Stimmel brings two-way mentality to men’s lacrosse

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Photo by Maggie Bean

Andrew Stimmel coaches on the sidelines with former head coach Joe Amplo. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Jack Phillips

After the departure of the program’s first and only head coach Joe Amplo, the future of Marquette lacrosse was in question entering the 2020 season.

But in stepped Andrew Stimmel, a former Ohio State captain and midfielder, who has taken the reins of the MU program.

“Andrew is one of the rising stars in the lacrosse world and we are thrilled to know that he will be leading the men’s lacrosse program,” Marquette athletic director Bill Scholl said in a statement upon Stimmel’s hiring on Jun. 14. “He has been a winner at every stop along the way and we expect that to continue in Milwaukee.”

Stimmel quickly rose through the coaching ranks, first serving as an undergraduate assistant at Ohio State after the end of his eligibility before moving on to being the head coach at Grove City College in Pennsylvania.

Following his successful stint at the Division III level, he took on a volunteer job at Yale University before coming to Marquette as the defensive coordinator in 2016, helping lead the Golden Eagles to a BIG EAST championship and to the No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

After his year in Milwaukee, he returned to Yale as the offensive coordinator and led the Bulldogs to an NCAA Championship in 2018 and an NCAA runner-up trophy in 2019.

“(My time at Yale) was surreal,” Stimmel said. “It’s a dream come true to win a national championship. I’ll never take that lightly.”

Now, he has become the second head coach in Marquette lacrosse history and aims to turn around a program after back-to-back losing seasons.

Stimmel said leaving Yale was both the easiest and hardest decision he’s ever made.

“It was never going to be easy to leave Yale,” Stimmel said. “But I just knew that Marquette and everything they had to offer was a really easy place for me to say yes to.”

For Stimmel, Marquette’s dedication to lacrosse was one of the biggest reasons why he made the transition from New Haven to Milwaukee.

“Marquette is a national brand. The support they have here for lacrosse is very evident,” Stimmel said. “The program has gotten to a place where it’s good, it’s respected. You roll all those things up, and it makes a really easy decision.”

Stimmel is highly valued by players and coaches around the country, including Yale head coach Andy Shay and Ohio State head coach Nick Myers.

“I couldn’t be more excited for Andrew,” Shay said in the Marquette press release in June. “He has aggressively honed his craft at Yale and Marquette, coaching both sides of the ball with incredible success, and now he’s ready to be a head coach.”

“Andrew is not only an amazing coach but will be a one-of-a-kind mentor for young men,” Myers said in the release. “I have no doubt he will make an immediate impact on both the Marquette program and Wisconsin lacrosse community.”

Stimmel’s former player Ben Reeves, who was recognized as the best player in college lacrosse with the 2018 Tewaaraton Award, echoed the two coaches’ sentiment.

“Marquette is getting one of the best coaches in the game,” Reeves said in the same press release. “It’s been both an honor and a privilege playing for Stimmel during my time at Yale. … He’s one of the most deserving in the game — not only a great coach but an awesome guy.”

Stimmel said he draws pieces of his philosophy from each of the different coaches he has worked with, including former MU head coach Joe Amplo as well as Myers and Shay.

“Those guys have been incredible influences for me,” Stimmel said. “I don’t think I’m like any particular one of them, but to be able to pull a lot of those things from those guys, they’ve taught me a lot. I’m sure I’ll still learn from them, still calling them a lot as I’m trying to figure this out as a new head coach.”

Stimmel has taken many things from Shay, his most recent boss, but one of the biggest is his willingness to do anything for the team.

“(Shay) is one of the most unselfish people I’ve ever met,” Stimmel said. “He’s very much a servant leader. He moves cages, he picks up balls, he picks up trash at the facility. There’s nothing that’s beneath that guy, and that’s something I’ve tried to emulate.”

By coaching with Amplo for a year, Stimmel has picked up a new dedication to the game.

“His passion for the game, his passion for people is something that’s always stuck with me,” Stimmel said. “It’s undeniable how much he cares … and having that mentality is huge.”

One of the main things Stimmel said he took from Myers is the attention to detail.

“How they scheme and how they practice (at Ohio State) is incredibly precise,” Stimmel said. “Practice is always on time. If this drill is eight minutes, it’s eight minutes. … My drive is always to emulate that.”

Stimmel has experience on all sides of the ball, having played as a defensive midfielder before being in charge of the offense, defense and faceoffs at separate times of his career.

“Having both of those mentalities helps me be able to morph into either side of the ball,” Stimmel said. “That’s prepared me to be a head coach because you have to watch the entire game as a head coach and adjust on both sides of the ball.”

Looking forward to his first season, Stimmel said he knows his players have their backs against the wall, but he still has high hopes for his squad.

“I’m really optimistic,” Stimmel said. “(Our players) know what people are saying. We don’t talk about it much, but they know that we’re going to be an underdog in a lot of these games, that teams are going to look at us as, ‘They lost all these guys, they won’t be any good.’ I’m excited about that challenge.”

This story was written by Dan Avington. He can be reached at daniel.avington@marquette.edu or on Twitter @danavington.