Lelan Rogers, who previously served as SUNY Cortland's men's lacrosse head coach from 2001-05, has returned to the position in the 2023-24 school year, according to director of athletics Mike Urtz. Rogers replaces Steve Beville, who retired after 17 seasons as the Red Dragons' head coach from 2007-23.
"I would like to thank Athletic Director Mike Urtz, President Erik Bitterbaum, Vice President of Finance and Management Mark Yacavone, and members of the Search Committee for this great opportunity," said Rogers. "I am truly grateful and excited to begin my new journey at SUNY Cortland. I have always believed that Cortland is one of the premier schools in the nation to work and coach at. I have been blessed that I have been given the opportunity to return to a university where I have such fond memories and developed so many great relationships.
"I am looking forward to beginning the next chapter in my coaching career and working with the student-athletes and campus community. Cortland has always had supportive and enthusiastic alumni. I look forward to working with them, cultivating new relationships, and making them proud. I would also like to thank Steve Beville for 17 years of outstanding service to Cortland and the student-athletes lives he's touched during his tenure. I am honored to follow in his footsteps and wish him all the best in his future endeavors."
Rogers has more than 30 years of coaching experience, most recently as head coach of the Utica University men's lacrosse program during the 2022-23 school year. He spent 14 years as the defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator at Division I Syracuse University from 2007-21. During his tenure at Syracuse, the Orange won back-to-back national championships in 2008 and 2009 and made a total of 14 NCAA tournament appearances. Rogers led the SU defense to a top-five national ranking in goals-against average for three straight years from 2008-10, and during his time there 79 players earned All-America honors.
During his five seasons as Cortland's head coach, Rogers led the Red Dragons to a combined 76-17 record, including a 32-0 mark in State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) regular-season games. Cortland won four SUNYAC titles and made five NCAA Division III tournament appearances under Rogers, advancing to the national semifinals in 2003 and quarterfinals in 2002, 2004 and 2005. He was named SUNYAC Coach of the Year in 2003, and he coached 23 All-Americans.
"We are excited to bring a coach of Lelan's caliber to lead such a storied program," said Urtz. "I think he will thrive and flourish with what we have to offer. More importantly, I think these young men at Cortland will love playing for him."
Prior to Cortland, Rogers coached for nine seasons at Ohio Wesleyan University from 1991-99. He led the Battling Bishops to a combined 109-33 record and seven NCAA tournament showings. The program advanced to the national championship game in 1993 and five other national semifinals and won six North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) crowns. He was named NCAC Coach of the Year four times and was inducted into the Ohio Wesleyan Athletics Hall of Fame in 2018. Rogers also coached the Chicago Machine of Major League Lacrosse in 2007 and at the SPIRE Academy in Ohio in 2022.
A native of Fulton, N.Y., Rogers is a 1982 alumnus of G. Ray Bodley High School. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in speech communications and earned a master’s degree in higher education administration/athletic administration from Syracuse in 1990. He was a member of Syracuse’s NCAA Division I Final Four lacrosse team in 1987 and was a graduate assistant coach on three straight Orangemen national championship squads from 1988-90. Rogers also was a team captain on Syracuse’s wrestling squad. He was an NCAA qualifier and New York State Collegiate champion and a two-time Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) finalist.
Before enrolling at Syracuse, Rogers attended St. Lawrence University, where he played lacrosse and football and served as captain of the wrestling team. He was the Division III national wrestling champion at 190 pounds in 1985 and the national runner-up at 177 pounds in 1983, and he was inducted into the St. Lawrence Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015.
Rogers' daughter, Paige, is a 2017 Syracuse alumna and former women's lacrosse player currently residing in Boston. His son, Casey, graduated in 2022 from the University of Nebraska, where he played football, and is currently working on his master's degree at the University of Oregon and is a starting defensive tackle for the Ducks.