Darry Thornton is entering his fourth season as the head men’s lacrosse coach at Lees-McRae College.
During the past three seasons, the Bobcats men’s lacrosse program have taken great strides and developed both on and off the lacrosse field under Coach Thornton’s direction. On the field, the team has tied for most wins in a single season (2016) more than doubled their goals per game out-put along with setting numerous individual and team scoring records. To go along with that, offensively, the Bobcats have increased their overall shooting percentage, total shots on goal, total assists and man up percentage, all while committing less turnovers.
Defensively, penalties are down from years past, to go along with a downtick in overall shots per game, shots on goal, while increasing the overall team clearing percentage.
Off the field, in the spring of 2016, the men’s lacrosse team has achieved the highest team GPA in history. “It is a great accomplishment and shows the focus and determination our squad has developed in the classroom, during my time here” says Thornton. “We have three things we always emphasize with our team, ACE (Attention to Detail, Communication, Effort), CORN (Character Over Recruiting Numbers) and R3 (Recruit, Retain, Repeat). It has become more than just a saying or hashtag, it has become a way of life for our men’s lacrosse team”.
Prior to his appointment at Lees-McRae, Thornton brought over seven years of collegiate coaching experience with him, serving as the head coach at Mohawk Valley Community College and Mount Saint Mary College, as well as the assistant coach at former Conference Carolinas member Queens University of Charlotte.
A graduate of Oneonta State College, Thornton served as the head coach at Mohawk Valley for the two seasons, mentoring five all-conference players and playing an integral role in the defensive unit lowering its goals against average by 4.5. Under Thornton’s direction, Mohawk Valley’s offense steadily improved over the course of his two-year tenure, posting its highest-single game scoring effort in three years.
Prior to Mohawk Valley, Thornton established both the men’s and women’s lacrosse programs at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, N.Y., recruiting over 50 student-athletes in just six months in preparation for each team’s inaugural season.
Thornton served as the assistant coach at nearby Queens University, taking over as the defensive coordinator with four games remaining, and mentoring the defensive unit to a goals against average of 9.0 in that span. The Schenectady, N.Y. native also served as the man-down coordinator, leading the unit to a penalty kill rate of 77 percent while coaching five all-conference players that season.
Before joining the Queens staff, Thornton spent one season as the assistant coach at Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y. and one year as the assistant at Oneonta State, playing a key role in each defensive unit holding opponents to less than 9.3 goals per game. Thornton mentored four all-conference players at Hartwick and five at Oneonta, serving as the man-down coordinator at Hartwick and mentoring that unit to a penalty kill rate of 81 percent.
Thornton has mentored 19 all-conference selections at three separate schools, while also coaching 10 regional all-star game selections and one all-region selection at Mohawk Valley.
A two-time all-star game head coach while at Mohawk Valley, Thornton graduated from Oneonta State in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication. During his two-year career at Oneonta State, Thornton helped lead the team to a 22-10 record, a No. 11 national ranking, and a berth in the ECAC championship game.
What they’re saying about Coach Thornton
Mike Morgan, head men’s lacrosse coach at Merrimack College: “Darry is a great guy with a lot of energy, a tireless worker, and a great recruiter. He has an eye for the right type of player, knows everybody and can evaluate talent with the best in the country.”
Dan Mulholland, assistant men’s lacrosse coach at Pace: “Darry has a great rapport with student-athletes, and is very organized with his practices and recruiting. With his knowledge of X’s and O’s as a former goalie, he has been able to lead the defense while handling the other team’s offense. He also has a great personality. “
Bascom enters his second season as the men's lacrosse assistant coach at Lees-McRae.
Prior to joining Bobcat nation, Bascom spent the last 19 months as the assistant coach at Wheelock College in Boston, Mass. With the Wildcats, he assisted the head coach in all recruiting aspects and practice plans.
Bascom was a four-year varsity starter at Western Connecticut State and was tabbed captain during his senior campaign. He earned his bachelors in communication studies while amassing 39 points and over 150 groundballs in his career as a Colonial.
“I would like to thank Mr. McPhail and President (Barry) Buxton for the opportunity to work with the men's lacrosse program and to be a part of the Lees-McRae family,” said Bascom. “I would also like to thank Coach Darry Thornton for giving me the opportunity to work with and learn from him. Darry has so much knowledge and experience to pass on and I'm ready to take it all in and get to work. I am very excited to be a part of an up and coming program and I can't wait for the season to get started.”
He was the head coach for Brookfield Youth Lacrosse from March 2013 to June 2013 and spent time as the BOSS Lacrosse head coach from June 2012 to Aug. 2012.
“I am pleased to welcome Andrew Bascom to the Lees-McRae community and our men’s lacrosse program. It is a great time to be a Bobcat as our growth continues both on and off the lacrosse field,” praised head coach Darry Thornton. “Andrew exemplifies everything I am looking for in an assistant coach. His energy, passion and drive will benefit our program as we move forward.”