Duke Hires New Lacrosse Coach for Men's Team

Duke University has hired John Danowski from Hofstra to coach its embattled men's lacrosse team, the new coach said Friday.

Danowski, whose son Matt is a Duke senior and All-America attackman for the Blue Devils, told The Associated Press that he will replace Mike Pressler, who resigned soon after a woman told police she was raped by three men at a March team party where she was hired to perform as a stripper.

A grand jury has indicted three lacrosse players — Reade Seligmann, 20, of Essex Fells, N.J.; Collin Finnerty, 19, of Garden City, N.Y.; and David Evans, 23, of Bethesda, Md. — on charges of rape, kidnapping and sexual offense. Defense attorneys strongly have proclaimed the players' innocence.

The school scheduled an afternoon news conference at the school's Cameron Indoor Stadium to make a formal announcement of Danowski's hiring.

In 21 seasons at Hofstra, Danowski compiled a record of 192-123, taking the Pride to the NCAA tournament in seven of the past 11 seasons. In his 24-year career, Danowski has a record of 219-139.

Last month, Duke named assistant coach Kevin Cassese, a two-time team captain and U.S. national team player, to serve as interim coach while the school conducted a search a permanent replacement. Cassese's appointment came the same day school president Richard Brodhead reinstated the lacrosse program, which he had suspended during the rape investigation.

Brodhead canceled the highly ranked team's season April 5, following the disclosure of a vulgar e-mail sent by a lacrosse player. A university investigation later found a history of disciplinary problems involving team members, including underage drinking.

But a faculty committee recommended the team be allowed to resume play, with its members' conduct strictly monitored. Brodhead agreed to reinstate the program, but only after all remaining players agreed to a mission statement that emphasizes academics, tolerance and a code of conduct that, among other things, prohibits underage drinking.