Sowell explains decision to leave Stony Brook for Navy
The 2011 campaign ended disappointingly for Rick Sowell and Stony Brook, a preseason favorite to make the Final Four that fell to Hartford in the America East tournament final and missed the NCAA tournament altogether.
Still, the Seawolves went 10-4 and captured the league’s regular-season crown for the second straight year. So why would Sowell leave a Stony Brook program that arguably was the team to beat in the America East for a Navy program that went 4-9 and finished outside of the top four in the Patriot League?
“That’s a good question,” Sowell said Thursday afternoon with a chuckle. “Certainly, I’ve had a wonderful five years here at Stony Brook, but the Naval Academy is a special place. The tradition that lacrosse has, yes, it’s been a little down the last couple years, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t crank it back up with some blood and some sweat and probably some tears. It’s just a great opportunity to work with young men who are someday going to go off and serve our country. And to have hopefully a positive impact in their development as they become leaders is just a wonderful opportunity not only for myself but also for my family. While it was very difficult to leave Stony Brook, the decision to work at Navy and be around that environment was a relatively easy one.”
Stony Brook graduated 11 players, including seven starters and the team’s primary faceoff specialist. But Sowell said those losses weren’t factors in his decision.
“I certainly think the cupboard is not bare here at Stony Brook,” said Sowell, who was cleaning out his office at the school’s campus on Long Island, N.Y. “Yes, we’ve lost an outstanding class, one that will have a legacy that will stand here for long, long time. But we think the program is set up to continue to have success and I certainly feel good about the roster that I’m leaving for whoever the next coach is.”