July 9, 2010

Thompson Dumps Colby, Joins Amherst

from press release

– Amherst College director of athletics Suzanne Coffey announced today that Jon Thompson has been selected as the head coach of men's lacrosse following a national search. Thompson brings to campus a wealth of coaching knowledge and a passion for the student-athlete experience of balancing academics, athletics and civic responsibility.

"I first want to give a sincere and warm thank you to Suzanne Coffey for presenting me and my family with this opportunity," Thompson said this morning. "I also want to be sure to thank [Colby College athletics director] Marcella Zalot and the rest of the Colby lacrosse community for the incredible experience during our time in Waterville. As difficult as it will be to leave some of the relationships that [my wife, Susanna,] and I established in Maine, they will forever be in our hearts and minds."

Coffey is excited about the selection. "Jon is a proven winner with Ivy League and NESCAC coaching experience, as well as an outstanding record of achievement as a student and an athlete at Brown University," she said. "Jon is an educator first and foremost; his interests in the students he has coached extend well outside the bounds of the lacrosse playing experience."

"I am thrilled to work at an institution where innovation, creativity and excellence are the standard," Thompson added. "Amherst embodies an undergraduate education where independence, creativity, and selectivity meet. I believe in the mission of Amherst and in the dedication that Suzanne and the school have shown towards the furthering of the lacrosse program. I am honored to be the new leader of the lacrosse program at Amherst, and am delighted to have an opportunity to work alongside such an outstanding staff in the athletics department."

A native of Freeport, Maine, Thompson is a 2003 graduate of Brown University where he still ranks among the men's lacrosse program's top 10 in all-time goal scoring. Thompson, a former captain for the Bears, was a three-time All-New England selection while at Brown. He also earned both Ivy League All-Conference and All-Academic honors in 2002 and 2003, before capping his career as a USILA Honorable Mention All-American and a USILA Academic All-American in 2003.

Following a year volunteering as a member of the Brown coaching staff while playing professionally for the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse, Thompson helped lead nearby Springfield College to a Pilgrim League Championship as the Pride's offensive coordinator in 2005.

Thompson returned to the Brown campus prior to the 2006 season, serving as the recruiting coordinator and second assistant for the Bears. After rising to the first assistant position and offensive coordinator for 2007, Thompson helped lead the Bears to one of the largest turnarounds in Division I. In Thompson's three seasons coaching at Brown, the Bears transformed from a 2-11 team to an 11-3 team that won the 2008 Ivy League Championship with a victory over Princeton.

Thompson was named the head coach of NESCAC rival Colby College in the summer of 2008, where he spent two seasons leading the Mules to the two most successful campaigns of the past eight years. During his tenure at Colby, Thompson guided the Mules to three wins over opponents ranked nationally in the top 10, including a win over the highest ranked opponent in program history (No. 5 Endicott).

While leading Colby to back-to-back postseason appearances, Thompson helped develop a trio of All-NESCAC selections, a pair of All-Americans, and Colby's first two-time All-American. Equally impressive, Thompson helped the Mules raise the team's cumulative grade-point average nearly half a letter grade in just four academic semesters.

During his tenure at Colby, Thompson and his teams helped organize and implement four separate civic engagement fundraisers, during which more than $45,000 was raised for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation and Alpha 1/25, a Maine-based Marine Corp Regiment fighting in Afghanistan.

Rising senior captain Gabe Mann and his teammates on the selection committee were very impressed with all the candidates brought to campus. "We could tell that Coach Thompson has the commitment and the passion to help push Amherst in the right direction towards competing for both the NESCAC and national championships immediately," said Mann on behalf of the student panel.

"Jon's winning attitude and intensity came across forcefully in the interview process," Coffey added. "I expect that he will make strong and lasting connections with our student-athletes and our terrifically supportive alumni."

"The process of the search for this position was very taxing for me and my family," said Thompson. "It was an incredibly hard decision for us, but in the end we decided that the goals, resources and the mission of Amherst and of the athletic department were too important to ignore. We love the feeling of being on the cutting edge of education. You are surrounded by that environment at Amherst and we are excited to help lead in that direction within the community as well as within the athletic department."

Thompson notes that his first order of business will be to get to know his new players. "I am eager to learn about the young men that make Amherst Lacrosse tick. This experience will be for me—as it will be for the young men who study and play at Amherst—about relationships. It will be about the relationships that we will develop, nurture and take pride in. Those relationships, those bonds, and our camaraderie will ultimately determine our success with our families, in the classroom, in the community, and surely on the lacrosse field."

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