This time last season, Mike Waldvogel and Darryl Delia were the head and assistant coaches, respectively, of the men’s lacrosse team. But during a chaotic season for the Elis, Waldvogel stepped down amidst controversy and left Delia to take over the team midway through the year.
Now, neither of them coach the Bulldogs, but they are back together just 30 minutes down the road at Fairfield University.
The announcement last week that Waldvogel would be joining the Fairfield staff as defensive coordinator gave the Stags their second former Yale coach in as many months. Delia was hired by the team as offensive coordinator in late July after his interim head coaching stint at Yale following Waldvogel’s departure.
“I think all of us are very excited because here we have three head coaches,” Fairfield head coach Ted Spencer said. “Two happen to be in assistant roles but that’s not the way we look at it. They don’t work for me, they work with me, and it will be a great atmosphere.”
The hiring of Waldvogel is a boon to the Fairfield program, which finished 5-6 last season and picked up strong wins over Brown and Harvard.
Delia said he did not have any idea that he would be reunited with Waldvogel when he took the job this summer, but pushed both Fairfield and Waldvogel to consider it.
“Once I took the job I went to Mike and asked if he’d be interested and he said he’d think about it,” Delia said. “I let him know this was a good way to get back and possibly return to a head coaching job in the future.”
One of the most respected college lacrosse coaches in the country, Waldvogel spent 22 seasons with the Bulldogs before resigning in the wake of an athletic department internal investigation into possible rules violations.
Named New England Coach of the Year four times, including the 2002 season, Waldvogel also earned the Morris Touchstone Award for national Division I coach of the year in 1990. That year, the Elis finished with a NCAA Final Four showing, a No. 2 ranking, and a 16-2 overall record.
“Mike’s the kind of guy that you can go sit and have coffee with and you can learn more from him in 10 minutes than you would in two years with other people,” Spencer said. “He’s been at the highest level of lacrosse for a long time and I think the kids will get a lot from him.”
Delia brings a hard-working demeanor and years of experience to Fairfield, having been the offensive and recruiting coordinator at Yale before taking over the head coaching duties. Under Delia, the Elis pulled out quality wins over Penn State and Brown during the season.
“It’s great for Fairfield that coach Waldvogel and coach Delia have worked together before,” said Yale captain Scott Kenworthy ’03, who played under the two men. “They’ll really be able to hit the ground running because they know each other so well.”
Incidentally, the Stags are set to play the Bulldogs April 28. The majority of the Fairfield coaching roster, Spencer included, spent time working at Yale.
“That’s going to be a very exciting game,” Delia said. “I miss the kids very much and I miss my friends at the school, but being here with Mike and Ted Spencer is a great situation to be in, and I’m ecstatic.”