About: A U.S. Lacrosse National Hall of Fame inductee, Cassese enters his 14th season as Lehigh’s head men’s lacrosse coach in 2021. In Cassese’s time, he has led the Mountain Hawks to back-to-back Patriot League Championships – in 2012 and 2013 – followed by a third straight appearance in the league title game in 2014 and return trips to the championship game in 2018 and 2019. Lehigh is the only men’s lacrosse program in the Patriot League to reach each of the last nine Patriot League Tournaments.
Cassese is one of the most decorated student-athletes in Duke history. He was a two-time captain and three-time All-ACC selection. Cassese helped lead the Blue Devils to three NCAA Tournament appearances and a pair of ACC Championships during his collegiate career. Cassese earned All-America honors on three separate occasions, including first-team accolades in 2002 and 2003. Cassese, who scored 80 goals and handed out 38 assists in his career, was a two-time Tewaaraton Trophy finalist and garnered ACC Player of the Year honors in 2001. In 2002, Cassese was the recipient of the Lt. Donald MacLaughlin, Jr. Award as the nation’s top midfielder. He was also a standout in the classroom, graduating with a 3.59 GPA while earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Duke. He was selected as a USILA Scholar All-American, ACC Academic Honor Roll member, and was named the ACC’s Weaver-James-Corrigan Honorary Award recipient for outstanding athletic and academic achievement.
He was named to the 2010 United States Men’s National Lacrosse Team, traveling to Manchester, England and was named co-captain of that gold medal winning team alongside Ryan Powell (Syracuse). That marked the third time Cassese earned a spot on the National Team. Cassese also helped the United States to the gold medal at the 2002 International Lacrosse Federation World Championships, while still an undergraduate at Duke University. He was also a member of the United States team that placed second at the 2006 ILF World Championships in London, Ontario.
After his time at Duke, Cassese continued his playing career in Major League Lacrosse for seven years. He was the second overall selection in the 2003 MLL Draft by the Rochester Rattlers. Among his professional accomplishments is earning a spot in both the 2006 and 2010 MLL All-Star Games, winning MVP of the 2016 game. Cassese was traded to the Philadelphia Barrage during the summer of 2007 (which coincided with his hiring at Lehigh) and helped lead his new team to the MLL title that year, as well as a spot in Championship Weekend in 2008. Cassese’s coaching career before Lehigh included a stint as an assistant coach at his alma mater from 2005-07, helping lead the Blue Devils to the 2007 National Championship Game. He also served as Duke’s interim head coach for part of the summer of 2006. Prior to Duke, Cassese spent one season at Stony Brook as an assistant where he directed the nation’s top extra man offense and helped the Seawolves to a 10-6 record in the spring of 2005.
Lehigh Valley Team: Assistant Coach, 2028.