The first and only head coach in Monmouth University's men's lacrosse history, Brian Fisher will lead the Blue & White for a fourth season when the Hawks take the field in 2017. Last year, behind a junior-heavy lineup, Monmouth reached the MAAC semifinals for the second consecutive season.
The Hawks set a new high of seven wins in the 2016 campaign, including a perfect 6-0 record on the road. Monmouth won its first overtime game in program history, a 14-13 triumph at Siena, a victory which sent the team to the postseason on the final day of the regular season.
Individually, five Hawks earned All-MAAC accolades, highlighted by First-Team selection Andrew Grajewski. Cooper Glass secured All-MAAC second team accolades, while Eamon Campbell, Griffin Figel and Gordon Phillips were All-Rookie picks.In the classroom, Monmouth excelled as well, placing18 student-athletes on the MAAC All-Academic Team.
In the program's second season, Fisher guided the Hawks to six wins, a league postseason berth and a nationally-ranked defense, while four members of the squad earned all-conference recognition. Paced by senior goalkeeper Garrett Conaway, who was named the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-MAAC, Monmouth finished fourth in the NCAA in scoring defense (7.64 goals/game), ranked eighth in man-down defense (.717) and 18th in saves per game (11.86). In addition, Conaway, who earned a spot on the USILA/LaxWorld 2015 All-Star Team, was the nation's leader in save percentage (.614) and ranked third in goals-against-average (7.49).
The 2015 campaign included the program's first-ever victory as the Hawks defeated Rutgers University of the Big Ten 10-9 on the road on February 28, while Monmouth went 3-3 in league play. Monmouth, which played in five game decided by one goal, competed in eight contests during the year that were decided by three goals or less.
In his first season with the Hawks, then freshmen Chris Daly and Dan Bloodgood earned MAAC All-Rookie Team selections.
Joining Conaway with postseason honors, were senior defenseman Ryan Horsch, who was named to the All-MAAC Second Team and freshmen Bryce Wasserman and Dylan Schulte, who secured All-Rookie Team status.
On July 10, 2012, Fisher was officially introduced as the first head men's lacrosse coach at Monmouth. Fisher, who came to West Long Branch with 11 seasons of assistant coaching experience on his resume, including the previous six at Notre Dame, also served as an assistant coach for five years at his alma mater, Rutgers. Fisher guided the Hawks into their first season of Division I lacrosse in 2014.
In six seasons with the Fighting Irish, Notre Dame and Fisher compiled a 74-21 record (.779) and earned an NCAA Championship berth all six seasons. Notre Dame, which advanced to the NCAA Final Four in 2012 before falling to eventual national champion Loyola, advanced to the title game of the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history in 2010. The Irish also reached the quarterfinal round in 2008 and 2011. Notre Dame received one of the eight national seeds and a first-round home game during the `08, '09, `11 and '12 tournaments.
Fisher also helped guide the Irish to three Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) regular-season titles and two GWLL tournament championships before the Fighting Irish moved to the BIG EAST in 2010, winning the 2012 BIG EAST regular season crown. Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan along with Fisher and fellow assistant coach Gerry Byrne received the GWLL coaching staff of the year award in 2007 and 2009.
Notre Dame produced 29 All-America and 39 all-conference selections along with 17 Major League Lacrosse (MLL) draft picks over five seasons with Fisher on the coaching staff.
Fisher stated at the time of his hiring, "While there is much work to be done in starting a program from the ground up, I am excited about the vision that Jeff Stapleton and Marilyn have laid out for the lacrosse program and am very encouraged by the support shown from the University. Monmouth provides everything a student-athlete would ever want from their college experience; Division I athletics, an intimate and friendly campus, strong academics and of course the beach. I cannot wait to get started and introduce Monmouth University to the lacrosse community and potential recruits."
Among other duties, Fisher worked with the Fighting Irish faceoff unit, which has been one of the best in the country over the six campaigns. Notre Dame ranked ninth in the nation in faceoff winning percentage in `09 with a .556 mark. Notre Dame ranked second nationally in 2008 with a .628 winning percentage, and was 15th in the nation in that category during Fisher's first season with the Irish. The Fighting Irish were 17th nationally in faceoff percentage in `10 and `11.
Also in 2012, Notre Dame ranked first in the nation in scoring defense and man-down defense, while John Kemp led the nation in goals against average (6.27) and save percentage (.637).
Fisher was a standout midfielder and faceoff man for the Scarlet Knights for four seasons (1998-2001). As a coach at Rutgers, he worked extensively with the Scarlet Knight midfielders, was the assistant director of MVP Lacrosse Camps, was recognized as a member of the 2003 ECAC Staff of the Year and made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2003 and 2004.
Fisher, a top faceoff man in the nation throughout his Rutgers career, was awarded the Rutgers Lacrosse Knight Cup in `01, which goes to the player "who has played the game of lacrosse to the best of his ability, who has, by example, inspired or led his teammates both on and off the field and, who, above all, has consistently demonstrated the qualities of un- selfishness and loyalty to his team and Rutgers University." That same season he was named the Rutgers Lacrosse Time Scholar-Athlete.
The Morton, Pa. native also was awarded the 2000 Frederick Fitch Trophy while at Rutgers, an honor presented to the varsity letterwinner who, through personal effort to develop his lacrosse ability, has shown the greatest improvement during the season.
Fisher married the former Lauren Vader from South Orange, N.J. on December 19, 2008, in the Caribbean. Lauren was a seventh grade social studies teacher at Marshall Middle School in South Bend. The couple has two daughters.
Upon his hire, Fisher added, "I want to thank Marilyn McNeil [Monmouth Athletic Director] and Paul Gaffney [former Monmouth University President] for the opportunity to start the men’s lacrosse program and become a member of the Monmouth family. It is both an honor and privilege to lead the first men's lacrosse team at Monmouth and I am thrilled that they have the confidence in me to bring lacrosse to their university. From the moment I arrived at Monmouth I was very impressed with the intimate feel of the campus and support from the athletic department. My family and I are looking forward to getting back to New Jersey and being a part of the Monmouth community."
Dr. McNeil stated, "Monmouth was very fortunate to have a superior pool of applicants to lead its inaugural men’s lacrosse program. Brian Fisher emerged as the number one choice and gave us all the confidence that he can both start and lead our program. Like the beginnings of our football program, we wanted a head coach that had the work ethic, the knowledge, the contacts, and the right personality to lay the foundation for future success. I believe Brian is undoubtedly the best fit. Throughout the search, we became more excited about the possibilities of men’s lacrosse at Monmouth, and we are thrilled to have secured the quality of Coach Brian Fisher to lead us forward."