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Top lax assistant accepts Army job

After nine seasons in Durham, Joe Alberici was given an opportunity he could not resist. Duke men’s lacrosse lost its top assistant coach Tuesday, when Alberici accepted the head coaching position at Army—where he had been an assistant before joining the Blue Devil staff.

“My career goal has always been to be a head coach at a great institution,” Alberici said. “When this opportunity at Army presented itself, it was a ‘no-brainer.’ There were no second thoughts. I love this place and what it represents.”

Alberici leaves a Duke program that posted an NCAA-record 17 wins and made the NCAA Championship game for the first time in program history.

“The players will certainly miss him,” Duke head coach Mike Pressler said. “He’s been a great help for the last nine years. It’s a great move for him professionally and personally.”

Alberici served as the team’s recruiting coordinator, and after spending most of his tenure in Durham working with the offense, he made the switch to defensive coordinator this past year. The transition was successful as the Blue Devils’ defense was outstanding during their run to the title game, allowing just 6.91 goals per contest. With regards to recruiting, Alberici has helped Duke nab some outstanding players including the last two ACC Freshmen of the Year—Matt Danowski and Zack Greer.

The Alfred University alumnus replaces the NCAA’s winningest lacrosse coach, Jack Emmer, who retired after 36 years of coaching—22 of which were spent in West Point.

“Joe Alberici is one of the finest young assistant coaches in the game,” said Kevin Anderson, Army’s director of athletics. “He was clearly an integral component of Duke’s success over much of the past decade.”

A product of Auburn, N.Y., Alberici is familiar with the West Point area. Most of his family still resides in his hometown, and recruiting trips have taken him to central New York on numerous occasions, he said. Additionally, having served as an assistant under Emmer from 1995-1996, he is familiar with the military academy and the unique challenges it poses with regard to recruiting.

“We are going to scour the country to find the best players possible and show them the benefits of a West Point degree,” Alberici said. “Recruiting is the life-blood of your program. I embrace that. I like to recruit and look forward to showing them what Army lacrosse is all about.”

This past season, the Black Knights made the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year but lost in the first round to Georgetown.

“Coach Emmer has done a terrific job here and has been a consistent winner,” Alberici said. “I believe Army lacrosse can compete for a national championship.”

As a four-year starter on attack at Alfred, Alberici earned All-American honors in 1990 and 1991, set six scoring records and led the nation in assists as a junior.

This is his second stint as a head coach, having spent the 1994 season at the helm of SUNY Oneonta’s men’s lacrosse program.

Alberici will lead his new squad against the one he helped put together and coach when the Black Knights visit Duke April 22, 2006.

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