Regarded as one of the greatest players and hardest workers in the game's history, Paul Cantabene returns for his tenth season as the head men's lacrosse coach at Stevenson in 2014. Using the same work ethic and ability that made him one of the greatest face-off specialists of all-time, he has bulit Stevenson into one of the elite programs in Division III.
This past season, Cantabene led the Mustangs to the 2013 NCAA Division III National Championship, where they defeated RIT, 16-14 at Lincoln Financial Filed in Philadelphia, Pa. The title marks the first national championship in school history in any sport. En route to the National Championship, Stevenson won a school record 22 games and went a perfect 8-0 in their first season in the Commonwealth Conference.
The team had a program-best 11 All-Americans and 14 All-Conference selections, including the Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year. Stevenson was named Team of the Year by Touchdown Club of Annapolis.
In addition to being named Commonwealth Conference Coach of the Year, Cantabene was also named 2013 Division III College Coach of the Year by CaptainU. He was invited by the Baltimore Orioles to throw out the first pitch on June 25, 2013.
The program's winningest coach in both wins and percentage, Cantabene picked up his 100th career win on March 3, 2012, becoming the second-fastest in Division III to reach the career mark.
In their six seasons in the CAC from 2007-2012, the Mustangs have appeared in five conference championship games, made four appearances in the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship, including three semifinals appearances, and won its first conference title in 2010.
The team also won an ECAC championship in 2006.
Over those six seasons, Stevenson has had a 60-9 home record, as well as 20 All-CAC and 32 All-America selections. In 2011 and 2012 the team boasted nine All-Americans.
Stevenson has also ranked in the top 20 nationally the last six consecutive seasons, finishing at No. 1 in 2009 and 2010.
A year ago, the Mustangs made their fifth consecutive appearance in the conference championship game. Also, for the third time in program history, the team appeared in the semifinals of the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship.
In 2011, the team appeared in the conference championship game as well as the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship. The team boasted seven All-CAC and nine All-America selections. Senior Jimmy Dailey was named the CAC Player of the Year, while freshman Ryan Rubenstein won CAC Rookie of the Year. Dailey was also named the nation's Outstanding Player of the Year by the USILA while senior Evan Douglass was honored as the nation's Outstanding Defensive Player.
In 2010, the Mustangs finished at No. 1 in the final USILA poll and won a school-record 19 games, its first conference championship with a 10-6 victory over Salisbury on the road, ending the Sea Gulls' 15-year reign, while advancing to the national semifinals for the second-straight season.
The team boasted a nation-best eight All-America selections while Steve Kazimer was named Division III Attackman of the Year for the second time in as many seasons. Stevenson also had eight players named All-CAC, including a league-best six on the first team.
In 2010, Catabene was one of four assistant coaches for the U.S. men's lacrosse team that captured the 2010 world title with a 12-10 victory over rival Canada in the FIL World Championship gold medal game.
In 2009, Cantabene was named College Coach of the Year by the Maryland State Lacrosse Coaches Association after leading the Mutangs to a 17-2 record, its first-ever NCAA appearance and a No. 1 ranking in the final USILA Division III poll. They also won a school-record 14 consecutive games and went 7-2 against teams in the top 20 with wins over Gettysburg, Lynchburg, Salisbury, Denison and Cabrini.
A total of six Mustangs were named All-America, including Kazimer who was the nation's top attackman, while eight were chosen All-CAC and three were selected to the USILA North-South All-Star Game.
Lacrosse Magazine tabbed Stevenson as its Breakthrough of the Year while Inside Lacrosse selected the team as its No. 6 Moment of 2009 after the team snapped Salisbury's 105-game CAC unbeaten streak with a 12-8 road win on April 4.
In 2008, Stevenson posted 13 wins, going 13-4 and being ranked as high as No. 8 in Division III. The team finished the year ranked 10th and received the program's first three All-America selections.
Stevenson spent most of 2007 ranked in the top 20, getting as high as as No. 11 en route to an 11-5 record. The team started the season with a 10-9 victory at home over No. 3 and defending national champion Cortland State who went on to lose in the national championship game to Salisbury at M&T Bank Stadium.
The Mustangs also finished the year 7-1 in their first season in the CAC, advancing to the semifinals of the conference championship, and had five players named All-CAC.
In just his second season, Cantabene led Stevenson to the ECAC Metro/South championship with a 10-8 record after wins over Kean and Montclair State in 2006. The team also advanced to the championship game of the Colonial States Athletic Conference tournament.
The Mustangs finished with a 9-6 record overall and a mark of 4-2 in the PAC during Cantabene's first season in 2005.
A long-time assistant coach at the Division I level, Cantabene spent nine combined seasons at Maryland, Towson and Johns Hopkins before coming to Stevenson. During his two seasons at College Park in 2003 and 2004, he served as an assistant under Dave Cottle for whom he played for at Loyola.
In 2003, Cantabene helped the Terps' offense to one of their most successful seasons en route to a 12-4 record and an appearance in the NCAA semifinals. Maryland ranked ninth in Division I in scoring offense and three of Cantabene's players, Mike Mollot, Ryan Moran and Joe Walters were named All-Americans. Walters was also the 2003 ACC Rookie of the Year.
Before Maryland, Cantabene spent four seasons as the offensive coordinator at Towson from 1999-2002 under head coach Tony Seaman under whom he worked for at Johns Hopkins from 1996-98.
Cantabene was a key component in the Tigers' revival which saw them reach the 2001 NCAA semifinals before losing to eventual national champion Princeton. Towson finished with a 14-4 record and the highest scoring offense in the nation.
While at Towson, Cantabene coached five All-Americans, including Spencer Ford who was a 1999 honorable mention selection after leading the nation in assists per game and ranking second in points per game. Kevin Sturm also led the nation in goals per game.
Prior to Towson, Cantabene served as the midfield coach at John Hopkins where he helped the Blue Jays to a 41-15 record and three consecutive berths in the NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship, inlcuding a semifinal appearance in 1998. He worked with six All-Americans in three seasons, inlcuding three-time honorees A.J. Haugen and Brian Carcaterra.
Ironically, Cantabene began his coaching career in Owings Mills at The McDonogh School where he spent two seasons as the offensive coordinator in 1994 and 1995, highlighted by a victory over Gilman, the No. 1-ranked team in the MIAA in 1995.
A 1993 graduate of Loyola (Md.) with a bachelor of arts degree in communications and advertising, Cantabene was a second team All-America selection at midfield as a senior. He was also named team MVP and selected to the North-South All-Star Game in 2003 after leading the Greyhounds to the NCAA quarterfinals, the last of four consecutive NCAA championship appearances.
In 1990, Cantabene was a freshman for the Greyhounds who went 11-4 and lost to Syracuse in the national championship game.
Cantabene's legend as a player began following his graduation from Loyola when he embarked on what was a 13-year professional career on the indoor, outdoor and club level.
In the indoor game, Cantabene played 11 seasons in the National Lacrosse League from 1994-2004 with the Baltimore Thunder, Pittsburgh Crossefire, Washington Power and Philadelphia Wings. He finished his career with a 55.8 face-off percentage, winning 982-of-1759 in regular-season play while recording 859 loose balls, 107 goals, 184 assists and 291 points in 114 games.
A three-time NLL All-Star and 1999 All-Star Game MVP, Cantabene is still ranked fourth in faceoffs won. He was also selected as the Thunder's team MVP and Rookie of the Year.
Cantabene began his outdoor career in Major League Lacrosse when he was drafted in the seventh round of the 2001 MLL Inaugural Draft by the Baltimore Bayhawks. In six seasons with the Bayhawks and Philadelphia Barrage from 2001-06, he played in five championships, winning three in 2002, 2004 and 2005. In addition, he was a five-time All-Star, two-time All-MLL selection and recipient of the SoBe Iron Lizard award in 2002.
Cantabene led the MLL in face-offs won and percentage in 2004 and 2005 and still holds the league's career records with 1,015 face-off wins and 538 ground balls. He also is the single-season record holder in face-off percentage at .633 and ground balls at 156, both accomplished in 2004. Only five players have totaled 100 ground balls in a season and his record is 51 more than second place on the single-season list.
In addition, Cantabene also holds the MLL record for ground balls in a game with 23 and the postseason marks for ground balls in a game (16) and face-offs won in a game (27).
On Aug. 21, 2010, Cantabene was named to MLL's 10-Year Anniversary Team, recognizing the greatest players of the previous decade at each position. Out of the 643 players who have were part of the MLL from 2001-10, 40 finalists were selected and the fans determined the final roster by voting on the MLL website.
Furthermore, Lacrosse Magazine named Cantabene as one of the top 10 players in the history of the MLL in its August 2008 issue.
Noah Sharfman of majorleaguelacrosse.com said of Cantabene in an article on June 13, 2008, "Although winning a championship is a reflection of an entire team and not just its face-off specialist, the numbers prove that Cantabene was able to elevate his team to a higher level. In the debate of who is the MLL's all-time best FOGO, there is a clear winner ... because Paul Cantabene, with his three championships, is the MLL's undisputed, all-time greatest face-off specialist."
As a club player, Cantabene played six years for Mt. Washington Lacrosse Club from 1995-2000. He was a six-time All-South First Team selection and a two-time second team honoree. He also played for the Maryland Lacrosse Club in 1994, earning his first, first-team all-club selection.
In 2000, Cantabene was named the 2000 Southern Division Player of the Year by the United States Club Lacrosse Association (USCLA). That year, he was also chosen first-team all-club at midfield after leading the league in face-offs and ranking third with 20 goals.
Cantabene was inducted in the Rochester Chapter of the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2003. He is the owner of Old School Lacrosse Camps (www.oldschoollacrosse.com) as well as the Baltimore Hawks Lacrosse Club. After serving as an alternate in 2006, Cantabene is an assistant coach on the U.S. National Team while also serving as a member of the Division III All-American Committee and chair person for the U.S. Lacrosse National Convention speaker process.
A native of Rochester, N.Y., Cantabene is married to the former Tracey Whetstone and the couple currently resides in Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania with their two children, daughter Lilly, and son, Curry.
|2006||10-8||.556||6-1||.857||2nd||ECAC Metro/South champions|
|2010||19-2||.905||6-1||.857||2nd||CAC champions; NCAA semifinals|
|2013||22-2||.913||8-0||1.000||1st||CC champions; NCAA champions|
|2014||19-3||.900||8-0||1.000||1st||CC champions; NCAA quarterfinals