In sports the term dynasty often gets thrown around quite a bit. Lacrosse is no different, as people are quick to crown programs as dynasties after a few successful seasons. While lacrosse has had its share of great runs, none may ever compare to the Hobart run of the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s. During this time, we saw multiple coaching changes and an influx of new players, but the results stayed the same. This was all done while playing a crossover schedule that included Division I programs and a fierce rivalry with Syracuse.
The program was established in 1898 at the small liberal arts college located in Geneva, New York. Lacrosse was a popular sport in the region at the time, and the college recognized its potential as an intercollegiate sport. The team quickly gained recognition and began competing against other colleges in the region. Natural rivalries soon developed as teams didn’t travel as far for games back then so local matchups became bitter rivalry games.
While they were a good program, they weren’t elite until legendary coach Jerry Schmidt took over. Hobart achieved its first major milestone in 1972 when it won its first National Championship under the USILA umbrella. This victory was followed by an impressive streak of success, as the team won back-to-back Division II national titles in 1976 and 1977. These championships solidified Hobart’s status as a dominant force in collegiate lacrosse. With the dissolution of Division II, Hobart transitioned to Division III and became a lacrosse juggernaut.
When Dave Urick took over as the head coach of the Hobart men’s lacrosse program in 1980, the team transitioned to Division III. Urick faced the challenge of maintaining the program’s success while competing against a hybrid schedule of DIII and DI opponents. The new coach quickly established Hobart as the elite program in DIII. Urick’s coaching philosophy emphasized disciplined and fundamental play, with a strong emphasis on teamwork and meticulous attention to detail. He continued the winning culture within the team, which led to unprecedented success.
Hobart – Greatest Dynasty Ever?
The Hobart machine started off its Division III tenure in incredible fashion. Starting with 1980, the Statesmen ripped off twelve consecutive National Championships until Nazareth broke through in 1992. Urick was Head Coach for ten of those titles, before he left for Georgetown in 1990. B.J. O’Hara then took over and subsequently won three out of the next four titles. In a fourteen-year stretch Hobart won 176 games while losing only 47. Of those 47 losses, many were against Division I opponents.
All in, Hobart won 15 NCAA titles stretching from 1976 through 1994. In only one of those years did they not reach the Final Four or National Title game. That was Tom Korn’s one and only season as Head Coach. In that same span, they produced 13 National Players of the Year and 31 Positional Players of the Year. Terry Corcoran, Marc Van Arsdale, Guy Van Arsdale, Rick Blick, Tom Gravante, Marc Darcangelo, and Bill Miller are just a few of the memorable players who have worn the Hobart jersey. This doesn’t include the hundreds of All-Americans that have ran up and down Boswell Field. One of the more interesting aspects of this run was from 1984-1987 when the famous “soul patrol” dominated the midfield for the Statesmen.
Many of these players have gone on to coach at the high school and collegiate level, which have created the Hobart lacrosse footprint that stretches far beyond the little sleepy town of Geneva, NY. These coaches include Tom Gravante, The Van Arsdale’s, Terry Corcoran, and Jeff Tambroni.