TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona State men’s lacrosse program is pleased to announce the hiring of Justin Straker as the next head coach of the Sun Devils.
Straker is a 2014 graduate of ASU, where he was a member of three SLC championship teams with three final four appearances and one national championship appearance.
During his time as a Sun Devil, he accumulated 176 points (121g, 55a). He was a team captain (2014), two-time first team all-conference at attack (2013-14), and two-time All-American (honorable mention in 2013, second team in 2014).
Upon graduating from Arizona State, Straker the Sun Devil program as a graduate assistant, helping with the offense in 2015. After a brief hiatus during which he earned his master’s degree from the University of Tennessee, Straker returned to ASU as offensive coordinator for the 2017 season.
Since 2017, he has remained heavily involved in the lacrosse community, working with Legends Lacrosse. He also coached at the high school level, where he most recently won the Arizona state championship at Boulder Creek High School.
Straker was selected by a search committee comprising representatives of all sectors of the ASU men’s lacrosse community: The advisory board, player board, staff and alumni.
In addition to Straker, the team has hired Ian Connell (2011-14) and Nick Hillier (2011-2014) as co-defensive coordinators.
Connell was a two-time all-conference and two-time All-American defenseman while at ASU. He has stayed active with the men’s lacrosse program as a member of the team advisory board following his career with the Sun Devils.
Hillier epitomized the ‘Unsung Hero’ title as a defensive midfielder who consistently led the team in ground balls. Along with Straker, they spent the last three seasons as coaches of Boulder Creek High School, capping off 2021 with a state championship.
Chris Malone, former head coach (2008-14) and president of the advisory board led the search committee.
“We are extremely excited to have Straker as our next head coach," said Malone. "As a player, he understood what it took to be successful on and off the field. As a coach he has shown his passion and dedication to teaching the game to his players. Because of this, I’m confident in his abilities to lead this program back to the top tier of the MCLA.”
“It is such a great honor to be asked to come back to my alma mater to lead this program," said Straker. "I am fully aware of the expectation and responsibility that comes with the role, and I will not settle for anything less than what my fellow alumni deserve. This program has done so much for me over the years, and I am so excited to accept the challenge in returning this program back to where it was when I played.
"It was very important for me to bring Nick Hillier and Ian Connell with me. They are two of the brightest defensive minds in Arizona, and they both know what it takes to succeed at this level."
Straker replaces head coach Casey Connor, who stepped down to pursue a change in his career path.
“Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to lead these young men," said Connor. "The bonds that were formed are truly the special part of coaching that I hold dearest to my heart. I will surely miss it. Forks Up!"