The question of how soon the arrival of Dan Chemotti to head the Richmond men's lacrosse program would pay dividends was answered rather quickly. Chemotti did what no other coach in the history of Division I lacrosse was able to accomplish; he took a first-year program to the NCAA Tournament in 2014. He followed that by taking the Spiders to an undefeated league season in the newly-formed Southern Conference in 2015, and has led the Spiders to their respective conference championship games every year of the program’s existance.
After helping lead the Loyola University Maryland men's lacrosse team as offensive coordinator to the 2012 Division I National Championship in 2012, Chemotti was named head coach of the Richmond men's lacrosse team in October of 2012. He spent that school year recruiting and putting in place the tenets of the program which began play in the 2014 season, and it led to the young squad earning an Atlantic Sun Conference championship and berth into the newly-expanded NCAA Tournament.
The Spiders saw success again in 2016, their second season in the Southern Conference, posting an 11-5 overall record and a 6-1 mark in conference play. After jumping out to a 4-1 start, the Spiders logged the biggest win in program history, taking down No. 9 Duke on the road, 12-10. The win and another victory over Jacksonville would give the 6-1 Spiders the best start in program history, propelling the team to a No. 18 ranking, the highest in program history. Shortly after, Mitch Goldberg was named to the prestigious Tewaaraton Award Watch List. The team finished third nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 7.44 goals per game, and first in caused turnovers and clearing percentag for the second year in a row. Junior Brendan Hynes ranked second in the nation in caused turnovers, while junior Ryan Dennis ranked ninth nationally in the same category. Seven Spiders earned postseason honors, led by Hynes and senior Alex Hatem, who were named to the SoCon First Team.
In 2015, the Spiders finished 6-0 in the new league and boasted the nation's second-most stingy defense. The Spiders allowed just 7.44 goals per game, within less than half a goal per game from the nation's leader. Richmond also lead the country in clearing percentage and finished fourth in the country in scoring margin, winning on average by more than four goals per game. The Spiders boasted the league's Defensive Player of the Year in Brendan Hynes, while goalie Benny Pugh was second nationally in both save percentage (.590) and goal-against average (7.42) for the year. On the offensive side, the second-year program scored 20-or-more goals three times, finished 15th nationally in scoring offense (11.75) and 11th in assists per game (7.25). Richmond earned its first national ranking for the season, appearing at No. 20 in a national poll. UR was among teams receiving votes for the majority of, and in the final poll of, the season. Richmond got above .500 after just two seasons, sitting at 17-16 overall in just two years as a varsity program.
The Spiders jumped into their inaugural season by hosting No. 7 Virginia on February 8, 2014. Over 4,000 fans packed into Robins Stadium to see the beginning of a magical season. The Spiders did not come away with a win that day, but battled the Cavaliers to a 13-12 loss, which set the tone for things to come.
Despite losing the first five games of the season, the Spiders kept things positive, and finally broke through for a win against Vermont in Durham, North Carolina on March 8. That was the start of a run of four wins in eight games, including a pair of Atlantic Sun Conference games that propelled the young squad into the four-team ASun Championship Tournament. The Spiders beat both the top seed and host Mercer and second-seeded High Point, avenging two regular-season losses and stringing together back-to-back wins for the first time in team history, and the one time that it mattered, as they earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA. That feat drew a trip to Colorado Springs and a road game at Air Force in the NCAA Tournament.
In just two seasons, Richmond has produced the league Rookie of the Year (2014) and Defensive Player of the Year (2015), as well as 12 members of an All-Conference Team. UR placed eight student-athletes on the league's All-Tournament team, including the 2014 Tournament MVP. Six Spiders landed on the All-Rookie Team in two seasons.
During his five seasons with the Greyhounds, Chemotti was a part of four NCAA Tournament berths and at least a share of three ECAC conference titles at Loyola. Chemotti also saw 30 players earn all-conference honors and 12 be named All-Americans during his time there.
"It's rare to find a perfect combination of academics, athletics, and location, but the University of Richmond has all of that and much more," Chemotti remarked. "To say that the campus is impressive is a massive understatement. To put it simply, Richmond and lacrosse are a perfect fit for one another."
Chemotti's powerful offense helped lead the Greyhounds to and 18-1 mark and their first-ever national championship in 2012. The Loyola offense ranked eighth in goals per game (12.05), ninth in EMO at .444% and fifth in turnovers per game at 12.84. A versatile and diverse offense, the Greyhounds saw eight players rack up 10 or more goals, three tally more than 20 and three reach the 50-goal barrier in 2012.
The offense of which Chemotti was the architect afforded Loyola players the ability to shoot quickly, whether in transition or settled offense, and garner a high volume of shots. Despite the high number of shots, Loyola's shot percentage did not drop. In fact, the Greyhounds' shot percentage rose from .249 in 2011 to .299 during the team's 18-1 run to the NCAA Championship.
Two members of Chemotti's offense, Sawyer and midfielder Davis Butts, earned All-ECAC First Team honors in 2012, and Lusby was named to the Second Team. Sawyer was a USILA Second Team All-American, and Lusby and Butts earned All-America Honorable Mention.
In 2010, a pair of Loyola attackers, Collin Finnerty and Cooper MacDonnell, were named to the All-ECAC First Team, and MacDonnell picked up ECAC Offensive Player of the Year honors and was named All-America Honorable Mention. In addition to those honors, Finnerty, MacDonnell and Matt Langan split ECAC Offensive Player of the Week honors five times, and freshman attacker Patrick Fanshaw earned ECAC Rookie of the Week laurels once.
During the 2009 season, Chemotti's attack produced three players with 30 or more total points - Shane Koppens (41), Cooper MacDonnell (38) and Collin Finnerty (37) - a mark not accomplished by a Loyola trio since 2003.
The Greyhounds led the ECAC in goals per game (10.43), a category they finished 17th in all of NCAA Division I during 2009. Koppens led the conference in points per game (3.42) and finished his Loyola career 12th in the nation in the category.
In 2008, the Greyhounds captured the ECAC title behind an explosive offense that ranked second in goals per game and points per game (13.43), and first in shooting percentage, in the league.
Under Chemotti's direction in 2008, Koppens was named ECAC Offensive Player of the Year after finishing as the league's top scorer. In Chemotti's three years calling the offense, nine offensive players have been awarded with post season All-ECAC honors (four first-team and five second-team).
In 2007 the Loyola offense ranked 17th nationally in team offense and finished the season with a .640 assist percentage.
A 2002 graduate of Duke University, Chemotti led the Blue Devils to back-to-back ACC Championships during his junior and senior seasons. During his career in Durham, N.C., the Blue Devils reached the NCAA Tournament all four years, advancing to the NCAA Quarterfinals three times. He was selected a team captain his senior year, and was awarded the school's Roy Skinner Award for Dedication and Sacrifice.
Following graduation, Chemotti worked as an assistant coach at Dartmouth College from 2002-2004, working primarily with the offense and the face-off men. In 2004, the Big Green's offense ranked third nationally in assist percentage and 15th nationally in team offense, and in 2003, Dartmouth's face-off percentage was good enough to finish ninth in the country. Chemotti then worked as an assistant at St. John's for two seasons, 2004-2006, before moving to Loyola for the 2006-2007 academic year.
In addition to coaching, Chemotti played lacrosse professionally as a midfielder for the New Jersey Pride and Washington Bayhawks of Major League Lacrosse. He was a member of the Pride from 2003-2008 and the Bayhawks in 2009. Serving as a two-way midfielder for the Pride and Bayhawks, Chemotti has amassed 54 points and 143 ground balls in 69 career games. Chemotti also played one season (2003) in the National Lacrosse League (NLL) for the New Jersey Storm.
Chemotti, a native of Syracuse, N.Y., played high school lacrosse for West Genesee in Syracuse, where he was named an All-American and the Central New York Player of the Year in his senior campaign. He led the Wildcats to a Class A New York State Championship his senior season and to a runner-up finish his junior season.
What They Said on the Hire of Dan Chemotti to Richmond (Oct., 2012)...
"We want to thank Dan for all of his contributions to our program and wish him the best as he moves on to Richmond. I believe that one measure of a coach is leaving a program in better shape than you found it, and Dan certainly has done that. He is an extremely hard worker, is creative and passionate about lacrosse. I believe he will be a tremendous head coach because he is a great leader and a better person."
-- Loyola (Md.) Head Coach Charley Toomey
"Richmond made a huge statement to the Division I lacrosse world in hiring Coach Chemotti. This past summer Dan was one of the more sought after candidates in the D-I coaching ranks. Over the course of Dan's career, he has proven to be one of the more innovative offensive minds and one of the most dynamic recruiters in the country. For Richmond to land the first assistant at the defending national champion, it tells the lacrosse world how serious Richmond is about competing at the highest level of Division I lacrosse."
-- Michael Pressler, Bryant Head Coach and former Duke Head Coach
|Dan Chemotti Year-By-Year Coaching Records|
|2015||11||5||6||0||1st, Reg.-Season Champ|
|2014||6||11||2||3||4th, Tourn. Champ, NCAA|
|TOTALS||28||21||14||4||1 NCAA Appearance|