Boston University Athletic Director Mike Lynch picked the head coach of the university’s inaugural men’s lacrosse team on Wednesday, selecting former Yale assistant coach Ryan Polley for the position.
Polley has served as Yale’s defensive coordinator for the past two seasons and served as an assistant for four years before that. In 2012, he coached the Yale defense that ranked third in the nation in ground balls per game (33.6), and 10th in the country in caused turnovers (8.31)
Before coaching at Yale, Polley was the head coach at his alma mater of Merrimack College, improving the program from a 6-8 record in 2004 to back-to-back 11-5 seasons. Polley was named Division II Coach of the Year in 2005, and again 2006 after leading the Warriors to No. 8 Division II ranking in the country.
Polley was a three-time captain at Merrimack during his playing days, and was named All-American second team and an academic All-American.
“We were certainly looking at someone who had been successful, someone who has played at the national level,” Lynch said. “Ideally we wanted to find someone that had previously been a head coach given the fact that we are going to be starting a brand new program. There are so many facets of a team other than just the on the field activity. So we were hopeful at finding someone who had that in their background.
“Certainly, [we were looking for] someone who understood the nature of the academic and the athletic environment here at BU who could come in and seamlessly recruit the kind of athletes who are going to be successful here. And to be honest with you, someone who would be excited about the prospects of building something new. So we needed somebody that was 100 percent bought into doing all of those little things and kind of going from the ground up. And I think we found all of those things in Ryan.”
One of the more intriguing parts of becoming the coach at BU is the task of building the program from the beginning. However, Lynch noted that that task deterred some of the potential coaching candidates.
“We found throughout the process that there were certainly candidates out there that we wanted to talk to and did have conversations with who were not interested in starting a new program,” Lynch said. “I think that some of the coaches out there we found were more settled into having played at the highest level and probably didn’t want to put the work in that it’s going to take to make our program really strong.
Lynch also mentioned that Polley’s local background as a former coach at Andover High School and Merrimack College played a part in the hire due to his ability to recruit local talent.
“Certainly [his local ties] were attractive qualifications given that the landscape here in Boston is pretty wide open,” Lynch said. “Harvard is really the only other game in Boston … The fact that there is really only two schools playing in Boston, his ties are certainly going to be helpful at drawing those kids who want to stay closer to home.”
Polley and the men’s lacrosse team will have their inaugural season in 2013-14.