Every year, conference opponents know that head coach Nick Coppola will have the Johnson & Wales University men's lacrosse team ready for the postseason. The 2020 campaign marks his seventh at the helm.
JWU got into the 2019 playoffs as the number six seed, but the Wildcats went on the road to defeat Saint Joseph's of Maine, 11-8. The Wildcats were narrowly defeated in the semifinals by Norwich University, who went on to win the title. Three JWU players made the All-GNAC squad, including First-Team selection Ben Farrell. He was later honored as the program's second Scholar All-American from the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association.
In just the fifth year of the program's existence, Coppola took JWU to the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats got hot during the second half of the 2018 season and road that to the GNAC Championship. Johnson & Wales went on the road to win three games in the league tournament, including a 9-5 upset of the top seed Norwich in the championship game. JWU lost 22-15 to Merchant Marine Academy in the NCAA Tournament. Max Stone became the first player in program history to earn Scholar All-America honors from the USILA.
Coppola's squad recorded a program-best 12 victories during the 2017 campaign and advanced to the semifinals of the GNAC Tournament. Stone was named GNAC Offensive Player of the Year, a first for a JWU player.
The Wildcats finished the 2016 campaign with an 11-10 record – the first winning season in school history - including a 5-3 conference mark. In his three seasons at JWU, Coppola has a 22-31 overall record.
Last season Johnson & Wales made a step forward when it won its first GNAC Tournament game. The Wildcats beat Mount Ida, 14-9, in the first round but were knocked out by Emmanuel, 10-8. JWU advanced to the semifinals of the ECAC Tournament where it was stopped by Swarthmore.
Coppola was recognized by his peers with the 2015 GNAC Coach of the Year award as the Wildcats nearly doubled their win total from the inaugural season. The Wildcats have earned 10 all-conference honors during his tenure, including back-to-back Goalkeeper of the Year and one Rookie of the Year award.
Prior to starting the Johnson & Wales program in 2014, Coppola spent two seasons as the top assistant coach at Manhattanville. He also served as an assistant coach at Colgate and his alma mater, Western New England University.
He played midfield for the Golden Bears for four seasons and was a member of WNEU squads that advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Championship the last two seasons. Coppola graduated in 2008.
Coppola is married to the former Jillian Brown, who was a standout field hockey player at Western New England and is currently an assistant coach at Brown University.
Nick Coppola Career Record
Year Overall Conference
2019: 5-14 3-5
2018: 9-12 5-4
2017: 12-7 5-3
2016: 11-10 5-3
2015: 7-8 5-3
2014: 4-13 2-8
Total: 48-64 25-26