MONTCLAIR, N.J. — Montclair State has announced the hiring of Chris Kivlen as head men’s lacrosse coach. Kivlen becomes the eighth head coach in the history of the program.
Kivlen takes over the Red Hawk program after spending the last six seasons as an assistant coach at Albany, where he earned four letters and helped turn the Great Danes into a perennial contender in the America East Conference as well as a fixture in the USILA Top 20 poll. In the last six years, the Great Danes posted 18 wins against Top 20 opponents, including a victory against No. 5 Massachusetts in 2011.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be named the head men’s lacrosse coach at Montclair State University,” said Kivlen. “I look forward to the challenge of continuing to compete for Skyline Conference championships and advancing the NCAA tournament. I have followed and respect the success of the men’s lacrosse program at Montclair State. I would like to thank coaches (John) Greco and (Adam) Torrisi for building a strong lacrosse tradition at Montclair State.”
During his tenure with the Great Danes, Kivlen coached 25 America East All-Conference selections, including 10 First-Team selections and 14 All-Rookie Team picks. Working with the defensive unit, Kivlen also turned UAlbany into one of the toughest to score against. UAlbany ranked 11th nationally in scoring defense at 7.69 goals per game in the 2008 campaign as 11 opponents were held to less than 10 goals. In 2010, the Great Danes’ man-down defense unit ranked fourth in the nation.
“We look forward to welcoming Coach Kivlen to campus,” said Director of Athletics Holly Gera. “He will bring excellent playing and coaching experience to our program, which has a strong foundation to build upon. He will be a great addition to our staff.”
A standout defenseman, Kivlen was part of three conference championship teams, including the 2005 squad that made its third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. A team-captain and starter in all 16 games that season, he had 19 ground balls and one assist.
Kivlen earned his degree in communications with a minor in business administration in May 2005 and did not stray far from the Albany campus becoming an assistant under head coach Scott Marr.
In his first season on the sidelines, Kivlen helped UAlbany reach the America East Championship Game as the Great Danes were ranked in the Top 20 of the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Division I poll. UAlbany opened that season with a narrow two-goal loss to defending national champion Johns Hopkins and a one-goal defeat to ninth-ranked Syracuse that season while posting a victory over No. 7 Massachusetts.
The following season, the Great Danes enjoyed their finest season in program history. UAlbany won its first 11 contests, including wins over four-ranked teams, including sixth-ranked Johns Hopkins in the season opener. Albany reached the No. 2 spot in the USILA national poll and remained there for seven consecutive weeks. The Great Danes would capture their fourth America East title in five years edging UMBC, 15-14 to reach the NCAA Tournament. UAlbany knocked off Loyola in the first round before falling to eventual national runner-up Cornell in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.
“I would like to thank Athletic Director Holly Gera, Associate Athletic Director Rob Chesney, and Vice President Dr. Karen Pennington for giving me this opportunity,” added Kivlen. “I also want to thank my head coach at UAlbany Scott Marr and Athletic Director Dr. Lee McElroy for the opportunity to be an assistant for the past six years, their guidance has been invaluable.”
A native of Huntington Station, NY, Kivlen, who received all-league recognition on the scholastic level at Walt Whitman High, has been the director of the Top Dog Lacrosse camp for several years and was the head coach of the Top Dog Lacrosse summer team. He also worked in partnership with the local US Lacrosse chapter creating clinics to further develop youth lacrosse in the Albany area.