WASHINGTON, DC (7/16/14) ̶ Joe Opron, Head Coach of the George Washington University men’s lacrosse team for the last three seasons, has announced that he will be stepping off the sidelines for family and professional reasons and into a new role as Director of Lacrosse Operations. In that new capacity, he will support the team’s administration, budgeting, and relationships with the league and other programs.
When asked about the transition, Opron noted that “with such a talented group of incoming and returning players, I’m crushed to know that I will not be on the sidelines, but I’m glad that I will be able to continue to guide the program off the field. Coaching at George Washington University has been an absolute honor and provided me with friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.”
“Thank you to everyone in the administration, especially our faculty advisor Mike Morsberger, and the outstanding student-athletes that made these past three years the highlight of my coaching career,” added Opron.
Succeeding Opron as Head Coach is J.D. Englehart, who has served as the Colonials’ Defensive Coordinator for the past two seasons. Englehart was a four-year player at NCAA Division III Washington & Lee University in Lexington, VA and graduated in 2011 with a degree in business administration. A walk-on defenseman, Englehart worked his way into a starting role and was elected team captain as a senior.
Over his four seasons, the W&L defense held opposing teams to a 7.18 goals per game average. He was also one of three student-athletes to serve on the university’s athletics oversight board and was a founding member of the school’s student-athlete mentor group. A native of Baltimore, MD, Englehart played under legendary coach Jake Reed at Dulaney High School, a 10-time Maryland State Champion. He has been active in the game as a player and coach his entire life, and still competes in club leagues in the DC-area.
“Stepping into the head coaching role and taking over for Joe is a tremendous opportunity, and one that I am extremely excited about,” Englehart said. “I have had the pleasure of watching Joe develop this program from the ground up, and now will continue the job he started with the help of the committed assistants we have in place. I also look forward to leaning on Joe for advice and support, and know that he will continue to be a huge part of this program.”
Opron also expressed his strong endorsement for the new Head Coach, saying that “hiring J.D. was likely the best move I made in my three years as head Coach. His passion for the game is undeniable and he’s one of those rare coaches who understands that being a student-athlete is about more than wins and losses; it’s about having fun, working hard, managing commitments, making sacrifices, and ultimately being accountable to your brothers who go to battle with you week in and week out. I have no doubt that while J.D. will add his own signature to the program, he will faithfully and successfully continue our ongoing missions of developing exceptional young men and the best virtual varsity program in the nation. I am honored to have been on the sidelines with Coach E for the past two season, proud to call him a friend, and excited to watch him lead the Colonials to the best season in program history.”
Joining Englehart on the sidelines for the 2014-2015 campaign are returning coaches Kurt Stahl, Zach Quinn, and Patrick Rigney. Stahl, a standout defensemen and 2013 graduate from GW rival Virginia Tech, will continue to work with the defensive unit. Quinn, a 2013 graduate of GW and starting goalkeeper for two seasons, will continue his work with the Colonial netminders. GW Law class of 2013 graduate Rigney, who worked in the athletic information office while an undergrad at Notre Dame, will add support to the midfielders and manage all statistics, media and information.
“GW is an elite university and vibrant campus,” added Englehart, who lives minutes from both the main Foggy Bottom campus and the Mount Vernon campus in suburban DC, where the team holds its practices and games. “I am committed to bringing in exceptional student-athletes to help us build a first-rate Colonials lacrosse program and compete for MCLA National Championships.”