The 2010 and 2011 America East Coach of the Year, Rick Sowell is in his fifth season as Stony Brook's head men's lacrosse coach. Sowell guided the Seawolves to unprecedented success in 2010, leading the team to within a goal of the Final Four. Along the way, Kevin Crowley became SBU's first first team All-American, USILA Player of the Year, Tewaaraton Award finalist and America East Player of the Year. Jordan McBride, Tom Compitello and Steven Waldeck each were named All-American, and Waldeck was drafted by Major League Lacrosse's Toronto Nationals and the National Lacrosse League's Minnesota Swarm.
Starting the season outside the top 20, Stony Brook climbed to #6 in the Coaches' poll, its highest ranking in school history. During a nine-game winning streak, the Seawolves won their first America East regular-season title and the first conference championship since 2002.
In guiding the team to their best record in the 27-year history of the program, Sowell became one of just a handful of coaches to take two teams to the NCAA tournament. He was rewarded with a five-year contract extension through 2015.
In 2009 Sowell, who was an assistant coach for gold-winning Team USA at the 2010 World Championships in England, led Stony Brook to its best record in five years, finishing 9-6 overall and ranked #20 in the USILA Coaches Poll, the first time the Seawolves have been ranked at the end of a season. Stony Brook finished tied for first in the America East Conference with a 4-1 record, another best for the program, and made an appearance in the America East Championship game for the first time since 2005.
Over his first two seasons at Stony Brook, Sowell compiled a 15-12 record, including a pair of wins over nationally ranked opponents. In both seasons he guided the Seawolves to a berth in the America East Tournament.
Prior to Stony Brook, Sowell was tapped to head the rebirth and start up of the St. John's lacrosse program in 2003 after leading two of the top programs in collegiate lacrosse to national acclaim. After a year of building the program back up, Sowell led the Red Storm back onto the field for the first time in 11 years in 2005.
From 1999-2003, Sowell was the head coach at Dartmouth where he revived the Big Green program, taking the team from last to first place in the Ivy League during his five years at the helm. During his fifth and final season in 2003 with the Big Green, Sowell's squad posted an 11-3 record, 5-1 in the Ivy League, en route to a conference title and an appearance in the NCAA tournament. During the title run, the Big Green registered a road victory at No. 2 Princeton, its first win at Princeton since 1958. Under Sowell's leadership the Big Green steadily improved, with four student-athletes earning All-New England honors, two receiving All-Ivy honors and several receiving academic awards. Sowell was also named the NEILA Coach of the Year in 2003.
From 1990-1998, he served as an assistant coach at Georgetown University where the Hoyas grew from an also-ran to a national contender in Division I, participating in the 1997 and 1998 NCAA Tournament. In 1998, the Hoyas finished 10-5 overall and advanced to the quarterfinal round before falling to top-seed Loyola, 12-11.
From 1988-1991, Sowell spent three years as the head coach of the boy's lacrosse team at Mount St. Alban's High School in Washington, D.C. While at there he also served as an assistant football coach. Sowell's coaching career began at Washington College in Chestertown, Md. where he helped guide the Shoremen to the NCAA Division III national title game in 1986 and the semifinal round in 1987.
Before dedicating his life to coaching, Sowell played lacrosse at all levels. He began his college career in 1982 at the State University of New York in Cobleskill, transferring to Washington College prior to the 1984 season. As a member of the Shoremen, Sowell was named the 1985 Division III National Midfielder of the Year and was also a two-time All-American. He helped lead Washington College to the Division III national championship game twice. In Sowell's senior campaign he was team captain and earned the Dr. Charles B. Clark MVP Award. He was also named the Best Athlete by Washington College's Athletic Council. His 45 goals and 14 assists earned him first team Division III All-America honors and an invitation to participate in the annual North/South All-Star game.
In the professional ranks Sowell spent five years with the Baltimore Thunder of the Major Indoor Lacrosse League (MILL). While there he was a first team All-Pro selections three times.
Sowell graduated in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in history. He was inducted into the Washington College Hall of Fame on October 21, 2000.
Sowell, and his wife, Catherine, live in St. James, with their daughters, Kennady and Avery.
86-81 (.515) as a head coach
47-26 (.644) at Stony Brook