Cornell University has dismissed Ben DeLuca as head coach of its nationally prominent varsity lacrosse program, in the wake of a late-summer hazing incident that saw the team suspended in September. Cornell athletics director Andy Noel said in a statement, "This was a difficult decision, but our students are our first priority and there is no doubt now that new leadership is required."
DeLuca was in his fourth year as head coach, taking Big Red lacrosse to the NCAA tournament two of his three seasons. Cornell advanced to the national quarterfinals in 2011, and the semifinals in 2013.
Noel announced the team's suspension in September, following a team hazing incident in which it was alleged that upperclass team members forced under-age freshman players to consume large quantities of beer, to the point that some vomited. The team's suspension included the cancellation of fall competitions, including scheduled charity exhibition games. The team's regular season doesn't begin until February.
Matt Kerwick, an assistant coach for the 2013 campaign and a former head coach at Hobart and Jacksonville, will serve as interim head coach while Cornell conducts a search for DeLuca's replacement.