosse program at Andover High School. His 2003 team went undefeated in the regular season and he compiled a record of 44-12-3 over the course of three seasons.
An All-American and a two-time All-Northeast-10 selection at Merrimack, Polley was a three-sport athlete for the Warriors, as he also played football and basketball in North Andover before focusing on lacrosse. He served as captain of the lacrosse team for three seasons and was a two-year captain in football as the squad’s starting quarterback. A native of Downingtown, Pa., Polley attended Malvern Prep and was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame last fall.
Polley, who graduated magna cum laude from Merrimack in 1999 with a bachelor’s in business administration, will now head up Boston University’s transition from club to varsity lacrosse, as the Terriers will begin Division I competition in the 2013-14 season as a member of the Patriot League.
“I’m ecstatic to join the Terrier family,” said Polley. “From the moment I walked on campus, I was impressed by the energy and the love that everyone had for BU. I know it’s going to be a big challenge, especially in the Patriot League, but BU is well-positioned to attract the highest caliber student-athletes with its resources, its stellar academic reputation and its location. I’m very appreciative of Mike [Lynch] and [Deputy Director of Athletics] Drew [Marrochello] and am grateful for this amazing opportunity.”
This past season, the Patriot League boasted three ranked squads in the final USILA national poll (Lehigh, 4th; Colgate, 9th; Bucknell, 20th) in addition to perennial powers Army and Navy. Lehigh and Colgate reached the NCAA tournament and the Raiders advanced to the quarterfinals after upsetting previously undefeated Massachusetts.
The athletic department will officially introduce Polley and his wife, Carolyn, to the Boston University community at a reception on a later date.