Ben DeLuca joined the Duke men’s lacrosse coaching staff as an assistant in February 2014. DeLuca joined the Blue Devils after three seasons as the Cornell University men’s lacrosse head coach.
In his inaugural season coaching Duke’s defensive group, the Blue Devils improved over the course of the year en route to anchoring Duke to its second straight NCAA Championship.
Led by the play of All-Americans Luke Duprey, Chris Hipps, Will Haus and Henry Lobb on defense, Duke held 10 of its 20 opponents to fewer than 10 goals. In the NCAA Championship game, Lobb held Notre Dame’s top attackman Matt Kavanagh to just two goals and one assist after he had five goals and two assists in the semifinal win.
A great team off the ground, Duke ranked fourth nationally in ground balls (35.05/gm) and was eighth in clearing percentage (.894).
At Cornell, the native of Rochester, N.Y., led the Big Red to an overall record of 37-11, a 16-2 mark in Ivy League play and ultimately two conference titles. He guided Cornell to two NCAA Tournament appearances and to championship weekend in 2013 where it fell to the Blue Devils in the semifinals.
Over the years at Cornell, DeLuca’s players have earned nine first-team All-Ivy honors, 19 total all-league selections, including two Ivy League Player of the Year awards and one Rookie of the Year selection. He has also helped his players earn a combined 12 All-America honors, including attackman Rob Pannell ’13, who was a four-time All-America selection.
Under DeLuca’s tutelage, Pannell became the first-ever Big Red player, and just the fifth in the history of the award, to be named the USILA’s Lt. Raymond J. Enners Award as the Outstanding Men’s Lacrosse Player in Division I. Pannell also won the 2013 Tewaaraton Trophy, becoming the second Cornell player to earn that distinction. In addition, Cornell’s players were equally successful in the classroom under DeLuca with five earning USILA Scholar All-America awards.
This past season was DeLuca best as the Big Red rose as high as No. 2 in the national rankings, went undefeated in Ivy League play, and advanced to the NCAA semifinals before falling to Duke. The team posted a 14-4 record overall, losing three games by a single goal.
DeLuca helped Pannell to become the NCAA Division I all-time career points leader (354) as six Big Red players were named All-Americans. Pannell then punctuated his epic career by winning the Tewaaraton Trophy, as Cornell became one of just four schools to boast multiple Tewaaraton Trophy winners (Duke, Syracuse, Virginia).
The Big Red finished the year ranked first in the country in scoring margin (5.5) and second overall in scoring offense (14.56 gpg). Cornell also ranked among the nation’s best in points per game (second – 22.28), caused turnovers per game (fourth – 9.94), assists per game (fourth – 7.72), ground balls per game (fifth – 37.11), man-down defense (7th – .750), scoring defense (15th – 9.06 gpg.), and face-off winning percentage (16th – .551),
In total, DeLuca spent 17 years at Cornell, including four years as a player for the Big Red before serving as an assistant coach for two seasons. A brief two-year hiatus took DeLuca away from Ithaca and into the business world, but he returned prior to the 2002 season and he was promoted to the top assistant position under Jeff Tambroni in the summer of 2003. He became the first Mario St. George Boiardi Assistant Coach of Men’s Lacrosse the following year and was promoted to associate head coach following the 2007 season.
A four-year letterwinner on defense for the Big Red, DeLuca donned the Carnelian Red and White for three years under legendary coach Richie Moran, before becoming a captain his senior year under former head coach Dave Pietramala. He was voted the team’s outstanding senior athlete for his leadership and dedication on and off the field. DeLuca earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional sciences and biochemistry in 1998.
A native of Rochester, N.Y., DeLuca is married to the former Laurie Totorelli, a former All-American goalie for the women’s lacrosse team at the University of Delaware. They have two daughters, Elizabeth and Anne.