Head Lacrosse Coach Highland Park High School … Head Lacrosse Coach at Bryant University … Head Coach Team USA 2010 World Champions … Assistant Coach 2002 Gold Medal Team USA … Coached 83 All-Americans … 42 North-South All-Stars … Coach of the South All-Star Team 1993 … USILA National Division I Coach of The Year 2005 … NCAA Coach of the Year 1987 Div III … ACC Champions 1995, 2001, 2002 … NCAA Final Four 1997, 2005 … Ranked as high as 2nd nationally … 15 year Record at Duke 148-77…100 % graduation rate … In his first year as head coach of Bryant University, Pressler guided the Bulldogs to their first ever Northeast 10 Conference regular season title and a top seed in the conference tournament playoffs.
With six Northeast Conference titles and five NCAA tournament appearances in his time in Smithfield, head coach Mike Pressler has led the Bryant University men’s lacrosse program to national prominence over the last decade.
Pressler completed his 16th season leading the Bulldogs in 2022, having posted a 153-103 (.598) record. In 37 seasons as a collegiate head coach, Pressler is 382-205 (.651).
Bryant finished the 2022 season with an 8-7 overall record, qualifying for the NEC Tournament with a 6-1 league record. The Bulldogs featured some of the top players in the region in 2022, with Marc O’Rourke finishing the year with 61 points and 43 goals. Logan McGovern also had a big year, finishing with a DI single-season program record 35 assists. O’Rourke would finish his Bryant career with 220 points and a DI program record 155 goals. Bryant’s defense also shined in 2022 as all three primary long pole defenders earned All-NEC honors; Brody Rule (1st team), Tanner Alexander (All-Rookie) and Drew Lucas (All-Rookie).
The Bulldogs enjoyed a resurgent 2021, opening the season with a 5-1 record, their best start in program history. Bryant would also enter the national polls for the first time since 2017 and went on to claim its sixth NEC title by winning on the road at Hobart and on the road at top-seeded Saint Joseph’s. The Bulldogs then gave eventual National Champion Virginia everything it could handle in the NCAA Tournament, falling 13-11. Bryant’s incredible season ended with a No. 14 national ranking in the final Inside Lacrosse Media Poll of 2021. Pressler had six players earn All-NEC honors and seven more All-New England honors in 2021, led by NEC Rookie of the Year Bennett Abladian. The Black and Gold ended the season as one of the nation’s best in ground balls per game and man-down defense, and finished in the top 20 nationally in clearing percentage, scoring offense and scoring margin.
A promising 2020 season was cut short in mid-March by the Coronavirus pandemic one day after the Bulldogs’ two-goal defeat at No. 5 North Carolina. Bryant had won three of its last four prior to the UNC game, including victories over Boston University and Stony Brook at Beirne Stadium. Attackman Marc O’Rourke ranked fourth nationally in goals when the 2020 campaign abruptly ended, while Logan McGovern finished in the year in the top five among freshmen in assists and points.
Bryant’s run of success was derailed in 2019 by an injury-plagued campaign in which five key contributors – four starters and a top long-stick midfielder – suffered season-ending injuries. The Bulldogs started 26 different players during an uncharacteristic 3-11 season that included three straight one-goal losses from March 2-12. Bryant, which opened the year 2-1 with back-to-back wins over Providence and Dartmouth, missed the NEC Tournament for the first time in program history.
The Bulldogs won eight games in 2018, continuing a string of eight or more wins in each of Pressler’s first 12 seasons in Smithfield. Graduate student Kenny Massa was tabbed as a USILA honorable mention All-America selection and was one of three Bulldogs selected in the MLL Draft, joining Tom Kennedy and Anthony Johnson. The three MLL draft picks were the most ever by an NEC team. Bryant collected another victory over a ranked opponent in 2018 with a 10-7 win at No. 13 Robert Morris in March.
Bryant won its fifth Northeast Conference title in 2017 and earned its fourth trip to the NCAA tournament with an 11-win season that included victories over a top-10 Yale squad and NEC regular-season champion Hobart – both on the road – along with Monmouth in the NCAA Opening Round. Senior Tucker James was named an honorable mention All-American by the USILA, while James and Kyle Mummau were selected in the Major League Lacrosse draft. In total, six Bulldogs were named all-NEC selections.
Pressler’s Bulldogs earned top-20 recognition in 2016, following a 10-4 regular season and impressive victories over then unbeaten and No. 8/7 Harvard at home, and a stellar 11-10 overtime win at intrastate rival No. 2/3 Brown. Bryant saw nine players named All-NEC honorees, and a Tewaaraton Award Semifinalist named from its roster in senior netminder Gunnar Waldt.
Pressler saw his total of Bryant All-Americans extend to 11 after two selections in 2015 (Kevin Massa, Gunnar Waldt), as the program had garnered at least one such accolade in every season since transitioning to the Division I level prior to 2016. Pressler also saw 11 all-conference selections, including an unprecedented third-straight NEC Player of the Year recognition for Massa.
Since his arrival in Smithfield in 2006-07, Pressler has turned the Bryant program into a consistent national threat at the Division I level. Never was that more evident than in the 2014 campaign, when he guided his Black and Gold all the way to the NCAA Quarterfinals.
The Bulldogs spent 10 weeks ranked inside the national top-20 during that season, earning the program’s highest ranking ever at No. 11 on March 31, 2014. En route to a program-record 16 wins (16-5), Bryant topped four nationally ranked opponents, including a 10-9 upset victory over second-seeded and fourth-ranked Syracuse inside the Carrier Dome in the NCAA First Round. Bryant finished the year ranked No. 12 in the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll and No. 19 in the USILA Coaches Poll.
The Black and Gold would be well rewarded for their efforts, as Pressler saw three players – NEC Player of the Year Kevin Massa, Defensive Player of the Year Gunnar Waldt and Rookie of the Year Tucker James – take home major Northeast Conference honors, complementing 10 all-league selections. Massa, Waldt and senior midfielder Colin Dunster would go on to be named USILA All-Americans, with Massa taking home the first Division I First Team All-America honor in school history.
Pressler clinched his first piece of DI hardware with Bryant in 2012 – just the program’s fourth year with a full Division I slate and in just the second-ever postseason tournament sponsored by the NEC.
One of the most well-respected bench bosses in the lacrosse community, Pressler and his Bulldogs started out the DI era with a bang in 2009, finding a degree of success that shocked the lacrosse world. Bryant faced off against such national powerhouses as Maryland, Virginia, Brown, Army, Penn and Loyola in its inaugural season, earning a 10-5 overall record and recognition in both national polls. Pressler’s Bulldogs earned key wins over opponents such as Penn, Lehigh, Bellarmine and Dartmouth to become the biggest Cinderella story of the season.
The Bulldogs followed up their inaugural DI campaign with another solid showing in the spring of 2010, adding two more victories to their total for a final record of 12-5 while taking on yet another challenging schedule that featured such nationally ranked schools as North Carolina and Brown.
Since the inception of NEC Lacrosse in 2010, Pressler’s teams have boasted a combined 103 all-conference selections – including an impressive 48 first teamers – as well as 13 major award winners (3 Player of the Year, 1 Offensive Player of the Year, 4 Defensive Player of the Year and 5 Rookie of the Year).
Entering the 2023 season, Bryant has posted an impressive 153-103 record (.598) in 16 seasons under Pressler, who boasts a career record of 382-205 (.651) in 37 seasons as a head coach with a 288-181 mark (.614) at the Division I level. Pressler ranks sixth all-time for career wins among all active coaches across all three NCAA divisions and eighth all-time in NCAA history. His .651 career winning percentage ranks ninth among active DI coaches and 31st in DI coaching history, while his 382 wins place him third among all active DI coaches and third all-time in the DI records. In total, Pressler has made 20 NCAA tournament appearances in his career and has seen 14 players drafted into the professional ranks since 2009.
Pressler has found success on every field on which he has set foot as a coach, and his efforts and contributions to lacrosse throughout his illustrious career were recognized in September 2008 when he was named head coach of the 2010 U.S. Men’s National Team, a squad that would go on to win gold at the ILF World Championships in Manchester, England. Pressler served as an assistant with the national team in 2002, a unit that also captured gold in the international tournament.
The head coach at Duke University for 16 seasons before arriving in Smithfield, Pressler was named Bryant’s new skipper on August 5, 2006, becoming just the second coach in program history.
In his years in Durham, N.C., Pressler compiled a 153-82 overall record, leading the Blue Devils to three ACC titles, 10 NCAA tournament berths and an appearance in the 2005 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship.
Already a three-time ACC Coach of the Year, Pressler earned the nation’s top coaching honor in 2005 after directing the Blue Devils to an NCAA single-season record 17 wins, named the F. Morris Touchstone National Coach of the Year. Behind the play of three First Team All-America selections, his 2005 squad established a new NCAA record for win total turnaround and led the nation in scoring offense – averaging more than 13 goals per game – to finish the year ranked second in the national poll.
During his tenure at Duke, the men’s lacrosse program posted a 100 percent graduation rate.
Pressler arrived at Duke as one of the most successful NCAA Division III lacrosse coaches in the country, serving five seasons at the helm at Ohio Wesleyan University. There, Pressler led the Battling Bishops to the NCAA finals in three-straight seasons and was named the 1987 USILA Division III Coach of the Year. He was tabbed as the North Coast Athletic Conference’s Coach of the Year three times during his OWU tenure.
Pressler served as an assistant at Army under legendary coach Jack Emmer during the 1984-85 season. Before arriving at West Point, he guided VMI to a 7-4 record in his only season as head coach at the Lexington, Va., institute.
A 1982 graduate of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., Pressler was a four-year starter in both football and lacrosse. A First Team Division Kodak All-American nose tackle in football, a four-year starter in lacrosse and team captain in both as a senior, Pressler was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2001.
Pressler was also inducted into the Wilton (Conn.) High School Hall of Fame in 1998 and was inducted into the Connecticut Sports Hall of Fame in January 2010.
A native of Wilton, Connecticut, Pressler and his wife, Susan, live in Dallas, Texas. They have two daughters, Janet Lynn Pressler Letton (Michael Letton), Richardson, Texas. Janet was a four-year member, captain of the volleyball program at Loyola Maryland , and Maggie Pressler, Rochester, NY, was a four-year member, captain of the Bryant women’s lacrosse team.