One of the most respected and decorated head coaches in the college lacrosse profession, Jack Emmer is in the midst of his second decade on Army's sideline as its men's lacrosse head coach. Last season saw Emmer lead his charges into the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year, and the year before saw the venerable mentor surpass the 300-win plateau and become the NCAA's all-time wins leader at the Division I level. In addition, the veteran head coach was recognized by his peers in being named the Howdy Meyers "Man of the Year" in 2003.
Emmer embarks on his 22nd year of coaching along the banks of the Hudson as the longest tenured head coach currently at the Academy and the winningest active mentor in college lacrosse.
In 35 seasons, Emmer has compiled a 315-179 mark, including a record of 175-126 in 21 years with the Black Knights.
Emmer's coaching success has not gone unnoticed. The Black Knights' peerless leader led Team USA to a gold medal and world championship title at the 2002 International Lacrosse Federation World Championships in Perth, Australia. Emmer led his charges to a perfect 6-0 record in the tournament, including two victories over heavily favored Canada.
Seven of Emmer's 21 Army teams have reached the NCAAs, the most postseason appearances by any head coach in Army history. The 1993 squad posted an Academy-record 12 wins before losing to North Carolina in the NCAA quarterfinals. In 1996, the Black Knights put together their fourth 10-win season in six years, while presenting Emmer with his 13th career NCAA appearance. Last spring, Emmer led the Black Knights back to postseason play. It was Army's 14th NCAA Tournament appearance and Emmer's 15th in his 35-year career.
The master innovator won the first five Patriot League titles, racking up a perfect 5-0 league mark each season from 1991-1995. The Black Knights authored a string of 25 consecutive conference victories under Emmer's tutelage in that time -- a Patriot League record that still stands today.
The Mineola, N.Y., native guided Army to a share of the Patriot League title as recently as 2003, marking the 10th time in the league's 13 seasons that the Black Knights have either won or shared the crown. A 10-9 victory at home over Bucknell served as the tie-breaker, giving Army the league's automatic bid to the tournament that season.
When Army defeated Cornell in the 1996 opener, Emmer became just the second coach in West Point history -- behind Hall of Famer F. Morris Touchstone -- to reach 100 wins. Only the legendary Touchstone has more coaching victories (219) at West Point than Emmer.
The three-time national "Coach of the Year" first arrived at West Point in the summer of 1983, taking over head coaching duties from Hall of Fame mentor, Dick Edell, who moved on to the University of Maryland. Emmer guided the 1984 Black Knights to the semifinals, becoming the first head coach to ever lead three different schools to the NCAA final four. Only Tony Seaman (Penn, Johns Hopkins, Towson) has since equaled that mark. His 22 years at West Point is one of the longest coaching careers in Academy history among the school's 25 athletic programs, placing him eighth on the all-time list of coaching longevity.
Emmer began his coaching career at SUNY Cortland in 1970, building the Red Dragons into a national power in three short years. His Cortland teams won 32 of 38 games and secured two Division I playoff berths during his tenure. The Red Dragons were 14-2 in 1972, advancing to the NCAA semifinals. After the 1972 season, Emmer earned college division "Coach of the Year" honors.
He left Cortland State after the 1972 season to become head coach at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va. The Generals enjoyed immediate success under Emmer, going 14-1 in 1973 and earning the No. 4 spot in the final Division I USILA rankings while advancing to the semifinals.
At season's end, Emmer was awarded his second-straight Babe Kraus Memorial Award as the nation's outstanding college division head coach. That marked the only time that a coach received such an honor two consecutive years but with different teams.
Washington & Lee carved out a 15-1 slate one year later. The Generals finished as the nation's No. 3 team and made it to the NCAA semifinals once again. Emmer earned his third straight "Coach of the Year" honor, this time on the university level.
Emmer remained at Washington & Lee for 11 seasons, guiding the Generals to a 108-47 composite mark. Seven of his teams qualified for the NCAA tournament, including his first six squads. Additionally, seven of his W&L clubs finished in the nation's top 10.
Emmer has served as head coach in two North-South all-star games, guiding the South in 1976 and the North in 1992. In 1972, he was an assistant coach for the North team prior to being named an assistant coach of the United States team that won the World Games held in Australia in 1974. He has also led his charges to the NCAA semifinals on four separate occasions -- once while at Cortland, twice with Washington & Lee and once again at Army. In 1989, Emmer was inducted into the Long Island Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
A 1967 graduate of Rutgers University, Emmer displayed his outstanding athletic prowess in both lacrosse and football. He earned team MVP honors in lacrosse, serving as co-captain his senior year. Emmer was also named a second team All-America defenseman that season. Along with those honors, he was also selected to represent the Scarlet Knights in the North-South game.
In the fall of 1992, he was inducted into Rutgers' Football Hall of Fame. A wide receiver and defensive back in football, Emmer set school receiving records on the game, season and career levels. He still holds the Rutgers record for receiving yardage in a game (237 vs. Holy Cross) and his 13 catches in that contest are tied for the most receptions in a single game at Rutgers.
A co-captain his senior year, Emmer earned All-East honors from both the Associated Press and United Press International and was selected the team's MVP. The New York Jets chose him in the 1967 American Football League draft.
Emmer is a past president of the United States Lacrosse Coaches Association and has also served as chairman of the USILA Rules Committee from 1975 to 1993. He is a member of the Hudson Valley Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
In the fall of 2003, Emmer accepted a position on the NCAA Rules Committee, beginning his second tour of duty on the board examining the rules and regulations of college lacrosse.
In 2001, Emmer received his third citation from the Lacrosse Hall of Fame when he was inducted into the Virginia chapter for his work at Washington & Lee. Emmer was also inducted into Washington & Lee's athletic Hall of Fame last fall, running his total of Hall of Fame memberships to five.
Several of Emmer's former players and assistants have gone on to very successful head coaching careers in both college and the high school ranks, including Duke's Mike Pressler, who will bring his Blue Devils to West Point for the second time in as many years this coming April. Other prominent former protege's include Georgetown's Dave Urick and Princeton's Bill Tierney.
Emmer has coached seven Hall of Famers and 89 All-Americans. Black Knights' senior co-captain in 2004, Jeff Bryan, is the latest All-American to dot Emmer's roster, along with junior attackman John Walker. Bryan's and Walker's nominations mark the fifth consecutive year that Emmer and his staff have produced an All-American along the banks of the Hudson.
The future Hall of Famer has coached the Patriot League's "Offensive Player of the Year" five times, including three in the past four years, and the "Defensive Player of the Year" twice. Seven Black Knights have been honored as the "Rookie of the Year," including Walker. An Army player has won at least one of the Patriot League's major postseason awards in seven of the past eight years.
Jack and his wife, Joan, reside at West Point. They have two children: daughter Meghan, 25, and son Patrick, 13.