Villanova Off to Best Start Since 2012 Season
Head Coach Mike Corrado Begins 2013 Season with Young Wildcats
Senior Persevered to Become Major Contributor for Lacrosse Team
An In-Depth Look at the 2012 Wildcats with the First Scrimmage Just Nine Days Away
Simon Connor returns to the Villanova sidelines for his 9th season as the top assistant on Michael Corrado's staff and his fourth as Associate Head Coach for the 2014-15 season. Connor was promoted to his current position in June, 2010.
Throughout his duration under Corrado, Connor has helped Villanova reach national recognition as one of the top lacrosse programs in the country. He is heavily involved in all aspects of the program and is directly responsible for the inception and direction of the offense, preparing scouting reports, designing game plans, assisting in player development and acting as the recruiting coordinator.
Over the past five seasons, Connor has played a significant role in Villanova's .545 overall winning percentage and .633 mark in conference contests. In 2014, Connor helped solidify the Wildcats place amongst the nation's elite after advancing to the BIG EAST Tournament championship contest for the second-straight season where they faced the Denver Pioneers. In 2013, the Wildcats earned the BIG EAST Regular Season Title and secured the No. 1 overall seed for the 2013 BIG EAST Tournament and advanced to the championship contest against the Syracuse Orange. Following the conclusion of the 2013 season, Connor's man-up offense ranked second in the nation for the second-straight year by converting on just over 49% of their opportunities. The Villanova Men's Lacrosse coaching staff was also chosen to coach in the prestigious USILA North/South All-Star game for the first time in 2013, where they led the South squad to a convincing 16-10 victory over the North.
In 2012, Connor helped propel Villanova to new heights after the team was ranked well inside the top-20 for all 16 weeks during the regular season and finished the year with an 8-7 overall record. In 2011, Connor helped guide the Wildcats to their highest ranking in program history at No. 7 in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse and USILA polls. During that run, Villanova was ranked well inside the top-20 for 14 weeks and earned their first-ever at-large berth to the NCAA postseason tournament. Traveling to the University of Denver in what would be the first NCAA tournament game to be played west of the Mississippi, the Wildcats narrowly fell to the Pioneeres, 13-10, on Denver's home turf.
Connor has also helped several players earn regional and national distinction under his direction. John LoCascio (2014 USILA First Team All-American, 2014 BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year, 2014 All-BIG EAST First Team, 2013 USILA Third Team All-American, 2013 BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year, 2013 First Team All-BIG EAST, 2012 Second Team All-BIG EAST), Jack Curran (2014 Second Team All-BIG EAST), Jack Rice (2013 USILA Honorable Mention All-American, 2013 Second Team All-BIG EAST, 2012 First Team All-BIG EAST, 2011 First Team All-BIG EAST), Thomas Croonquist (2013 First Team All-BIG EAST, 2012 Second Team All-BIG EAST), Chris Conroy (2014 First Team All-BIG EAST, 2013 First Team All-BIG EAST), John Kluh (2013 First Team All-BIG EAST), Max Hart (2013 Second Team All-BIG EAST), Kevin Cunningham (2012 USILA Honorable Mention All-American, 2012 BIG EAST Attack Player of the Year, 2012 First Team All-BIG EAST, 2012 BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, 2011 All-BIG EAST First Team, 2010 All-BIG EAST Second Team), Matt Bell (2012 All-BIG EAST First Team), Michael Vigilante (2012 All-BIG EAST Second Team), Paul Webber (2010 USILA Honorable Mention All-American, BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year, First Team All-BIG EAST) and Mark Scioscia (2010 All-BIG EAST Second Team) have all earned national recognition under Connor's tutelage.
Prior to Villanova joining the BIG EAST Conference, Connor developed three All-CAA selections in Eric Heidenberger, Chris MacDonald and Timmy Driscoll and two All-CAA Rookie Team honorees in C.J. Small and Kevin Cunningham. Jack Rice, Max Hart, Michael Vigilante, Chris Ficke, Brian Karalunas, Andy German, Matt Fritts and Chris MacDonald were also selected to play in the prestigious USILA Division I North/South Senior All-Star game in recent years under Connor's teaching, with Rice taking home MVP honors in 2013 and Vigilante earning the same distinction in 2012.
Nationally, Connor has guided seven former players into the professional lacrosse ranks in John LoCascio, Kevin O'Neil, Nick Doherty, Kevin Cunningham, Brian Karalunas, Eric Heidenberger and Mikey Haas. Karalunas and Cunningham were both 2013 MLL All-Stars while LoCascio, Rice, Karalunas and Cunningham were all chosen to the 2014 FIL Team USA Tryout Pool prior to the World Championships in Denver, Colo.
Connor, a midfielder for the Wildcats in 2001-02, battled injuries throughout his time as a student-athlete before compartment syndrome sidelined his playing career at the end of his sophomore season. He began his coaching career as the head assistant and offensive coordinator at Harriton High School in Rosemont, Pa. before becoming the offensive coordinator at Whittier College in California. In his one year at Whittier, the Poets finished with an 8-7 record.
A 2004 Villanova alumnus, Connor holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He currently resides in Philadelphia, Pa.