Joe Alberici enters his 10th season at the helm of the Army lacrosse program. Following in the footsteps of some of the biggest names in the history of the sport, Alberici roams the same sideline where Hall of Fame legends such as Jack Emmer, Ace Adams, Dick Edell and F. Morris Touchstone, once tread. A former assistant to Emmer, Alberici returned to the banks of the Hudson River after a nine-year stint as an assistant coach at Duke where he helped the Blue Devils tighten their grip as one of the nation’s premier lacrosse programs.
Alberici became the 10th head coach in Army’s storied 90-year history in 2006, and was tasked to fill the big shoes left by his mentor, Emmer, who retired as college lacrosse’s all-time winningest coach in 2005. Alberici led Army to its first-ever Patriot League tournament title in 2010, defeating Navy, 11-8, in the championship contest. The Black Knights, who compiled a 6-0 conference record during the regular season for the first time that spring, went on to upset No. 2-ranked Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Alberici helped mold Garrett Thul ‘13 into the national Rookie of the Year in 2010 as the attackman set plebe records in goals and points. Thul joins Jeremy Boltus ‘11 - Army’s most recent first team All-American - and reigning Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year John Glesener as three of Alberici’s most prized recruits as of late.
When it comes to Alberici producing successful cadet-athletes both on the field and in the classroom, the numbers speak for themselves. In just nine short years at the Academy, his players have earned a total of 18 All-American certificates. Alberici has also mentored seven Patriot League major award winners (Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Goalkeeper of the Year, Rookie of the Year), 54 Patriot League Honor Roll recipients, four Academic All-Americans, three Patriot League Scholar-Athletes of the Year and two Senior CLASS Award winners (Brendan Buckley, 2013; Andrew Maisano, 2010). In addition, nine of his players have been selected in the Major League Lacrosse draft.
Alberici and the Black Knights continued their success in league play, making it to another Patriot League Tournament as the second seed following a 6-1 conference season. A big reason for the overall record of 9-5 was the defensive side of the field as the Black Knights were the top-ranked defensive unit in 2014, allowing 7.21 goals per game. Army faced three ranked teams during 2014 and all three games were decided by one goal, including games on the road against No. 2 Loyola and No. 5 Notre Dame. The Black Knights defeated Navy for the sixth-straight year as well. Alberici was named Patriot League Coach of the Year, while John Glesener and Sam Somers were first team All-Patriot League and voted as All-America selections. Twelve players were selected to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll as well. In addition to the postseason honors, Pat Hart played in the North/South Game at the end of the season.
As he has done every season at West Point, Alberici engineered a Patriot League Tournament berth for his Black Knights, who finished the year with an 8-6 mark. Army faced five nationally ranked teams and defeated Navy for a fifth-straight time in 2013. While Thul shattered Army’s goal-scoring record in his final season, the Flemington, N.J. native also picked up All-America honors for a third time. Glesener and fellow senior Brendan Buckley were also named. With Buckley anchoring, the Black Knights ranked third in the nation in scoring defense, yielding 7.79 goals per game, at year’s end.
Alberici’s emphasis on molding the true student-athlete was never more evident than in 2013. Ten players earned Patriot League Academic Honor Roll plaudits, while Buckley produced a laundry list of postseason academic and athletic awards to include Patriot League Defensive Player of Year, USILA Academic All-America, Capital One Overall Academic All-American of the Year, Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the 2013 Senior CLASS Award. Thanks to the recent success of Buckley, Alberici has now mentored four of the Patriot League’s last five Scholar-Athlete of the Year winners.
In addition to Buckley’s success, Thul became the third lacrosse player to win the prestigious Army Athletic Association Trophy, awarded annually to the top graduating male and female athletes. Drafted by the Hamilton Nationals of the MLL, Thul also embarked on his rookie NLL season with the Philadelphia Wings in 2013-14.
Army showed improvement from a 7-8 showing during a 2012 campaign that saw the Black Knights face seven nationally ranked opponents and reach No. 20 themselves. Army’s 6-5 overtime win at then-No. 15 Bucknell halted the Bison’s eight-game win streak. While the victory in Lewisburg, Pa., provided plenty of highlights, the apex of Army’s season came courtesy of a 9-6 win over rival Navy on national television to clinch a Patriot League Tournament berth. Tim Henderson `12 garnered Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year honors following his final season. He went on to help the Long Island Lizards make a run in the MLL playoffs and joined Thul in earning All-America honors in 2012. Henderson and Thul headlined a group of five Black Knights to capture 2012 All-Patriot League honors.
Following Army’s 2012 Patriot League Tournament appearance, Alberici served as the North Team head coach at the annual USILA/Lax World North-South Senior All-Star game where he mentored Henderson, Devin Lynch `12 and Larry LoRusso `12 one last time.
In 2011, Alberici recorded his 50th victory at Army and mentored one of the most prolific feeders in the program’s storied history. Jeremy Boltus ‘11 finished second on Army’s all-time points (214) and assists (124) lists. The team captain became the second player in Army history to be one of five national finalists for the Tewaaraton Award, presented annually to the top player in college lacrosse, and the first Black Knight since 2005 to be named first team All-America. Boltus went on win the Army Athletic Association Award as his class’ top male athlete and to enjoy a breakout campaign with the MLL’s Hamilton Nationals. He led all rookies in scoring, nabbed MLL Rookie of the Year accolades and now plays for the Denver Outlaws.
With the tandem of Thul and Boltus firing on all cylinders, Alberici’s sixth season at the helm saw the Black Knights defeat rival Navy at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium for the first time since 1997. The 14-9 comeback victory marked a third straight win over the Mids and fourth victory for the Class of 2011. Army, nationally ranked at the time, also clinched a Patriot League Tournament berth that afternoon and effectively eliminated Navy from the four-team playoff for the first time in conference history. Army went on to finish the season with a 9-6 overall mark and ranked as high as No. 7 in the country. The Black Knights totaled five All-America certificates, three MLL draftees and produced a second team Academic All-America honoree.
Alberici was named the 2008 Patriot League Coach of the Year after leading Army to a 9-6 record, including a 5-1 conference mark which was good enough to clinch the Patriot League regular season title and top seed for the postseason tournament, hosted at Michie Stadium. Five Black Knights garnered All-Patriot League honors, including senior Adam Fullerton `08, who won his second-straight conference Goalkeeper of the Year award on his way to third-team All-America honors. Ranked as high as No. 8 during the season, Army finished the season No. 19 in the final USILA National Coaches Poll on the heels of a scoring defense that only allowed 7.13 goals per game, to rank sixth nationally.
In 2007, Alberici guided the Black Knights through a roller coaster season, highlighted by a 6-1 start and an upset of No. 2 Syracuse in the Carrier Dome that marked the first time the Orange had ever lost at home in February. Ranked as high as No. 8 in the national polls during the campaign, the Black Knights would go on to qualify for their third-straight Patriot League Tournament to finish the season. His stalwart defense allowed just four opponents to score over 10 goals en route to a 7.80 goals against average that ranked 10th in the country. Alberici also watched four of his players garner all-conference honors.
In his first season as head coach, Alberici led the Black Knights to their second-straight appearance in the Patriot League Tournament Championship game. Two of his players - attackman John Walker `06 and defenseman Matt Luyster `06 - capped their Army careers with Honorable Mention All-America honors while leading the squad to its ninth-straight season with at least eight victories against one of the toughest schedules in the country.
Alberici’s tenure at Duke coincided with the Blue Devils’ rise to national prominence, which culminated in their magical run to the Division I title contest in 2005, a game in which they fell 9-8 to top-ranked Johns Hopkins. Ranked second in the nation behind the Blue Jays for much of the spring, Duke forged a remarkable 17-3 ledger and established an NCAA record for victories in a single season. Two of Duke’s losses were one-goal defeats at the hands of Johns Hopkins, including an 11-10 double-overtime loss at JHU’s Homewood Field in early April.
Alberici’s duties at Duke included recruiting director, assisting with the daily administration of the program, serving as the Blue Devils’ defensive coordinator and coaching the team’s goalkeepers. After serving as offensive coordinator and working with Duke’s man-up offense during his first eight years, he assumed the roles of defensive coordinator and coach of the man-down defense during his final season. He was promoted to associate head coach in 1999.
During Alberici’s nine years on head coach Mike Pressler’s staff, the Blue Devils forged a sparkling 96-47 (.671) record, made seven appearances in the NCAA Tournament - including a run of six-straight postseason trips between 1997 and 2002 - and captured a pair of Atlantic Coast Conference titles (2001 and 2002). The Blue Devils reached the Final Four for the first time in 1997, Alberici’s initial year in Durham, before embarking on their remarkable postseason run in 2005. Under Alberici’s watchful eye, Duke ranked second in the nation in scoring defense, surrendering just 6.91 goals per game.
Alberici spent the 1995 and 1996 seasons at West Point as an assistant coach, and helped the Black Knights to a 10-5 showing and an NCAA appearance in 1996. Army won its final five games that season, including victories over Hofstra, Navy and Rutgers, to earn the Academy’s 12th postseason berth.
A 1991 graduate of Alfred University, Alberici was a two-time lacrosse All-American in 1990 and 1991 and also garnered Academic All-America accolades as a senior. A four-year starter at attack, he set six school scoring records and led the Saxons to winning seasons in 1989, 1990 and 1991. A three-time team captain, Alberici led the entire nation, including all three divisions, in assists as a junior, garnering 78 helpers in 17 contests for a 4.6 assist per-game average. In 2001, Alberici was inducted into Alfred’s Hall of Fame.
Following graduation, Alberici remained at his alma mater for two years in the role of graduate assistant coach, earning his master’s degree in education in 1993. He accepted his first head coaching assignment soon thereafter when he was named to the top post at SUNY Oneonta.
In 1994, the Dragons forged an 8-6 record and established a single-season school record for victories, earning Alberici Empire Lacrosse League Coach of the Year laurels. It was on the heels of that spectacular season that Alberici made the move to West Point.
A native of Auburn, N.Y., Alberici was inducted into the Auburn High School Hall of Fame in 2008, joining his older brother, John and father, Gino, as enshrinees.
In his present role as the face of Army’s storied program, Alberici has assumed control of a club that remains intertwined with the rich history of collegiate lacrosse. In 95 seasons, the Black Knights have amassed 732 victories, trailing only Johns Hopkins, Syracuse and Navy in all-time wins at the Division I level. Army has produced eight national champions, while 12 men associated with the program (eight players and four coaches) have been enshrined in the National Lacrosse Foundation Hall of Fame.
Alberici served a term as an assistant coach for the U.S. National Lacrosse Team at the 2010 World Lacrosse Championships in Manchester, England, helping the Americans to the gold medal. In 2007, he was also appointed to the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Board of Directors, the sport’s national governing body.
Currently, Alberici serves on multiple lacrosse committees around the country. He is a member of the Tewaarton Award selection committee, the USILA National Poll and Assistant Coach of the Year panel. He also serves on the US Lacrosse National Team coach selection committee .
Alberici and his wife, Petra, reside at West Point with their son, Maximus, and daughter, Isabella.