Navy Midshipmen men's lacrosse

The Navy Midshipmen men's lacrosse team represents the United States Naval Academy in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I men's lacrosse. Navy currently competes as a member of the Patriot League and play their home games at Navy–Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland. During the 20th century, the Midshipmen secured 17 national championships, including 2 United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association titles and 15 Wingate Memorial Trophy awards. During the 1960s, a period of dominance for the Midshipmen, they won eight consecutive titles.

Navy Midshipmen Men's Lacrosse
UniversityUnited States Naval Academy
Head coachJoe Amplo (since 2020 season)
StadiumNavy–Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
(capacity: 34,000)
LocationAnnapolis, Maryland
ConferencePatriot League
ColorsNavy Blue and Gold[1]
Pre-NCAA era championships
(17) - 1928, 1929, 1938, 1943, 1945, 1946, 1949, 1954, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1970
NCAA Tournament Runner-Up
(2) - 1975, 2004
NCAA Tournament Final Fours
(8) - 1971, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981, 2004
NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals
(20) - 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2016
NCAA Tournament appearances
(27) - 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2016
Conference Tournament championships
(5) - 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Conference regular season championships
(8) - 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2015, 2016, 2018


Lacrosse began at the Naval Academy in 1908 when two former Johns Hopkins players, Frank Breyer and Bill Hudgins, volunteered to help form a team. On April 4, they played their first game, against their co-founders' alma mater, which they lost, 1–6. In 1911, George Finlayson took over as head coach and a year later led Navy to its first undefeated season. The start of the First World War caused a cancellation of the 1917 season after just two games, but also marked the start of seven season undefeated streak. From mid-season in 1916 to the final game of 1923, Navy won 45 consecutive games.[2]

The founder of the lacrosse program at cross-city rival St. John's, William "Dinty" Moore became the Navy head coach in 1936. He remained at the helm for 23 years, during which time he helped Navy compile six national championships.

In April 1941 Navy superintendent Rear Admiral Russell Wilson refused to allow the team to play a visiting team from Harvard University because the Harvard team included a black player. Harvard's athletic director ordered the player home and the game was played on April 4, as scheduled, which Navy won 12-0.[3]

In 1945, the Midshipmen hosted their arch-rival Army for the traditional final game of the season. The teams fought to a stalemate, and after two overtime periods, finished the season as national co-champions.[2]

In 1959, Willis Bilderback, a Rutgers alumnus, took over the program and led Navy to their "Decade of Dominance". During the 1960s, in large part due to a stifling defense and talented Hall of Fame attackman Jimmy Lewis, the Midshipmen compiled a 96–14-1 record (.865) [4] and won eight consecutive national championships, including six outright. Health problems forced Bilderback to retire after the 1972 season.[2]

He was replaced by Dick Szlasa, who coached Navy to ten consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. Bryan Matthews took over in 1983, and Richie Meade replaced him in turn in 1995. Navy became a member of a conference for the first time in 2000 when it joined the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Lacrosse League. In 2004, they left the ECAC to join the Patriot League. The Midshipmen have finished first outright or tied for first every year of their membership, from 2004 to 2009. Navy has also won the Patriot League tournament five of those six years.[2][5]


Starting in 1926, the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) began rating college lacrosse teams and awarding gold medals to the top teams. Navy was the recipient of one of these in 1928, alongside Johns Hopkins, Maryland, and Rutgers — each of which had only one regular-season collegiate defeat.[6] From 1936 through 1970, the USILA awarded the Wingate Memorial Trophy to the annual champion, based on regular-season records. In 1971, the NCAA began hosting an annual men's tournament to determine the national champion. The Wingate Memorial Trophy was presented to the first two NCAA Division I champions (1971 and 1972) and was then retired.

Year National championships Coach Record
1928USILA Gold Medal (with Johns Hopkins, Maryland, and Rutgers)George Finlayson
1929USILA ChampionshipGeorge Finlayson
1938USILA ChampionshipWilliam "Dinty" Moore
1943USILA ChampionshipWilliam "Dinty" Moore
1945USILA Co-Championship (with Army)William "Dinty" Moore
1946USILA ChampionshipWilliam "Dinty" Moore
1949USILA Co-Championship (with Johns Hopkins)William "Dinty" Moore
1954USILA ChampionshipWilliam "Dinty" Moore
1960USILA ChampionshipWillis Bilderback
1961USILA Co-Championship (with Army)Willis Bilderback
1962USILA ChampionshipWillis Bilderback
1963USILA ChampionshipWillis Bilderback
1964USILA ChampionshipWillis Bilderback
1965USILA ChampionshipWillis Bilderback
1966USILA ChampionshipWillis Bilderback
1967USILA Co-Championship (with Maryland and Johns Hopkins)Willis Bilderback
1970USILA Co-Championship (with Johns Hopkins and Virginia)Willis Bilderback

Season Results

The following is a list of Navy's results by season as a NCAA Division I program:

Season Coach Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Willis Bilderback (Independent) (1959–1972)
1971 Willis Bilderback 10-4NCAA Division I Final Four
1972 Willis Bilderback 8-4NCAA Division I Quarterfinals
Willis Bilderback: 18-8
Dick Szlasa (Independent) (1973–1982)
1973 Dick Szlasa 8-5NCAA Division I Quarterfinals
1974 Dick Szlasa 7-5NCAA Division I Quarterfinals
1975 Dick Szlasa 10-5NCAA Division I Runner-Up
1976 Dick Szlasa 10-3NCAA Division I Final Four
1977 Dick Szlasa 10-5NCAA Division I Final Four
1978 Dick Szlasa 11-3NCAA Division I Final Four
1979 Dick Szlasa 9-4NCAA Division I Final Four
1980 Dick Szlasa 7-4NCAA Division I Quarterfinals
1981 Dick Szlasa 7-5NCAA Division I Final Four
1982 Dick Szlasa 6-5NCAA Division I Quarterfinals
Dick Szlasa: 85-44
Bryan Matthews (Independent) (1983–1994)
1983 Bryan Matthews 5-6
1984 Bryan Matthews 6-6
1985 Bryan Matthews 5-6
1986 Bryan Matthews 8-4NCAA Division I Quarterfinals
1987 Bryan Matthews 9-4NCAA Division I Quarterfinals
1988 Bryan Matthews 8-5NCAA Division I Quarterfinals
1989 Bryan Matthews 8-5NCAA Division I Quarterfinals
1990 Bryan Matthews 7-4
1991 Bryan Matthews 5-6
1992 Bryan Matthews 8-5NCAA Division I First Round
1993 Bryan Matthews 8-4NCAA Division I First Round
1994 Bryan Matthews 7-6NCAA Division I First Round
Bryan Matthews: 84-61
Richie Meade (Independent) (1995–1999)
1995 Richie Meade 6-6
1996 Richie Meade 4-8
1997 Richie Meade 6-6
1998 Richie Meade 7-6
1999 Richie Meade 7-7NCAA Division I First Round
Richie Meade (ECAC Lacrosse League) (2000–2003)
2000 Richie Meade 9-45-12nd
2001 Richie Meade 8-54-23rd
2002 Richie Meade 8-53-23rd
2003 Richie Meade 6-71-4T-5th
Richie Meade (Patriot League) (2004–2011)
2004 Richie Meade 15-37-01stNCAA Division I Runner-Up
2005 Richie Meade 12-45-1T-1stNCAA Division I Quarterfinals
2006 Richie Meade 11-45-1T-1stNCAA Division I First Round
2007 Richie Meade 11-46-01stNCAA Division I First Round
2008 Richie Meade 10-65-1T-1stNCAA Division I Quarterfinals
2009 Richie Meade 11-54-23rdNCAA Division I First Round
2010 Richie Meade 7-84-22nd
2011 Richie Meade 4-92-45th
Richie Meade: 142-9751-20
Rick Sowell (Patriot League) (2012–2019)
2012 Rick Sowell 6-63-3T-4th
2013 Rick Sowell 3-101-56th
2014 Rick Sowell 4-103-56th
2015 Rick Sowell 9-56-2T-1st
2016 Rick Sowell 11-57-1T-1stNCAA Division I Quarterfinals
2017 Rick Sowell 6-84-4T-4th
2018 Rick Sowell 9-57-1T-1st
2019 Rick Sowell 6-74-4T-5th
Rick Sowell: 54-5635-25
Joe Amplo (Patriot League) (2020–Present)
2020 Joe Amplo 0-00-0
Joe Amplo: 0-00-0

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

Head coaches

  • Frank Breyer & Bill Hudgins (1908–1910)
  • George Finlayson (1911–1935)
  • William "Dinty" Moore (1936–1958)
  • Willis Bilderback (1959–1972)
  • Dick Szlasa (1973–1982)
  • Bryan Matthews (1983–1994)
  • Richie Meade (1995–2011)
  • Rick Sowell (2012–2019)
  • Joe Amplo (2020-

MacLaughlin Award

The Lt. Donald MacLaughlin Jr. Award has been given annually since 1973 by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) to the nation's most outstanding midfielders in NCAA Division I, Division II, and Division III. The award is named for Lt. (j.g.) Donald MacLaughlin Jr. (Class of 1963), an All-American Navy midfielder who died on a combat mission in South Vietnam in 1966.[7]

Notable players

Athletic Hall of Fame

For lacrosse players in the USNA Athletic Hall of Fame, see footnote.[8]


  1. "American Athletic Conference Brand Standards Guide" (PDF). July 11, 2014. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
  2. Navy claims fifth Patriot League men's lacrosse tournament title, Patriot League, May 26, 2009.
  3. Doan, Lurita (2 August 2009). "On race, Harvard still must learn" (Newspaper editorial). Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 August 2009.; Fisher, Donald M. (2002). Lacrosse: A History of the Game. The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-6938-2.; Gup, Ted (12 December 2004). "Southern Discomfort" (Newspaper article). Boston Globe. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
  4. NCAA Archived Team-By-Team Final Statistics, Navy's Year-By-Year W/L Record, 2009.
  5. Year-by-Year Record (PDF), 2009 Navy Men's Lacrosse Media Guide, 2009.
  6. David G. Pietramala, et al., Lacrosse: Technique and Tradition, p. 15, 2006, Baltimore: JHU Press, ISBN 0-8018-8410-1.
  7. Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine
  8. Hall of Fame Index (by sport). Naval Academy Varsity Athletics official website. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
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