CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Gerry Byrne has been named The Frisbie Family Head Coach for Harvard Men's Lacrosse, Bob Scalise, The John D. Nichols '53 Family Director of Athletics, announced this morning. Byrne becomes the 18th head coach in program history.
"I am thrilled to announce the hiring of Gerry Byrne as our new head coach of men's lacrosse," Scalise said. "Gerry is an outstanding coach and educator who will bring a wealth of lacrosse knowledge and experience to Cambridge. We look forward to welcoming him and his family to Harvard."
"I would like to thank Director of Athletics Bob Scalise for extending the opportunity to become the next head coach at Harvard," Byrne said. "We look forward to building a strong program that will enable our team to compete for Ivy League championships and beyond. I am energized to get to know our returning and incoming players, and to begin assembling a staff who will help us spread the word that the future is bright for Harvard Lacrosse."
Byrne comes to Cambridge from Notre Dame where he was an assistant coach for 16 seasons, covering two stints. His first stop in South Bend, Indiana, was from 1989-91, before returning in 2007. In between, Byrne served as head coach at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, from 2003-06.
Byrne helped the Fighting Irish to 14 NCAA tournament appearances (including 13 straight), 11 conference titles (regular season and tournament), and an overall record of 170-78 (.685). More impressive was the impact Notre Dame, which earned one of eight national seeds in 11 of the last 12 years, had once in the NCAA field as it reached the quarterfinal round or later on 10 different occasions, twice earning a spot in the finals (2010, 2014).
Over the last 13 seasons, Byrne helped tutor 62 United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) All-Americans, with 15 of those selections earning first-team honors, and 13 USILA Scholar All-Americans. During Byrne's tenure, Notre Dame was also awarded the USILA Kelly Award (most outstanding goalie in NCAA Division I) twice and the USILA Schmeisser Award (top defensive player) three times.
Byrne's work did not go unnoticed as he was named the 2011 Intercollegiate Men's Lacrosse Coaches Association National Assistant Coach of the Year and was on the top coaching staff at the conference level three times, winning the coaching-staff-of-the-year award in the Great Western Lacrosse League twice (2007, 2009) and once in the Big EAST (2012).
Under Byrne's watch, Notre Dame was one of the top defensive teams in the country. The Fighting Irish finished among the top five nationally in scoring defense seven times in the last 13 seasons, producing the nation's stingiest group in 2009 and 2012. The 2012 club also boasted the best man-down defense in Division I. No slouch this past season, Notre Dame finished the 2019 campaign ranked 14th in scoring defense and ninth in clearing percentage.
Additionally, Byrne helped the Fighting Irish hold its opponents to seven goals or fewer in 50.2 percent of their games (103-of-205) since the start of the 2007 campaign and limited its foes to four goals or less on 19 occasions.
While at Saint Anselm College, Byrne guided the Hawks to 16 victories with the 2005 squad setting the program record for lowest GAA and ground balls in a season. That team also broke the school record for face-off winning percentage, a mark that still stands today.
Byrne played lacrosse collegiately at UMass Amherst, graduating cum laude in 1986, with a degree in economics. A two-year starter and an All-New England defenseman as a senior, Byrne helped the Minutemen to the 1986 NCAA quarterfinals.
From Amherst, Byrne went on to enjoy a successful playing career. He was a four-time All-United States Club Lacrosse Association member and invited to the U.S. National Team tryouts three times (1989, 1997, 2001). Byrne, who earned his master's degree from Notre Dame, also collected All-Lake Placid Classic honors 11 times and was a nine-time All-Vail Shootout performer.
In 1991, he was drafted by the New York Saints of the National Lacrosse League (NLL) and played for the franchise in 1992. Byrne was later selected by the Rochester Knighthawks of the NLL and helped them to the 1997 championship. Three years later, Byrne came out of retirement after the Boston Cannons drafted him and ultimately led the team to consecutive MLL Final Four appearances.
Byrne in 1999 was inducted into the New England Chapter of the United States Lacrosse Hall of Fame and was named the 2001 New Hampshire High School Coach of the Year while directing Souhegan High School.
Outside of lacrosse, Byrne made his presence felt in other aspects of athletics, serving as managing director at Kiltegan Marketing Group, which is an integrated sports marketing services company. He was also the director of marketing at Cybex International and Brine, a major manufacturer of lacrosse equipment. He additionally owns the Premier Players Lacrosse Camps and founded the Texas Top-99.
A native of Levittown, New York, Byrne was an All-Long Island Catholic League lacrosse player at Chaminade High. He is married to Dr. Tracy Byrne and the couple has three children, Rory, Pierre and Brandon.