Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jeff Shirk is New Head Coach of Men's Lacrosse

CHESTERTOWN, MD – Washington College Athletic Director Dr. Bryan Matthews has announced the hiring of Jeff Shirk as the school's 11th head men's lacrosse coach. Shirk comes to Chestertown from Division I Virginia Military Institute (VMI), where he served as head coach for the past four years.

"We are thrilled to welcome Jeff Shirk as our new head coach," said Dr. Matthews. "Coach Shirk's enthusiasm for this position and extensive coaching background at VMI, Naval Academy Preparatory School, Brown, and Maryland, make him the ideal person to lead our storied program into a new era."

Washington College President Mitchell Reiss, who assumed his new position July 1, said he is pleased to begin his time at Washington College in concert with Coach Jeff Shirk. “Coach Shirk shares my adherence to the concept of true student-athletes,” said Dr. Reiss. I have the utmost confidence that Coach Shirk will have a positive impact on the young men in his program — not only on the field but, more importantly, in the classroom and in life."

Shortly after his hire, Shirk thanked VMI Superintendent Gen. J.H. Binford Peay, Athletic Director Donny White, and the entire VMI lacrosse family for his experience there. "Being able to coach at VMI was both an honor and a privilege. My wife and I have grown fond of Lexington and will miss our colleagues and friends dearly."

"I could not be more excited about the opportunity that lies ahead,” he continued. “From the moment I drove into Chestertown and met all of the wonderful people at Washington College, I knew this was the place I wanted to coach and raise my family. The future is bright and I am ready to do my part in helping continue the great tradition of lacrosse excellence at Washington College."

In just his second season at VMI, Shirk guided the Keydets to their first-ever appearance in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament, their first-ever win in a conference tournament game, and their first-ever appearance in a conference championship game. In 2010, Shirk coached Tim Moran, whose All-America honorable mention made him the first player in VMI history to earn the national recognition.

In addition to his four years at VMI, Shirk boasts an impressive lacrosse coaching and playing background. He played four years as a short-stick defensive midfielder at the University of Maryland, where he served as team captain his senior year. He played for the Terrapins' 1998 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championship Team and played in the 1997 and 1998 NCAA Division I National Championship Games. Shirk played professional lacrosse in the National Lacrosse League for three seasons before focusing exclusively on coaching.

Shirk's coaching experience began during the 2000-01 academic year, when he served as an undergraduate assistant coach. Following his graduation that spring, he landed his first full-time coaching position as the head coach at Naval Academy Preparatory School (NAPS) in Rhode Island. Shirk guided NAPS to an impressive 22-11 record over three seasons and helped develop five future Navy All-Americans. While there, he also served as associate director of athletics and held the rank of Lieutenant (junior grade) in the U.S. Navy.

Shirk returned to his alma mater for the 2004-05 academic year, serving as the Terps' second assistant coach as Maryland won the ACC Championship and advanced to the NCAA Division I National Semifinals. The following year, Shirk moved on to Brown University and served as the Bears' defensive coordinator for one season before landing the head coaching position at VMI.
A native of Mountain Lakes, N.J., the 32-year-old Shirk earned his B.S. in Elementary Education from Maryland in 2001. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have two daughters, Emily and Anna.

The Washington College men's lacrosse team has made 30 NCAA and USILA Tournament appearances. The Shoremen, who are 594-329-1 all-time, won the 1998 NCAA Division III National Championship and the 1954 USILA Laurie Cox Division Co-National Championship. Washington College men's lacrosse players have earned All-America honors 226 times. The 2011 season will be the 70th season of varsity men's lacrosse at Washington College. The College first fielded a varsity men's lacrosse program from 1929 until 1934 and revived the sport for the 1948 season.

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