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SJU Lacrosse Team History

1988 Saint John's Lacrosse Team

The St. John's University lacrosse club was founded in 1986 by Peter Farrell and a few of his buddies in the basement of St. Thomas Aquinas Hall -- one of the campus' freshman dormitories.

Since that time, SJU Lacrosse has grown into one of the most dominant lacrosse programs in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest.

"Something like 90 guys turned out. Getting started was a major undertaking as only two or three of us had ever played the game before. Most didn't even own a stick," said Farrell.

With the help of a grant from the US Lacrosse Foundation they were able to order equipment and contract out the building of lacrosse goals.

The first core members of the SJU Lacrosse Club were Peter Farrell, Chip Fulack, John Killian, Pete Seltz, Jim Dougherty, Chris Raymond, Jerry Begly, Will, Chuck, Tim and Dave. The first ever faculty advisor of the club was the former president of Saint John's University; the late Brother Dietrich Reinhardt, OSB. 

During the first season, they were able to put together some winter practices and organize a few games against St. Thomas, Carleton and the Twin Cities Lacrosse Club. The reason for the lack of games played was largely due to the lack of money. 

The next year the lacrosse team developed a reputation on campus as being a great group of guys and participating in an awesome sport that was new to Minnesota. With a year of experience under their belt, along with a group of athletic rookies that were also fairly new to the sport, the team was able to become more competitive in the Upper Midwest. 

That year they took many memorable road trips to to Grand Forks, Ripon, the Twin Cites and Northfield throughout the fall and spring. They also held a small tournament in Collegeville during the fall on the Radio Tower fields. 

Of course, the main rival for the lacrosse club has always been the University of St. Thomas.

The St. Thomas/St. John's rivalry is one that dates back to the nineteenth century mainly because of football. However, the lacrosse team has helped develop the heated rivalry and, in some ways, improve and strengthen it. In the past, a trophy was passed between the winner of each Tommie/Johnnie game, similar to rivalry games in college football. The Tommie/Johnnie Lacrosse Trophy was a rusty, five-gallon bucket that was spray painted red and purple. That bucket has since been lost -- or could potentially be in the basement of some Johnnie Lax Alum.

2009 Saint John's Lacrosse Team

The Johnnies have been the UMLC Division II Champions in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2014.  They have earned a trip to the MCLA Division II National Championship Tournament in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 -- appearing in the Final Four of the Tournament in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2014.  The streak of 10-straight appearances in the National Championship Tournament is an MCLA record.  The Johnnies were the National Runner-Up in 2006, 2007 and 2014.

Past coaches of the team include: 

  • Eric Miller (SJU '99) – Head Coach/Defense, 99-01
  • Rob Anklam (SJU '99) – Assistant Coach/Middies, 99-01
  • Dave Legg (SJU '99) – Assistant Coach/Offense, 99-01
  • Chris Churchill (SJU '98) – Assistant Coach/Offense, 99-01
  • Mark Hellenack – Head Coach, 01-08
  • Thomas Haugen – Assistant Coach/Defense, 01-08
  • Mike Williams – Conditioning Coach, 07-08
  • Brian Strauss (SJU '09) – Assistant Coach/Offense/Attack, 10-11
  • Kyle Klossner – Assistant Coach/Offense, 10-12
  • Mike Evans – Assistant Coach, 12-13
  • Mike Becken -- Assistant Coach 14
  • Max Thomas - Olson -- Assistant Coach 14
  • David Norine (SJU 09)-- Assistant Coach, 11-15
  • Luke DeBruzzi (SJU 14)-- Assistant Coach, 16-17
  • Josh Erickson (SJU 14)-- Assistant Coach, 16
  • Jake Helmer (SJU 14)-- Assistant Coach, 17
  • Luke Eggerichs (SJU 14)-- Assistant Coach, 17
  • Andrew Benney -- Assistant Coach 18-19
  • Jared McComber (SJU 17)-- Assistant Coach, 18-19

Currently, the SJU Lacrosse Club is coached by:  Derek Daehn – head coach [2009-present]; Adam Benney (SJU '09) – assistant coach [2014-present]; Jon Carlson (SJU '07) assistant coach; Bradey Kamish (SJU '18); Riley Boehm

The club is a non-varsity, athletic program affiliated with and partially funded by SJU Student Services. A student board of directors consisting of a president, vice-president, treasure and secretaries that help run the administrative part of the club. 

(Thanks to Peter Farrell and Kent Smith 92' as well as Eric Miller for their contributions to the history)

* According to data available on

Know SJU History?

There is a lot of space to fill in the rich history of this team. If there are any alumni with documented information containing win/loss records and/or other pieces of SJU lacrosse history, please contact us by email