(Photo: Jodi Vosika)
Following its most successful campaign in program history, Arizona State Lacrosse was tasked with filling a vacant head-coaching position after Chris Malone stepped down from the position at season’s end. That search is now over, as ASU lacrosse named Joseph Thon the team’s new head coach on Monday afternoon via a statement released on the team’s website.
Thon played collegiately at Mercyhurst University, where he served time as team captain and was a two-time NCAA Division II All-American. He also garnered Defensive Player of the Year and Scholar Athlete of the Year honors in 2007.
Upon graduating, the Rochester, N.Y., native was drafted by his hometown Rochester Rattlers in the fourth round of the 2007 Major League Lacrosse draft. He spent two seasons on the practice squad before accepting an assistant coaching position at McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester. He later moved on to the collegiate coaching level, where he worked as an assistant coach at Albright College.
“Before visiting, I was attracted to Arizona State University because of the quality of the academics, development plans put in motion under new Athletic Director Ray Anderson and the caliber of lacrosse program that Coach Malone built into a national power,” Thon said in a statement released by the team on Monday. “Once I arrived on campus for my interview and had the opportunity to meet the people involved with the team, I realized that the best part about this job would be the people I’d be working with.”
The coaching search yielded 60 candidates and was carried out by a committee comprised of members from the team’s Board of Directors, current team members and parents, alumni and university staff and faculty, according to the team’s website. The selection process was led by current assistant coach and ASU alumnus Jim Mirabito, who is also a member of the Board of Directors.
“Joe Thon has proved his personal commitment to excellence in lacrosse and education, at Mercyhurst as a student athlete and that of his players at Albright College,” Mirabito said in a statement released by the team on Monday. “We looked at many highly qualified candidates during this extensive selection process and Joe impressed us as the right man to continue and expand on what we feel is the gold standard of MCLA lacrosse.”
Thon replaces Malone, who carried the Sun Devils to five consecutive MCLA Final Four appearances leading up to his resignation. Malone’s career record stands at 93-23 after a 19-1 season this past spring that saw his Sun Devils march their way to a third MCLA Championship game appearance with an undefeated record intact before falling to the Colorado Buffaloes and ending their bid for a perfect and championship-winning season. Malone’s departure was not related to the championship loss, but had been planned and announced to the team prior to the end of the regular season.