The University of Oklahoma men’s lacrosse team is pleased to announce that Mario Enea will be the Sooners’ head coach starting with the 2016-17 season.
“I am excited to share my passion for the game of lacrosse with the student-athletes at the University of Oklahoma, which is a first-class institution,” Enea said.
Considered a pioneer in California lacrosse, Enea has been active in the sport for over 25 years. He grew up in Monterey, Calif., playing high school football, baseball and lacrosse at Robert Louis Stevenson School in Pebble Beach. A starter for Drew (N.J.) University, Enea led the Rangers to the NCAA tournament before transferring to Cal-Berkeley. He helped the Bears win a pair of WCLL championships while twice being selected all-conference. Enea was also a two-time captain and voted “Most Inspirational Player” by his teammates.
In February of 1995, Lacrosse Magazine featured a cover of Enea and his Cal classmates with the title “Is Cal the Best in the West?” Enea helped Cal post a 56-5 record during his time in Berkeley.
“Speaking for all of Sooner lacrosse nation, we have enjoyed getting to know Coach Enea over the past couple of weeks and are thoroughly impressed by his coaching resume and vision for the future of our organization,” said Alex Perry, president of the Oklahoma lacrosse alumni association.
Enea represented the West in the Division I North-South Senior All-Star game hosted at Johns Hopkins. He was drafted in the third round of the Major Indoor Lacrosse League, where he played one season before launching his coaching career.
“We are so excited to have Coach Enea here for the 2017 and 2018 seasons,” said Matthew Hammond, a co-captain for the Sooners and program president. “He brings over 20 years of valuable knowledge and lacrosse experience to our program, and we are ecstatic to bring him on board. We are ready to bring his winning culture to Norman and look forward to working hard, having fun and competing with class.”
Enea’s hiring at Oklahoma will mark his 20th season coaching lacrosse. He began his career as an assistant at his high school alma mater. He has also been the head coach at Santa Clara University along with prep head coaching positions at Santa Catalina, Carmel and Palma High Schools. He also helped found numerous programs to introduce thousands of kids to the sport. Enea has developed over 150 high school and college All-Americans and was selected US Lacrosse Coach of the Year in 2013.
“I’m really excited that Coach Enea has accepted the head coach position,” said junior Ryan McCabe, who is the program’s treasurer. “I know I speak for the rest of the team when I say we’re more than ready to see some of the changes he is going to make. We’ve had a few good seasons in the past, but I think he can take us to the next level. I’m confident he is the guy who is going to put Oklahoma lacrosse on the map.”
Enea founded BraveHeart lacrosse, a training center for players, coaches and officials. BraveHeart lacrosse is based on the principles of honor, integrity and passion.
Enea will locate to Oklahoma City from Carmel, Calif., with his wife, Whitney, and son, Ritter.
Enea and the Sooners will open up the Lone Star Alliance schedule on Feb. 11 when they host Nebraska.