A four-time Northeast Conference Coach of the Year, Taylor Wray wrapped up his seventh season as head coach for the Saint Joseph's men's lacrosse team in Spring 2018. Wray was named the head men's lacrosse coach at Saint Joseph's University on August 1, 2011, becoming the fourth coach in the program's history.
The winningest coach in Saint Joseph's men's lacrosse program history, Wray owns a seven-year record of 61-47 and has produced four 11-win seasons over the last five years. Currently 25-5 in five NEC regular seasons, including a blistering 17-1 record from 2014-16, Wray has coached three NEC Offensive Player of the Year selections, the 2016 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, the 2015 Rookie of the Year, and 43 All-Conference selections in addition to three NEC Scholar-Athletes of the Year and 34 NEC Honor Roll honorees.
Under Wray’s direction, the Hawks have reached the NEC postseason four times in the last five years and have reached the title game three times, in 2015, 2016, and 2018. Saint Joseph’s went 11-4 In 2018.
After starting the 2018 season 0-3, Wray turned the season around with a program-record 11-game winning streak that spanned from March 10 through May 3 en route to an overall record of 11-4. The Hawks went 6-0 in NEC regular-season action to earn the program’s fourth NEC regular-season title and became the first team to defeat a pair of ranked opponents in the same season, with victories over then-#20/20 Penn and then-#18/20 Robert Morris. Those late-season wins in combination with SJU’s 11 straight victories led to the program’s first ever national ranking, as the Hawks were ranked 20th by both the Inside Lacrosse Maverik Lacrosse Division I Media Poll and United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Division I Coaches Poll on April 30.
Under Wray’s direction, the Hawks ranked fourth in the nation in scoring defense (8.00 goals per game), seventh in man-down defense (.766), and eighth in winning percentage (.733) and ranked in the top 15 in clearing percentage, saves per game, scoring margin, and shot percentage.
Saint Joseph's went 5-9 in 2017 and 2-4 in NEC action.
In 2016, Wray led Saint Joseph's to a 12-win season, matching the highest single-season win total in program history. Under Wray's direction, the Hawks ranked second in the nation in both scoring margin (4.44 goals per game) and shot percentage (36.1%) and ranked in the top 15 in scoring defense, winning percentage, face-off winning percentage, clearing percentage, points per game, man-down defense, assists per game, and scoring offense; the Crimson and Gray also set a new record for lowest single-season goals-against average in program history (7.83).
In their third season in the NEC, Wray coached the Hawks to a 5-1 league record to earn a share of the NEC regular-season title and to earn the right to host the NEC Tournament as the top seed for the third consecutive year. Wray led the Hawks to their second NEC title game in as many years as the program earned its second postseason win since 2007.
Wray was voted the 2016 NEC Coach of the Year and coached seven Hawks to All-Conference honors, including the NEC Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year, Mike Rastivo, and Defensive Player of the Year, T.J. Jones. Additionally, the Hawks saw history made as Rastivo earned USILA/Nike All-American Honorable Mention accolades, marking the first All-American recognition in program history.
On the cusp of breaking into the Top 20 all season, Saint Joseph's received votes in the national polls on six different occasions in 2016.
In 2015, Wray led Saint Joseph's to an 11-win season, matching the second-highest single-season win total in program history. Under Wray's direction, the Hawks led the nation in man-down defense (.800) for the second consecutive year and ranked in the top 15 in scoring defense, caused turnovers per game, clearing percentage, man-up offense, scoring margin, and winning percentage. For the second consecutive year, the Hawks went undefeated in the month of April and owned a two-year record of 11-0 during games played in April between the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
In their second season in the NEC, Wray coached the Hawks to another undefeated 6-0 league record to clinch the NEC regular-season title and earn the right to host the NEC Tournament as the top seed. The Hawks concluded the NEC regular season undefeated for the second consecutive year and earned its first postseason win since 2007.
Wray was voted the 2015 NEC Coach of the Year and coached nine Hawks to All-Conference honors, including the NEC Offensive Player of the Year, Rastivo, and Rookie of the Year, Chris Blewitt.
In 2014, one of the most historic seasons in SJU men's lacrosse history, Wray led Saint Joseph's to an 11-4 overall record as the program more than doubled its winning percentage from 2013 (.313) to 2014 (.733); at the time, those numbers of wins and winning percentage were second-best only to the 2000 team in program history. Inside Lacrosse magazine tagged SJU as the national leader of Most Improved Offenses with a 10.4 percentage improvement rating from 2013 to 2014 while LaxPower's computer rankings saw Saint Joseph's atop the charts in changes in record, power ratings, and PR rank. Under Wray's direction, the Hawks led the nation in man-down defense (.793), ranked in the top ten in scoring defense, scoring margin, and winning percentage, and set a then-new record for lowest goals-against average in program history (8.15).
Wray coached the Hawks to a 5-1 regular-season home record and 6-2 regular-season road record. Those respective .833 and .750 winning percentages marked the best percentages in program history at the time. The Hawks went 5-0 throughout the month of April to become the only team in program history to win every game in April and owned two five-game winning streaks throughout the season, never losing back-to-back games at any point.
In their inaugural season in the NEC, Wray coached the Hawks to a 6-0 league record to clinch the NEC regular-season title and earn the right to host the NEC Tournament as the top seed. One of those NEC victories came in the form of a 9-7 win over #12/11 Bryant as Wray led the Saint Joseph's men's lacrosse program to its first ever win over a nationally ranked opponent. Under Wray's direction, SJU also scored a season-high 21 goals – the most goals scored by SJU in a single game since 2000 – in a victory over Sacred Heart and downed Hobart on the road in the regular-season finale to set a new program record for consecutive road wins in a single season with six.
Wray was voted the 2014 NEC Coach of the Year and coached 11 Hawks to All-Conference honors, including the NEC Offensive Player of the Year, Ryan McGee.
With 11 overall wins in 2014, SJU matched its total amount of wins from Wray's first two seasons combined. As a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, Wray and his staff led the 2013 squad to a five-win season and its second victory against a conference opponent and the 2012 squad to a six-win season and its first victory against a conference opponent as a member of the CAA.
Entering a 2012 program that saw just nine wins in the previous three seasons combined, Wray led a 2012 Hawks team that tied for eighth in the country in overall improvement, led the nation in win percentage increase and tied for fourth in the nation in biggest jump in total number of wins with six overall victories.
Wray began his coaching career at Saint Joseph's after serving as an assistant coach at Lehigh University from 2008-11. Wray possesses a wealth of high-level playing and coaching experience, having played on the collegiate level at Duke University and professionally in the National Lacrosse League.
"We are thrilled and honored to have Taylor join the Saint Joseph's athletic community," said then-director of athletics Don DiJulia. "He has achieved great things as both a player and a coach. His passion, leadership and vision will advance the Saint Joseph's lacrosse program."
"I can't thank Don Dijulia and the search committee enough for giving me the opportunity to be the next head coach of the Saint Joseph's men's lacrosse team," Wray said. "It is an honor and a privilege to lead this program and I am excited to get started. I know we have a tremendous amount of hard work in front of us, but I am confident we can rebuild a winning tradition. This is an exciting time for me and my wife as we are thrilled to be joining the Hawks' lacrosse family, and we can't wait to get to know the team, parents and alumni."
Wray joined the Lehigh staff in September 2007 and served as the defensive coach and recruiting coordinator. The Mountain Hawks made great strides during his tenure and, in 2011, registered the nation's eighth biggest improvement according to LaxPower's computer ratings. Lehigh qualified for the Patriot League Tournament for the first time since 2006, while the defense lowered its goals against average by almost one goal.
"It has been an honor to have my good friend Taylor Wray on staff here at Lehigh for the last four years," said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. "He has been a key component to the overall growth of the program and I have no doubt that he will make a terrific head coach at the Division I level. I wish him all the best as he gets set to take over the lacrosse program at Saint Joseph's University."
From 2003-06, Wray was an assistant coach at Queens University of Charlotte (N.C.) before serving as the lacrosse coach, academic coordinator, and strength and conditioning specialist at the National Sport Academy for one year in 2007.
Wray enjoyed a successful playing career at Duke, helping the Blue Devils to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and winning ACC Tournament titles in 2001 and 2002. Serving as the team captain in 2003, he earned the Eric Tyler Hardy Defensive Player of the Year award and was a four-time selection to the ACC Academic Honor Roll.
"For the people who know Taylor like I do, it is understood that he is going to be a star in this profession," said Mike Pressler, Wray's coach at Duke and the current head coach at Bryant University. "In my 29 years of college coaching, I've never come across a better leader. He is a young man of impeccable character and high moral fiber and just one of the true gentlemen in our game today. It's going to be very exciting for me to follow Taylor's coaching career from afar as he very quickly takes the Saint Joseph's program to the next level, as we know he will."
Upon graduating from Duke in 2003 with a bachelor's of science degree, he was drafted second overall by the Calgary Roughnecks of the National Lacrosse League. He made an immediate impact, being named the 2004 Rookie of the Year, the Defensive Player of the Year and a First Team All-Star while helping Calgary to the NLL Championship. A three-time NLL All-Star, Wray played for the Philadelphia Wings from 2008-11 and served as the team captain in 2011.
A native of Edmonton, Alberta, Wray has also excelled internationally. He is currently the defensive coordinator of the Canadian National Team that will compete at the 2018 FIL Men's Lacrosse World Championship this summer ('18). Wray also served as Team Canada's defensive coordinator at the 2010 (silver medal) and 2014 (gold medal) men's world championships and served as the head coach for the 2012 and 2016 U-19 men's field teams; Wray led Team Canada's U-19 squad to a second-place finish in 2016 and to a 14-13 overtime victory over Team USA in the Champion's Challenge in January 2016.
As a player, he was a member of the National Team that captured the International Lacrosse Federation World Championship for field lacrosse in 2006 and for indoor lacrosse in 2007. He was named to the All-World Team in 2007.
Wray received a master's degree in teaching from Queens University in 2006. His wife, Lauren (nee Gallagher), was an All-American lacrosse player at Duke. They have two sons, Jackson and Ryan, and a daughter, Mackenzie.
Wray's Saint Joseph's Year-By-Year Record:
|2012||6-9||.400||1-5||.167||CAA - 7th||None|
|2013||5-11||.313||1-5||.167||CAA - 7th||None|
|2014||11-4||.733||6-0||1.000||NEC - 1st||NEC Tourn.|
|2015||11-6||.647||6-0||1.000||NEC - 1st||NEC Runner-Up|
|2016||12-4||.750||5-1||.833||NEC - T-1st||NEC Runner-Up|
|2017||5-9||.357||2-4||.333||NEC - 5th||None|
|2018||11-4||.733||6-0||1.000||NEC - 1st||NEC Runner-Up|
|TOTAL||61-47||.565||CAA - 2-10||.167|
|NEC - 25-5||.833|