There have been several coaching changes in the past year in the Lafayette athletic department. Women’s basketball, football and softball have all hired new head coaches. Men’s lacrosse promoted an assistant coach to interim head coach. Some sports have seen changes in assistant coaching as well.
Director of Athletics Bruce McCutcheon wrote in an email that he has been integral in choosing new coaches and getting a sense of their coaching style. His hirings have been headlined by John Garrett, the new head coach of the football team.
McCutcheon wrote that he is confident he has hired strong leaders in his recruitment.
“Although both [women’s basketball coach] Kia Damon and John Garrett are first time head coaches, they both have significant coaching experience at a high level,” McCutcheon wrote. “We talk about the difference between the assistant and the head coach as moving from making recommendations to making decisions.”
“Both Kia and John bring the unique skill set of being in decision making roles even as assistants,” McCutcheon wrote.
“Another great quality that they both share is a passion for developing the students in their programs to be the very best that they can be. Developing the whole person to graduate and move on to be leaders in their chosen fields and communities for them is mission critical,” he added.
These new changes could bring in a new era of Leopards athletics.
“Certainly when you have a change in leadership in a sport program the new head coach will bring their coaching philosophy,” McCutcheon wrote. “They also bring a new energy and excitement to the program. We have certainly seen that with the addition of John Garrett, Kia Damon, [softball coach] Caitlyn de la Haba and their staffs.”
According to McCutcheon, his work in recruiting not only involves looking for coaches who will bring experience and new energy, but also coaches who will develop connections with players.
“It’s not an accident that any member of the coaching staff that we hire is centrally focused on the intellectual, physical and emotional development of our student-athletes,” McCutcheon wrote. “That’s part of our culture as a member of the Lafayette Community. We specifically seek out candidates who fit the Lafayette ethos and buy into our department’s mission and core values.”
The first new head coach to be tested in game will be John Garrett. He’s excited about the football season opener at Monmouth University.
“We get to play back in my home town,” said Garrett at an Aug. 29 press conference. “My parents lived 15 minutes from Monmouth University, Monmouth beach, and it’s gonna be fun. It’s going to bring back great memories.”