Former assistant Gary Mercadante, who launched the fledgling program at Delaware Valley University, became the new head coach of the Ursinus College men’s lacrosse team before the 2018 season. Mercadante replaced his former boss Jamie Steele, who announced that he was stepping down after nine years at the helm.
“We were extremely pleased with the strength of the candidate pool, and Gary’s ability to articulate a clear, passionate vision for the future success of the lacrosse program made him our top choice,” said Director of Athletics Laura Moliken.
The third head coach in program history, Mercadante was an assistant with the Bears from 2009 to 2013, serving as defensive coordinator and managing the substitution box. Mercadante was also the team’s academic, budget, recruiting, and video editing/software coordinator.
Ursinus logged a winning record in three of Mercadante’s four years, including a 9-5 mark in 2013, when the Bears notched their first victory over a nationally ranked team when they defeated No. 18 York College. In 2011, Ursinus reached the Centennial Conference playoffs for the first time in program history; the prior year, Mercadante’s man-down defense ranked eighth in Division III.
Mercadante then spent the next five years in Doylestown, where he spent the first year organizing the program and recruiting before leading the Aggies to 22 wins and a MAC Freedom playoff appearance over the next four years.
Mercadante led the 2015 Delaware Valley unit to five wins - the most wins by an Aggie team in any sport in their inaugural season. They won the program's first-ever game, an 8-7 triumph over Immaculata University, and produced victories in three of their first four contests.
In his second season, Mercadante’s Aggies greatly exceeded expectations and qualified for the MAC Freedom playoffs, falling to eventual champion Eastern in the semifinals. Seven of Mercadante’s players earned all-conference honors, including the league’s rookie of the year and defensive player of the year. The men’s lacrosse program also earned the highest GPA of any men’s team on campus.
Mercadante was also highly involved on campus at Delaware Valley. He served as recruiting coordinator for the athletics department, assisting and monitoring coaches of all 24 teams in setting and meeting recruiting goals. Mercadante was also part of the peer mentor working group, acting as one of eight faculty and staff members tasked with developing a comprehensive peer mentor program to support advising and mentoring goals for first-year students set to launch in the fall of 2018. He was also active on a number of academic policy committees and taught two physical education courses per year.
During his playing days, Mercadante was a four-year letterwinner and two-year captain at Dickinson College and a member of the four-time New Jersey state champions at Delbarton School.
“I would like to thank Laura Moliken and all of the members of the search committee for the opportunity to return to Ursinus to lead the men’s lacrosse program,” Mercadante said.
“Ursinus lacrosse has an extremely bright future and I cannot wait to get to work developing relationships with UC alumni, current student-athletes, and their families. I would not be in this position without the support of my wife and family, along with my former coaches and mentors. My family and I are excited and honored to become a part of the Ursinus College family.”
Mercadante, who has worked numerous camps over the years including roles as the site coordinator for Champ Camp and King of the Hill, graduated from Dickinson in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in American Studies. He lives in Collegeville with his wife, Erin, and sons John and Owen.