Casey D’Annolfo, A06, Named Men’s Lacrosse Coach

Former three-sport Jumbo led Taft School to conference championship
Casey D’Annolfo
“I couldn’t be more excited to return to Tufts to continue the great lacrosse tradition that has been established,” says Casey D’Annolfo. Photo: Robert Falcetti/Taft School
August 15, 2016

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Casey D’Annolfo, who revitalized the men’s lacrosse program at the Taft School in Connecticut during nine seasons as head coach, has been tapped to lead the Tufts men’s lacrosse program. The 2006 Tufts grad succeeds Mike Daly, now head coach at Division I Brown University.

“I am very excited to welcome Casey back home to Tufts to lead our men’s lacrosse team in its annual pursuit of academic excellence and championships,” says John Morris, director of athletics. “Casey has a genuine passion for Tufts, and his values align completely with the ideals that Tufts Athletics stands for—providing a transformational student-athlete experience, achieving academic excellence, winning championships and using an athletics field as a classroom to teach life lessons and develop leaders.”

When D’Annolfo was hired at Taft in 2007, the Rhinos were at the bottom of the Founders League. Playing in one of the most competitive lacrosse conferences in the nation—which includes the independent schools Deerfield, Salisbury, Hotchkiss, Westminster and Choate—Taft won the 2016 Founders League championship.

He established Taft as a nationally ranked program. The Rhinos were listed at #802 in the USA Today national high school poll in 2007, and by 2014, the team was ranked in the top 20. This past spring, Taft was listed at #18 in the USA Today rankings after a campaign that saw the team break the school record for goals in a season (287).

“I couldn’t be more excited to return to Tufts to continue the great lacrosse tradition that has been established,” says D’Annolfo. “The bar has been set very high by the alums, and I look forward to getting to work with this group of young men to create an equally impressive legacy.”

During D’Annolfo’s tenure at Taft, eight players earned All-American honors, and three received Western New England Player of the Year awards. He helped more than 70 student-athletes move on to play collegiate lacrosse at the Division I, II and III levels. His 2016 All-American, Michael Kraus, broke the school’s single-season goals record with 57 and will play at Division I Virginia next year.

“Casey D’Annolfo has proven himself to be one of the most innovative high school coaches in the nation,” says Lars Tiffany, head lacrosse coach at the University of Virginia. “With his institutional knowledge of Tufts and his deep breadth of recruiting insight in New England and beyond, Casey is well prepared to carry on the unique and fantastic tradition of Tufts lacrosse created by Mike Daly.”

D’Annolfo’s predecessor as head coach also had high praise for his former athlete. “Having coached him in two sports at Tufts, I have great confidence in Casey’s passion to continue the legacy all of Tufts and our alums built,” says Daly, A95, G97. “With the leadership in place, it’s an exciting time for the program.”

During his undergraduate career at Tufts, D’Annolfo was a three-sport letterman in football, lacrosse and basketball. He played quarterback for the Jumbos, and was a four-year contributor in lacrosse. He is the only undergraduate in Jumbo sports history to throw a touchdown pass in football, score a goal in lacrosse and sink a field goal in basketball.

He takes the helm of a program that has won three NCAA championships (2015, 2014, 2010), played in the last three NCAA title games (2014 to 2016), and captured seven straight New England Small College Athletic Conference crowns, from 2010 to 2016.

Garrett Clarke, A16, a two-time All-American in lacrosse at Tufts, played for D’Annolfo at Taft, from which he graduated in 2012. D’Annolfo is a “great coach who truly cares about his players’ performance on the field and in the classroom,” Clarke says. “I believe the Tufts program is in very good hands.”

Paul Sweeney, Tufts sports information director, can be reached at paul.sweeney@tufts.edu.