BREWSTER, N.Y. -- Kevin McKeown headed to Binghamton University in 2002 out of Brewster High School to help establish the college’s lacrosse program. Now, he’s heading there again to do the same thing, albeit in a much different capacity.
McKeown was named head coach of the Bearcats in late July. He served as an assistant coach at BU in 2009-10, and was the team’s interim head coach in 2011. He was also an assistant coach at Siena and spent the last two years at Bellarmine in Kentucky.
"Having gone through two four-year stints here -- one as a player and one as a coach -- I'm pretty familiar with the place and what the student-athletes go through on a day-to-day basis," McKeown said."I feel I can relate to them pretty well and I'll be able to mentor them pretty well as they go through good or bad times, on the field or off, or in the classroom."
McKeown will try to revive a program that has not had a winning season since 2004, when he was a standout goalie for the Bearcats. Binghamton has won four games each of the past two seasons and has missed the America East playoffs in four of the last five years.
The roster is comprised mostly of men from New York, and McKeown expects to continue to recruit the top players from Westchester, Long Island and other communities in the state with strong lacrosse backgrounds. But having worked at Bellarmine, McKeown feels he has established nationwide connections that will help him land talent from outside of the Empire State as well.
“The biggest challenge is going to work recruiting and getting the guys here that want to be here and appreciate Binghamton,’’ McKeown said. “Everything is in place here to have success. You look at the schools that have done well, and we’re in that same mold. There’s no reason why Binghamton can’t be a great lacrosse program.”
McKeown feels Binghamton offers tremendous opportunity and value for recruits. “One of the first things recruits will realize is that they’re getting a great value for their education,’’ he said. “And there are a lot of people who have never been here who are surprised by how nice it is and how much they’ve put into it.”
As a former defensive standout, McKeown figures to tighten the Bearcats’ play in front of the goalie. He helped establish Bellarmine’s highly-rated defense.
“We’re going to be hard-working, disciplined and tough,’’ McKeown said. “We’re going to work as a team on both sides of the ball. We’ll look to be a group that beats teams together and does not rely on one or two guys.”
Binghamton finished 4-10 last season, but returns seven starters. Freshman Joe Licata was named to the America East all-rookie team.
“We want the players to get to know their teammates and know us,’’ McKeown said. “We’re going to try get better every day and focus on the short term while also thinking about our long term goals. We’re just going to take it day by day and week by week.”
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