Turning programs around has become a career pattern for Rick Sowell.
In five seasons as the coach at Dartmouth, Sowell guided that program to its first and only Ivy League championship and a berth in the NCAA tournament in 2003. He restarted lacrosse at St. John’s after a 10-year hiatus, going 6-20 in two seasons.
But Sowell’s greatest accomplishment to date was his work at Stony Brook, where he compiled a 47-26 record in five years, back-to-back America East regular-season crowns, and a spot in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals in 2010.
Now Sowell is tasked with reviving a Navy program that failed to qualify for the Patriot League tournament for the first time in school history and hasn’t qualified for the NCAA tournament since 2009.
Sowell was asked Wednesday during a conference call organized by the Patriots League about his track record for revitalizing teams.
“It’s been a different feel, but to be honest with you, I’m taking over a program that hasn’t had success in the last couple years. From that standpoint, it’s similar to programs I’ve taken over throughout my career,” he said. “The difference is, unlike the other programs I’ve taken over, this program has a ton of tradition. You’re talking over 100 years. So because of that, there’s a lot of expectations and to be honest with you, I’m excited about that. To me, that was part of the lure of wanting to be here, and that is to take over a program. Some of these other places, even though they wanted to win, I was creating the tradition, if you will. … But here, winning a Patriot League championship – if we get to that point someday – that’s going to be good, but they want more. I have no problem with that. I knew what I was getting myself into when I came here with expectations, and again, I’m excited about that. I think it’s been an awesome experience just being around this environment.”