NOTRE DAME, Ind. – University of Notre Dame Baumer Family Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach Kevin Corrigan recently announced the hiring of Ryan Wellner as an assistant coach. Wellner will serve as the defensive coordinator and director of recruiting for the Irish.
“I’m so excited to work with Ryan,” said Corrigan. “He is a proven coach and a great recruiter and most importantly a great person. He and his family will be a terrific fit with Notre Dame.”
Wellner joins the Notre Dame staff after a successful eight-year stint at the Naval Academy. He spent the last three seasons as the associate head coach after five years of being an assistant. Wellner is widely regarded as one of the top defensive coaches in the sport and he also served as the Midshipmen’s recruiting coordinator.
Under Wellner’s direction, Navy’s defensive unit held opponents to an average under nine goals per game in four seasons. In 2019, Navy featured one of the best riding units in the country, ranking fourth in opponent clearing percentage (.737).
Individually, the Midshipmen earned defensive or faceoff All-America honors during Wellner’s tenure and saw defenseman Chris Fennell graduate as the first player in conference history to be named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year three times (2015, 2016, 2017). In the eight years of Wellner’s stay at Navy, the program picked up 21 All-Patriot League citations by defensive players or faceoff specialists.
During the 2018 season the Mids recorded the nation’s 15th-best scoring defense, holding their opponents 8.93 goals per game. Wellner saw faceoff specialist Joe Varello become the first Navy player to be named the Patriot League Faceoff Specialist of the Year after posting a 58.6 winning percentage (58.6), the nation’s 17th best.
Navy closed out the 2017 season ranked No. 22 nationally in scoring defense, allowing 9.57 goals per game. Another one of Wellner’s pupils who enjoyed an outstanding senior campaign was faceoff specialist Brady Dove, as he ranked No. 3 in the country in faceoff percentage (169-254, 66.5) in 2017.
In 2016, Wellner helped orchestrate a defensive unit that was one of the best in the country. Ranked No. 2 nationally in scoring defense, the Midshipmen held their opponents to 7.38 goals per game. The 7.38 average was Navy’s lowest since 2008 when it gave up 6.50 goals per game.
The 2015 campaign saw Navy’s defense allow 8.57 goals per game and was ranked 13th nationally. Additionally, Navy’s defense caused the eighth-most turnovers in the country, posting 8.07 takeaways per game.
In 2013, the Midshipmen finished No. 2 in the country in caused turnovers, averaging 10.00 per contest led by starting defenseman Austin Miller who was seventh nationally with 2.31 takeaways.
Wellner joined the Navy staff in the summer of 2011 after a three-year stint at Stony Brook, where he primarily worked with the defense and the Seawolves’ faceoff game.
In his three seasons at Stony Brook, the Seawolves produced a 32-14 record (.696), including an impressive 15-1 mark in America East action. The Seawolves captured the America East regular-season title in 2010 behind a 13-4 record and punched their ticket to what was only the program’s second NCAA Tournament appearance (2002) by way of defeating Albany, 11-7, in the America East Championship Game.
Wellner was instrumental in improving the Seawolves’ faceoff game, as Adam Rand evolved into one of the country’s premier FOGO specialists. In 2010, Rand won 61.6 percent (266-432) of the faceoffs he took, the third-best percentage in the country.
Prior to his arrival at Stony Brook in 2009, Wellner spent the 2008 campaign as the men’s assistant coach and defensive coordinator at Washington & Lee. He also served as the defensive coordinator for three seasons at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey where he helped guide the Ducks to a pair of NCAA Tournament berths. Wellner’s defensive units produced a pair of All-America defensemen and ranked among the Div. III top 10 in scoring defense.
A 2000 graduate of Mary Washington College with a bachelor of science in business management, Wellner also served as an assistant coach at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (2004) and Chaminade High School (2003). Additionally, he was the director of the New York Lacrosse Academy and served as the director of operations for the National Lacrosse League from 2001-2003.
A four-year letterwinner at Mary Washington, he served as captain of the lacrosse team his senior year and earned the school’s Outstanding Senior Award in 2000.
Wellner, and his wife, Kate, are the parents of sons, Griffin and MacGregor, and daughter, Ashley.