North Carolina Tar Heels men's lacrosse

The North Carolina Tar Heels men's lacrosse team represents the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I men's lacrosse. North Carolina currently competes as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and plays its home games at Fetzer Field and Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

North Carolina Tar Heels men's lacrosse
Founded1949 (varsity), 1937 (club)
UniversityUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Head coachJoe Breschi '90 (since 2009 season)
StadiumFetzer Field and Kenan Memorial Stadium
(capacity: 6,000 and 63,000)
LocationChapel Hill, North Carolina
ConferenceAtlantic Coast Conference
NicknameTar Heels
ColorsCarolina Blue and White[1]
NCAA Tournament championships
(5) - 1981, 1982, 1986, 1991, 2016
NCAA Tournament Runner-Up
(1) - 1993
NCAA Tournament Final Fours
(13) - 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 2016
NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals
(24) - 1976, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2016
NCAA Tournament appearances
(32) - 1976, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Conference Tournament championships
(9) - 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 2013, 2017
Conference regular season championships
(12) - 1981, 1982, 1985, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2003, 2010, 2013, 2016


A club team was established at the school in 1937, and elevated to varsity status in 1949. Carolina rose to national prominence in the late 1970s under Hall of Fame coach and former Johns Hopkins Blue Jay Willie Scroggs.[2] The program's first 1st-team All-American in Division I was defenseman Ralph "Rip" Davy in 1979.[3] Between 1980 and 1996, the UNC lacrosse team qualified for the NCAA tournament 14 of the 16 years. During that span, Carolina also won 11 ACC titles. In 1981, the Tar Heels began a 26-game winning streak, and won the national championship in 1981, 1982 and 1986.

The UNC lacrosse program won its fifth national title in 2016, beating Maryland 14-13 in an overtime thriller. At 12-6 on the season, UNC entered the NCAA tournament unseeded at 8-6. They became the first unseeded national champion in the last 45 years. This is the first title since 1991, when they won their fourth national title, going undefeated on the season at 16-0.[4] Since then, UNC won four of five ACC championship games between 1992 and 1996.



The first lacrosse team was formed in 1937 at the club level. At the time, they used old equipment from the football team and competed in the Dixie Lacrosse League against Duke, Virginia, Washington & Lee, Loyola, and the Washington Lacrosse Club. In 1949, the university conferred varsity status on the team, and in 1950, North Carolina became a member of the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA). The following season, goalie Nick Sowell became the Tar Heels' first All-American when he was named to the USILA Honorable Mention team.[5]

In 1954, after compiling a combined 14-43-1 record in its first six seasons, the varsity team was disbanded by the administration in order to focus on other sports.


Lacrosse returned as a varsity sport in 1964. In 1974, Paul Doty took over as head coach. That year, the school started awarding scholarships for the sport and was promoted from the small college level (now Division II and Division III) to Division I.[6]


In 1991, first-year head coach Dave Klarmann replaced Willie Scroggs, and led the Tar Heels through an undefeated regular season. Carolina extended its winning streak throughout the postseason, first winning the ACC tournament, and then defeating Loyola, Syracuse, and Towson in succession to post a perfect 16–0 mark and capture the NCAA national championship. Klarmann's teams repeated as ACC tournament champions in 1992 before advancing to the NCAA Championship semifinal, where they fell to third-seeded Syracuse, 13–12. In 1993 and 1994, Carolina again captured the ACC title, but suffered early exits in the NCAA tournament. In the late 1990s, the Tar Heels struggled, alternately, to qualify for or advance in the NCAA tournament.[6]

At the end of head coach's Dave Klarmann's time at UNC (10 years, one national championship, five ACC tournament championships) there were a series of the off the field incidences between 1995 and 1999. One player died of a gunshot wound, another from asphyxiation, another was injured from a stabbing in a night club and a fourth had a serious illness.[7]


John Haus replaced Klarmann as head coach for the 2001 season. John Haus was UNC's head coach from 2001 to 2008. In his fourth year, Carolina advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals before losing to Johns Hopkins, 15–9. They returned to the NCAA tournament and quarterfinals in 2007, where they were defeated by second-seeded Duke, 19–11. In 2008, Carolina was knocked out of the first round by Navy.[6]


In 2009, alumnus Joe Breschi, a former first-team All-American defenseman in 1990 and USA national team member in 1990 and 1994, became head coach at his alma mater. Breschi and Ryan Wade are the last UNC lacrosse players that made the USA national team roster in 1994. In Breschi's first season in 2009, North Carolina surprised some observers when the team returned to the NCAA quarterfinals, before losing to Duke, 12–11.


In 2010, The Baltimore Sun commented that "it's no longer a question whether Breschi can rebuild North Carolina, but when the Tar Heels will arrive."[8] In his second season, Carolina again advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to Duke, 17–9. That season, North Carolina swept the ACC postseason awards, with Breschi named ACC Coach of the Year, junior attackman Billy Bitter named ACC Player of the Year, and Marcus Holman named ACC Freshman of the Year.[9]


UNC finished the 2012 season with an 11-6 record, the sixth season in a row UNC had a winning record. UNC lost to Duke in the ACC Tournament final game. UNC received a #8 seed in the 16-team 2012 NCAA tournament. UNC lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Denver 14-16. Denver lost in the next round to eventual champion Loyola (Md.).[10] It was the second year in a row UNC lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament.


UNC attained a #1 ranking[11] in the 2013 season and won the ACC tournament. Attackman Marcus Holman was the second player in UNC lacrosse history to be named a finalist for the annual Tewaaraton award given to the best college lacrosse player. Attackman Jed Prossner was UNC's first finalist in 2004.[12]

Season Results

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

Season Coach Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Fred Mueller (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1969–1972)
1971 Fred Mueller 6-51-23rd
1972 Fred Mueller 7-51-23rd
Fred Mueller: 13-102-4
Ron Miller (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1973–1974)
1973 Ron Miller 12-52-23rd
Ron Miller: 12-52-2
Paul Doty (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1974–1978)
1974 Paul Doty 6-52-23rd
1975 Paul Doty 8-62-2T-2nd
1976 Paul Doty 9-33-12ndNCAA Division I Quarterfinals
1977 Paul Doty 8-42-23rdNCAA Division I Quarterfinals
1978 Paul Doty 6-61-34th
Paul Doty: 37-2410-10
Willie Scroggs (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1979–1990)
1979 Willie Scroggs 5-31-34th
1980 Willie Scroggs 8-42-2T-3rdNCAA Division I Final Four
1981 Willie Scroggs 12-04-01stNCAA Division I Champion
1982 Willie Scroggs 14-04-01stNCAA Division I Champion
1983 Willie Scroggs 9-41-23rdNCAA Division I Final Four
1984 Willie Scroggs 9-42-12ndNCAA Division I Final Four
1985 Willie Scroggs 10-32-1T-1stNCAA Division I Final Four
1986 Willie Scroggs 11-31-23rdNCAA Division I Champion
1987 Willie Scroggs 9-41-23rdNCAA Division I Quarterfinals
1988 Willie Scroggs 9-33-01stNCAA Division I Quarterfinals
1989 Willie Scroggs 13-52-12ndNCAA Division I Final Four
1990 Willie Scroggs 12-42-12ndNCAA Division I Final Four
Willie Scroggs: 121-3725-15
Dave Klarmann (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1991–2000)
1991 Dave Klarmann 16-03-01stNCAA Division I Champion
1992 Dave Klarmann 12-33-01stNCAA Division I Final Four
1993 Dave Klarmann 14-22-12ndNCAA Division I Runner-Up
1994 Dave Klarmann 10-52-1T-1stNCAA Division I Quarterfinals
1995 Dave Klarmann 9-71-23rdNCAA Division I First Round
1996 Dave Klarmann 12-52-1T-1stNCAA Division I Quarterfinals
1997 Dave Klarmann 6-70-34th
1998 Dave Klarmann 7-80-34thNCAA Division I First Round
1999 Dave Klarmann 6-91-2T-3rd
2000 Dave Klarmann 8-60-34th
Dave Klarmann: 100-5214-16
John Haus (Atlantic Coast Conference) (2001–2008)
2001 John Haus 6-61-2T-3rd
2002 John Haus 8-51-2T-2nd
2003 John Haus 7-62-1T-1st
2004 John Haus 10-52-12ndNCAA Division I Quarterfinals
2005 John Haus 5-80-34th
2006 John Haus 4-100-33rd
2007 John Haus 10-60-34thNCAA Division I Quarterfinals
2008 John Haus 8-60-34thNCAA Division I First Round
John Haus: 58-526-18
Joe Breschi (Atlantic Coast Conference) (2009–Present)
2009 Joe Breschi 12-60-34thNCAA Division I Quarterfinals
2010 Joe Breschi 13-32-1T-1stNCAA Division I Quarterfinals
2011 Joe Breschi 10-61-2T-2ndNCAA Division I First Round
2012 Joe Breschi 11-61-2T-3rdNCAA Division I First Round
2013 Joe Breschi 13-42-1T-1stNCAA Division I Quarterfinals
2014 Joe Breschi 10-52-3T-3rdNCAA Division I First Round
2015 Joe Breschi 13-43-12ndNCAA Division I Quarterfinals
2016 Joe Breschi 12-63-1T-1stNCAA Division I Champion
2017 Joe Breschi 8-81-34thNCAA Division I First Round
2018 Joe Breschi 7-71-3T-3rd
2019 Joe Breschi 8-71-35th
Joe Breschi: 117-6417-23

      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


First Team All-Americans

Year Player(s)[13][14]
1979Ralph "Rip" Davy
1980Kevin Griswold
1981Michael Burnett, Douglas Hall, Thomas Sears
1982Michael Burnett, John Haus, Jeffrey Homire, Peter Voelkel, Thomas Sears*
1984Thomas Haus, Joseph Seivold
1985Mac Ford, Joseph Seivold
1986Thomas Haus*
1987Thomas Haus
1988Boyd Harden
1990Joe Breschi
1991Dennis Goldstein*, Graham Harden, Andy Piazza
1992Jim Buczek, Alex Martin
1993Alex Martin, Greg Paradine, Ryan Wade
1994Ryan Wade
1996Jude Collins, Jason Wade
2004Jed Prossner, Ronnie Staines
2005Jed Prossner
2009Billy Bitter
2010Billy Bitter, Ryan Flanagan
2012RG Keenan,
2013Marcus Holman,
2015Chad Tutton, Ryan Kilpatrick

*Player of the Year

Former players in Major League Lacrosse (MLL)

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) currently has eight teams. The 2013 season starts at the end of April and ends in August. There are four former UNC players who played for MLL teams in the 2012 season. Billy Bitter (attack, UNC '11) and Ryan Flanagan (defenseman, UNC '11) played for the Charlotte Hounds in the 2012 season. Flanagan is currently on the Charlotte Hounds roster for the 2013 season.[15] Ben Hunt (midfielder, UNC '09) and Tim Kaiser (defenseman, UNC '08) play for the Chesapeake Bayhawks.[16]

Only seniors with expiring eligibility are eligible to be drafted by MLL teams in the annual January drafts.[17] After the NCAA season is complete on Memorial Day, the MLL will allow all undrafted seniors who completed their eligibility to register for a player pool, giving MLL teams an opportunity to select the undrafted players for one week. The Ohio Machine selected current senior Marcus Holman in the second round of the last MLL draft.[18]


  1. "Carolina Athletics Brand Identity Guidelines" (PDF). April 20, 2015. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  2. National Lacrosse Hall of Fame,, 2009.
  3. "Men's All-Americans Since 1922".
  4. "DI Men's Lacrosse".
  5. Laxpower Men's All-Americans Since 1922,, 2009.
  6. 2009 North Carolina Men's Lacrosse Media Guide (PDF), University of North Carolina, p. 34-38, 2009.
  7. "Kevin Lawn Unc Lacrosse - Face-off with adversity - tribunedigital-baltimoresun". tribunedigital-baltimoresun.
  8. Mike Preston, Under Breschi, North Carolina no longer a surprise, The Baltimore Sun, Mar 26, 2010.
  9. SPORTS Briefs, Chapel Hill News, May 12, 2010.
  10. "2015 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament DI".
  11. "LaxPower Forum Poll".
  13. "College All-Americans".
  14. "United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association / All Americans".
  15. "Roster".
  16. "Roster".
  17. "MLL Draft FAQ".
  18. "2013 Collegiate Draft Results".
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