Dan Annino was hired earlier this month to be the head coach of the Bates College men’s lacrosse program. Annino, who played at Amherst, previously was an assistant coach for NCAA Division I Johns Hopkins. Submitted photo

LEWISTON — For the first time in 22 years, the Bates College men’s lacrosse program will have a new head coach. 

Dan Annino, who most recently was an assistant coach at NCAA Division I powerhouse Johns Hopkins, will try to bring the Bobcats back to the top of the NESCAC. 

After reaching the Division III Sweet Sixteen in 2015 and the quarterfinals in 2017, Bates has gone 1-14 in conference play over the past three seasons.

Annino was hired earlier this month to replace Peter Lasagna, who announced his retirement in May. Lasagna led the Bobcats to 134 wins and established a program that Annino intends to build upon.

“I competed against and coached against that ascendant (2015-2017) Bates team,” Annino, who played and coached at Amherst College, said. “I know that this program can compete for NESCAC titles and national titles. It has been done, and that blueprint is there.”

Bates assistant athletic director Celine Cunningham said that prominence in the NESCAC is, essentially, national prominence.


“If you’re in the mix in the NESCAC at the top, you’re in the mix in the national contenders,” Cunningham said. “It’s a really highly competitive conference. We would love to be in that place (at the top of the conference), we think we have the talent to be in that place.” 

New Bates College men’s lacrosse coach Dan Annino. Submitted photo

Annino agrees that the Bobcats already have good players.

“They’re a better team than their record has reflected,” Annino said. “There’s talent on the roster that’s going to be able to compete.” 


Annino goals as a coach go beyond the field, and beyond the athletes’ time at Bates.

“Big picture, what I view as the role of athletics in higher education is leadership development,” Annino said. “Team sports, in particular, play such a pivotal role in developing leaders and developing individuals who can face failure constantly.” 


Cunningham, along with athletic director Jason Fein, like the experiences that Annino brings to Bates, as a coach at the Division I coach and a player and a coach at the Division III level.

“He’s a student of the game. He loves the sport,” Cunningham said. “He’s had a lot of experience in the NESCAC … and he’s competed and coached at a high level.” 

Part of what brought Annino back to the NESCAC and to the Division III after a couple of seasons in Division I — was his desire to help build well-rounded individuals, not just successful lacrosse players. 

“The opportunity to be more than just a lacrosse player, to be able to focus on more than just the results on the field,” Annino said. “The opportunity to work with some of the most talented, brightest, most multi-faceted students and student-athletes in the world at a place like Bates, I think it was such a special opportunity to make an impact and start developing young men at a deeper level than the full-time lacrosse player model of the Division I world.” 

The Amherst alum has a vision for the Bobcats beyond simply winning games, and he’ll try to create that culture from day one.

“Our focus is on developing guys that are going to push their teammates and be positive influences on them,” Annino said. “And learning how to do that, how to communicate and recognize how to motivate and how to inspire and how to lead (is our focus).”  


We want to have guys,” Annino added, “who matriculate through our program and go out into the world with an incredible Bates education, ready to change the world and have the skillset to be a positive, impactful servant and leader.”


Annino said that he learned a lot while serving as an assistant to Johns Hopkins head coach Peter Milliman.

“This past year, we played the strongest strength of schedule in the country. We were competing against the best teams and the best players in the world,” Annino said. “Us, as coaches, we are going up against some of the very best coaches in the world as well. So, it was an opportunity to kind of refine my abilities as a coach and as a leader and as a tactician, because you are getting challenged week in and week out.”

Annino was a defenseman at Amherst from 2013-2016 and has spent most of his coaching career as a defensive coordinator. 

That experience, though, has helped him understand offense as well. 

“One of the benefits of all of my experience on the defensive end is that you’re constantly watching great offenses, and constantly feeling where your defensive systems are challenged by those offenses, and building up a database of, ‘Hey, this thing is pretty tough to defend,’” Annino said. 

As a first-time head coach, Annino said it will be important to have a strong coaching staff around him.  

“Certainly a priority for me right now, in the early stages of leading this program, is definitely to put together an exceptional coaching staff, and I think we’re going to be able to do that,” Annino said. 

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