WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – Marc Graham, who completed his 12th season as a collegiate men’s lacrosse coach this past spring, has been selected as the sixth head coach in the 23-year history of the Eastern Connecticut State University men’s lacrosse program, it has been announced by director of athletics Lori Runksmeier.
Graham, who spent the last seven years as head coach at Division III Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY after coaching at the collegiate and high school levels for 16 years in Connecticut, replaces Brian Tilley (4 years/36-31), who is pursuing opportunities outside of coaching.
Graham will officially begin his new duties on July 6.
“I’m very happy to welcome Marc to Eastern,” said Runksmeier. “He has Connecticut lacrosse roots; he understands the proud tradition of Warriors’ lacrosse, and I’m confident that he is going to take our program to great places.”
In 2016, Graham led Vassar to its first .500 season (8-8) ever, and followed that up in 2017 with the first winning season (11-5) in the program’s first 30 years, and first Liberty League playoff berth. That season, Graham and his assistant coaches were voted Liberty League Coaching Staff-of-the-Year and five players were named to the all-league team.
Prior to accepting his first collegiate head coaching position at Vassar, Graham spent 16 years coaching lacrosse in Connecticut. Graham served five years (2006-10) as recruiting coordinator under James Finlay (current head coach at East Catholic HS) at Trinity College, when the Bantams won 40 and lost 35 overall and qualified for the playoffs in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) – the most competitive conference in Division III – for an unprecedented three straight seasons. In 2009, Graham helped Trinity to a 10-6 overall record (4-5 NESCAC) and tied for the fourth-most goals in program history. With Graham, the Bantams were 5-0 against Eastern when the teams met in non-conference play.
As the 11-year head coach at South Windsor High School (1994-2004), Graham developed a comprehensive freshman, jayvee and varsity program that resulted in three trips to the Division II state finals in a five-year period and the 1999 state championship. As a member of Division I, South Windsor qualified for the state tournament in three of Graham’s final five seasons.
At Vassar, Graham was 39-65, including this past spring’s 2-12 season which included five losses to Top 20 teams – four of which compete in the Liberty League. Among the losses were those to No. 1 nationally-ranked and NCAA semifinalist RIT and to No. 9 national champion Wesleyan University.
The winningest coach in Vassar history, Graham took over in 2012 after seven different individuals had led the program through its first 24 seasons on the intercollegiate level.
Graham’s teams at Vassar featured 17 all-league players, one All-America, one USILA North-South Sr. All-Star and 80 league all-academic selections.
Graham earned his B.S. Degree in Recreation Management from Springfield College in 1994.
In 2018, Eastern finished 10-7 overall, 5-2 in the Little East, and advanced to the LEC playoff championship game.
As a member of the Little East Conference, Eastern has compiled an 18-year regular-season LEC men’s lacrosse record of 101-16 with eight titles, and has reached the conference playoff title game 16 times, winning eight championships. The Warriors have qualified for 11 post-season tournaments.