John Klepacki, who wrapped up his 18th season as the Western New England University men's lacrosse coach in 2019, is among the top coaches in the nation today. Klepacki has posted an impressive 239-103 career and school mark for a .699 winning percentage, which ranks fifth among active NCAA Division III coaches.
The winningest coach in terms of percentage among all current WNE head coaches, Klepacki has overseen all ten of the Golden Bears' runs in the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship since 2002. Western New England has won more Commonwealth Coast Conference men's lacrosse championships (8) than any other program since joining the league in 2008.
This past spring, Klepacki led the Golden Bears to their second consecutive and eighth overall CCC championship, earning his fourth CCC Coach of the Year award in the process. Western New England received a league-high 12 All-CCC selections, including three major award winners - Jared Ward (Offensive Player of the Year), Mitch Weiss (Defensive Player of the Year) and Mike Bannon (CCC Rookie of the Year). Ward and Weiss also earned USILA All-America Honorable Mention accolades, along with Hunter Cocks, Oskar Djusberg and Matt Greer.
Klepacki was recognized for his contributions to the game of lacrosse in December 2018 when he was inducted into the Western Massachusetts Chapter of the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Klepacki's Golden Bears were again the class of the CCC in 2018. Western New England's challenging non-conference schedule prepared the team for an undefeated, 8-0 run through conference play. The Golden Bears defeated Salve Regina (18-5) and Endicott College (10-6) in the CCC semifinals and championship, respectively, to capture the program's seventh CCC title. Sophomore midfielder Nick Gamba was named the CCC Offensive Player of the Year, while Gamba, senior goalie Steven Kerr and sophomore defenseman Oskar Djusberg received USILA Honorable Mention All-America recognition. Additionally, Justin Holl was named a USILA Scholar All-American and Nick Beauchamp represented the Golden Bears in the USILA North-South Senior All-Star Game.
After emerging from a daunting non-conference slate that featured five nationally-ranked opponents in 2017, Western New England posted a 7-1 record in CCC play and reached the CCC championship game for the seventh consecutive season. Ten Golden Bears earned All-CCC accolades, including seniors Keegan Dudeck and Steven Patrie, who were recognized as USILA Honorable Mention All-Americans. At the conclusion of the season, Klepacki was selected to coach in the prestigious USILA North-South Game for the second time in his career.
Klepacki guided the Golden Bears to another successful campaign in 2016, as Western New England went 15-4 (8-0 CCC) with three victories over nationally ranked opponents. The Golden Bears, who finished the season ranked No. 14 in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Poll, captured their sixth CCC title with a 14-12 win over Endicott on May 7, earning a trip back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014.
Klepacki, who reached the 200-win milestone late in the 2016 season, was recognized as both the CCC Coach of the Year and ECAC New England DIII Coach of the Year. Four of his student-athletes were named USILA Honorable Mention All-Americans, while 13 collected All-CCC recognition.
The Southington, Conn. native also completed his first season as defensive coordinator of the Boston Cannons, a charter member of Major League Lacrosse, in 2016.
Klepacki and the top-seeded Golden Bears captured the 2015 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III championship at Alfred University, defeating the host Saxons in the title game, 14-13. Western New England is undefeated in four ECAC tournament appearances in 2004, 2005, 2011 and this spring.
The 2015 squad finished 14-6 overall while playing one of the toughest schedules in the country. Twelve Golden Bears made the All-CCC teams, including four on the first unit.
In 2014, Western New England (10-8 overall) saw its five-year streak of at least sharing the CCC regular-season title come to an end, but upset nationally No. 11 ranked and top-seeded Endicott in the conference championship game--a convincing 13-8 win on the road--to earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Klepacki coached a CCC-leading nine academic all-conference honorees, two scholar all-Americans, two-time All-American Adam Knapton, six selections from two all-region squads and 10 All-CCC picks including Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year Jesse DeLucca; WNE earned the CCC Team Sportsmanship Award for the third straight year.
The 2013 Golden Bears squad finished 13-7 overall and tied for first in the CCC standings at 7-1 en route to topping top-seeded Endicott for the conference crown. Western New England advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals where it lost a hard-fought 12-7 decision to Final Four participant SUNY Cortland after defeating Eastern Connecticut in the first round and No. 9-ranked Nazareth in the second.
Western New England was rewarded with three All-America citations and seven first-team All-CCC picks among 12 overall including Knapton, the offensive player of the year in the conference as a junior.
In 2012, Klepacki led WNE to a 13-5 campaign, a No. 15 national ranking in the final United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Division III poll, sweeps of the CCC regular-season and tournament crowns, and an NCAA tournament second-round appearance.
In 2011, Klepacki led his team to another highly-successful season by finishing with a 16-5 record that was the second-best win total in the program's three-decade history. WNE was ranked 20th in the final USILA Division III poll.
Western New England captured the CCC regular-season title with a perfect 9-0 mark. The Golden Bears placed second in the conference tournament and first in the ECAC Division III Championship.
In addition, Klepacki was named the CCC Coach-of-the-Year after leading his team to its eighth consecutive winning campaign.
Klepacki directed his team to a 12-6 record in 2010 in what was supposed to be a rebuilding season. The Golden Bears also advanced to the semifinals of the CCC Championship.
The 2009 season was a memorable one as Western New England tied the team record for wins, ending with a 17-3 record and a perfect 9-0 mark for first place in the conference.
Klepacki earned his 100th career victory with a 13-4 win over conference rival Endicott. The Golden Bears later defeated the Gulls again to clinch back-to-back CCC championships.
Western New England earned a bye in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Championship, then beat No. 12 Tufts, 12-9, in the second round after losing to the Jumbos, 15-4, during the regular season. The Golden Bears advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year, but lost at eventual national champion SUNY Cortland, 6-5.
Klepacki's team finished ninth nationally in the final USILA Division III rankings.
In 2008, Klepacki led his squad to a 15-5 record, which included an 8-1 mark for second place in the conference. The Golden Bears captured the CCC tournament crown in its first season in the league with a 12-10 victory over Endicott.
Western New England again advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Championship following wins over Western Connecticut (14-4) and St. Lawrence (13-9). Another great season came to an end when Ithaca stopped the Golden Bears, 13-12, in overtime.
Western New England finished 15th nationally in the final USILA Division III poll.
Klepacki guided the Golden Bears to a 17-1 record (which was a school record for wins) in 2007 and a perfect 8-0 mark for first place in the Pilgrim League.
His squad was second nationally among 130 schools in winning percentage (.944), fourth in scoring defense (5.78), and sixth in scoring margin (7.39).
Western New England captured the Pilgrim League tournament title for the first time since 2002 with victories over Lasell (20-5) and city rival Springfield (8-6).
The Golden Bears earned a bye in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Championship, then defeated Keene State (13-5) before 1,235 fans at Golden Bear Stadium in the first NCAA contest ever played on campus.
Western New England's sensational season came to an end when defending national champion SUNY Cortland held on for a 12-10 victory in a quarterfinal round contest (also held at Golden Bear Stadium) that featured a weather delay of more than three hours.
WNE was ranked third in the final USILA Division III poll, the highest ranking ever by any team in school history.
Klepacki was voted the USILA Division III Coach-of-the-Year, becoming the first coach in Western New England College history to receive a National Coach-of-the-Year award. He also received similar awards from both the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) and Pilgrim League.
In 2006, Klepacki led Western New England to a 14-3 record, which tied the then-school record for wins in a season set the two previous seasons. The Golden Bears placed second in the Pilgrim League Tournament for the fourth consecutive year.
Western New England posted a 14-6 record in 2005 and repeated as ECAC Division III New England Tournament champions.
Klepacki directed his team to a 14-7 record in 2004 that was a school record for wins, breaking the old mark of 12 set in his rookie campaign two years earlier.
The Golden Bears captured the program's first post-season tournament, the ECAC Division III New England Championship, placed first in the West Division of the Pilgrim League, and finished second in the Pilgrim League Tournament.
For his efforts, Klepacki was voted the 2004 Pilgrim League Co-Coach-of-the-Year.
In 2003, Western New England started slow dropping four of its first five contests, but finished strong in posting an 8-9 record against strong competition. The Golden Bears placed first in the Pilgrim League West Division with a 5-1 mark and came in second in the Pilgrim League Tournament.
Klepacki enjoyed a spectacular rookie season in 2002 directing his team to a 12-5 record, which at the time was the second-highest win total in school history. The Golden Bears also posted a 6-0 mark for first place in the Pilgrim League West Division. WNE went on to capture the Pilgrim League Tournament with a thrilling 17-16 victory over his alma mater, Springfield College, which earned the Blue and Gold a trip to its first NCAA Division III Championship.
Klepacki's squad almost pulled off the upset of the year at the national tournament dropping a heartbreaking 16-15 overtime decision at ninth-ranked Ithaca College in one of the team's finest performances ever. Klepacki was named the 2002 Pilgrim League Coach-of-the-Year.
Before joining the Western New England staff, Klepacki served as a men's assistant lacrosse coach at Springfield College in 2000 and 2001.
The Pride enjoyed the best season in school history in 2001 with a 16-2 record, which included a road win over NCAA Division III Tournament champion Middlebury College. Springfield also captured its second straight Pilgrim League title and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Klepacki earned a Bachelor of Science in Movement of Sports Studies at Springfield College in 1996 and a Master of Education from Springfield in 2002. He was a four-year starter at defense for the Pride and team captain his senior year. Klepacki was a member of the SC team that won the NCAA Division II Championship title in 1994 while finishing second in 1995.
Klepacki also served as an assistant football coach at Springfield in 2000 when the Pride set a school record with 11 wins against only two losses while winning the Freedom Football Conference and advancing to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Klepacki was a men's assistant lacrosse coach at the SUNY Oneonta from 1997-99.
Klepacki is a 1991 graduate of Southington High School where he was captain of the boys' lacrosse team, team MVP, and an all-state selection. He also was an all-conference football performer.
Klepacki's wife Aimee Klepacki is the highly-successful women's lacrosse coach at Western New England.
The John Klepacki Coaching Record (18 seasons)
|2002||12||5||.706||6-0/1st (PL-W)||Sweep conf. titles, NCAA tourney in rookie season|
|2003||8||9||.471||5-1/1st (PL-W)||Pilgrim League Tournament runner-up|
|2004||14||7||.667||5-1/1st (PL-W)||WNE wins 1st postseason title (ECAC New England)|
|2005||14||6||.700||7-1/1st (PL-W)||ECAC New England champions|
|2006||14||3||.824||8-0/1st||PL tournament runner-up|
|2007||17||1||.944||8-0/1st||Sweep conf. titles, NCAA Quarterfinals|
|2008||15||5||.750||8-1/2nd||CCC champions (league debut), NCAA Quarterfinals|
|2009||17||3||.850||9-0/1st||NCAA Quarterfinals, sweep conference titles|
|2011||16||5||.762||9-0/1st||ECAC New England champions|
|2012||13||5||.722||7-0/1st||NCAA 2nd Rd., sweep CCC titles, 4 All-Americans|
|2013||13||7||.650||7-1/T-1st||NCAA Elite 8, CCC champions, 3 All-Americans|
|2014||10||8||.556||7-1/2nd||NCAA Tournament, CCC champions|
|2015||14||6||.700||7-1/2nd||ECAC Division III champions, 12 All-CCC picks|
|2016||15||4||.789||8-0/1st||CCC/ECAC New England Coach of the Year, CCC Champions, NCAA First Round, 13 All-CCC selections, 4 USILA All-Americans|
|2017||8||10||.444||7-1/2nd||10 All-CCC selections, 2 USILA All-Americans|
|2018||13||7||.650||8-0/1st||CCC Champions, 12 All-CCC selections, 3 USILA All-Americans|
|2019||14||6||.700||8-0/1st||CCC Champions, 12 All-CCC selections, 5 USILA All-Americans, CCC Coach of the Year|
|Totals||239||103||.699||133-9 (.937)||27 conf. titles (regular season & tournament), 10 NCAA berths, 40 All-Americans