TAMPA, Fla – University of Tampa head lacrosse coach, Rory Whipple, has announced his retirement after spending the last 10 seasons at the helm of the perennial power that he built at the University. Whipple concludes his career with 131 wins at UT. He is also the winningest active coach in NCAA Division II history, as he holds 349 career wins.
“It is with mixed emotions that I announce my retirement as Head Coach of the University of Tampa’s Men’s Lacrosse Program,” says Whipple. “I feel tremendous gratitude to Larry Marfise, our Athletic Director, and Ronald Vaughn, the University’s President, and his administration for giving me the opportunity and encouragement to build a top-notch competitive lacrosse program. Without their unwavering support and generosity, we would have never been able to scale the obstacles facing a start-up program and reach the heights of national recognition.”
“Of course, I will miss our incredible student-athletes, our passionate alumni, and wonderful University community, from whom I have always received nothing but good cheer, faith, and optimism in our team and confidence in our ability to excel,” states Whipple.
“Because I am blessed with a beautiful family who has always encouraged me to reach for the stars, I fully expect that retirement will be as satisfying, exhilarating, and rewarding as my coaching career has been,” says Whipple. “I wish all the best of luck in the future and am thankful for those who have cheered us on along the way.”
During his tenure at Tampa, he has led the team to six State Conference Championships and two Deep South Conference Championships. He has also led the team to seven NCAA Tournament appearances with four National Semifinal appearances.
“I would like to thank coach Whipple for his leadership while turning our University into one of the premier lacrosse programs in college sports,” says athletic director Larry Marfise. “His knowledge in building a program, along with attracting well-rounded student-athletes who regularly excel in the classroom and competition, has laid the groundwork for continued success and new heights within our program.”
Along with the team’s success, he has also helped his players become some of the best in the nation. Whipple has coached one National Player of the Year, 29 All-Americans, four Sunshine State Conference Players of the Year, and one Deep South Conference Player of the Year.
In 2021, the Spartans went undefeated during the regular season to earn its sixth regular-season SSC crown. In the NCAA tournament, they would win their quarterfinal game against Mount Olive to play in their fourth NCAA semifinal.
In his 2018 and 2019 campaigns, Whipple led the Spartans to win their fifth and sixth consecutive Sunshine State Conference Tournament Championships in addition to guiding the team to its sixth straight year in the NCAA Tournament.
In 2017, Whipple led a squad that was nationally ranked all season and advanced to the NCAA National Semifinals for the third straight season. He also guided the program to its fourth straight Sunshine State Conference regular-season and tournament titles while posting an undefeated record in league play. He was the SSC Coach of the Year, as he coached Conor Whipple and Andrew Kew to first-team All-American honors as Marty Heyn and Chris Vetter were each third-teamers. Kew also set the NCAA Division II single-season scoring record with 86 goals on the season.
During the fifth year of the Spartan men’s lacrosse program, Whipple guided the team to national prominence yet again, reaching the NCAA Division II Semifinals for the second time in program history. UT won the Sunshine State Conference regular-season title as well as the tournament championship while maintaining a national ranking all season. UT took down No. 4 Mercyhurst in the NCAA Quarterfinals by a score of 10-9.
In the program’s fourth year of existence, Whipple guided his Spartans to the 2015 Sunshine State Conference regular-season and tournament championships while being nationally ranked all season. UT also received its second consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament in a season where it faced seven nationally-ranked opponents.
Whipple took the program to new heights in the third year of existence in 2014, leading the Spartans to a 16-3 record and perfect Sunshine State Conference mark of 5-0. UT won both the SSC regular season and conference tournament and earned the program’s first-ever bid to the NCAA Division II Tournament. UT would defeat Mercyhurst in the national quarterfinals by a score of 11-9, becoming the first-ever collegiate team from the state of Florida to host and also win an NCAA postseason game. The Spartans would fall in the national semifinals to eventual national champion Limestone. UT had three All-Americans in 2014, as Whipple was also honored as the SSC Coach of the Year.
He guided Tampa to a Deep South Conference regular-season championship in the program’s first year of existence in 2012 and repeated as DSC regular-season champs in 2013. The Spartans also advanced to the DSC tournament semifinals in the first year and were a 2013 finalist.
Prior to Tampa, Whipple spent time at Florida Southern, Bryant University, Hartwick College, and Clarkson University.