Updated: 7:16 p.m.
After leading the Cornell men’s lacrosse team to the Final Four three of the past four years, Jeff Tambroni is moving to take the head coaching position at Penn State, graduated co-captain Ryan Hurley ’10 confirmed on Thursday. His replacement will be current associate head coach Ben DeLuca '98, the University announced on Friday.
“It was awesome playing for him for four years. He is a great guy and Cornell will miss him,” Hurley said.
Tambroni accepts the position at Penn State the same week that coach John Tillman, previously at Harvard, accepted the head coach position at Maryland. Tambroni was a candidate for the job, but declined an interview.
Tambroni will replace Glenn Thiel, who was at the helm of the Penn State lacrosse program for 33 years before retiring at age 66.
“I’m very shocked and surprised, but I support his family and his decision to go to Penn State,” said leading Cornell attackman Rob Pannell.
Tambroni told Pannell and several other players in-person on Thursday. Pannell said everybody was surprised and obviously unhappy, but still supportive.
“He might be the best coach of college lacrosse and will be successful wherever he goes,” Pannell said. “He certainly changed the program for Cornell and turned it around starting with his first year here.”
Tambroni was the Richard M. Moran Head Coach of Cornell Lacrosse for 10 seasons and finished with a record of 109-39. During his tenure, the Red won at least a share of eight consecutive Ivy League championships. Before he was head coach, he served as an assistant from 1997-2000.
At Cornell, Tambroni ranked fifth in win percentage among active Division I coaches, and in 2010 led the youngest squad in the NCAA tournament to the semifinals.
He was given the F. Morris Touchstone Award as the USILA Coach of the Year I 2009, as well as the NCAA Division I Coach of the Year honor (which he also received in 2007) after coaching his team to a national championship appearance against Syracuse.
DeLuca was a finalist for the head coaching position at Princeton one year ago, but withdrew his name from consideration.