(PAINESVILLE, Ohio) – Lake Erie College Director of Athletics Kelley Kish has announced the return of Sam Ashton to the Storm's men's lacrosse program for the upcoming season. Ashton, a former top assistant with the Storm, will now assume the role of head coach of the team.
Ashton returns to northeast Ohio after serving two years as the head coach for the University of Dallas. Last year, he helped the Crusaders set a record for most wins in a season with a four-win improvement from the previous campaign.
"I am excited to bring Sam back to Lake Erie College to lead our Men's Lacrosse program," Kish said. "He played an important part in defining the past success of Lake Erie Men's Lacrosse and I am confident that he will be part of the Storm reaching new heights under his leadership in all areas – academically, athletically and within our community."
Ashton shared similar sentiments.
"I am excited and honored to be selected as the next men's lacrosse head coach at Lake Erie College. I would like to thank Kelley Kish and the search committee for allowing me the privilege to lead the Storm Lacrosse program," said Ashton. "I am eager to build on the athletic achievements that the program has reached in the past and to create an environment dedicated to working hard, becoming great individuals in the community, and having success both in the classroom as well as on the field. I would like to thank my family, friends, former coaches, and colleagues for their support. I cannot wait to get to work developing relationships with Lake Erie alumni, current student-athletes and their families."
Ashton was a member of the coaching staff as the offensive coordinator during Lake Erie's most successful seasons.
One of those was the 2015 campaign that saw the Storm go 15-3, obtain a No. 1 national ranking, and advance all the way to the semifinals before bowing out to defending and eventual national champion Limestone. The Storm also defeated eight nationally ranked teams that year, including a regular season contest at Limestone. They also won their second consecutive ECAC championship.
During his playing career, Ashton was a four-time letter winner at Lenoir-Rhyne. In 2014 he became the program's first All-American after receiving an Honorable Mention selection. He finished as the Bears' all-time points leader with 145 points on 64 goals and 81 assists.
Ashton earned First-Team All-South Atlantic Conference honors in 2014 after receiving Second-Team All-Deep South Conference honors in 2013. He helped the Bears capture the 2014 SAC Regular Season Championship and earned All-Tournament team honors in the 2014 SAC Championships and the 2013 Deep South Conference Championships. Ashton helped Lenoir-Rhyne become the top offensive unit in Division-II in terms of points per game and shooting percentage.
"From being an All-American DII Men's Lacrosse student-athlete to knowing our campus and community, Sam Ashton is the right fit for Lake Erie College," added Kish. "Sam returns to Lake Erie as a seasoned NCAA head coach and understands the championship mindset within the program that he will build on moving forward."
Ashton will start at Lake Erie in early December.