LEXINGTON, Va. – VMI lacrosse head coach Jon Birsner announced Wednesday that current assistant coach and offensive coordinator James Purpura has been promoted to recruiting coordinator and that Dave Scarcello has been added as an assistant coach to his staff.
Purpura's promotion comes after completing his first year on staff, where under his tutelage the Keydet offense improved in nearly every statistical category, including scoring the most goals per game in half a decade. Under Purpura's leadership, junior attackman Wesley Sanders was named first team All-Southern Conference and freshmen attackman John Daniel was named to the Southern Conference All-Freshman team.
He will maintain his responsibilities as the program's offensive coordinator on top of his new recruiting duties while Scarcello will serve as the defensive coordinator and goalies coach.
Scarcello comes to VMI after spending the last two seasons serving as the graduate assistant at Concordia University Wisconsin, where he took on the roles of defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator. Under his leadership, the Falcon scoring defense finished the 2017 season ranked fourth nationally in the NCAA Division III ranks.
“I would like to thank Coach Birsner and Dr. Diles for this exciting opportunity,” Scarcello said. “I am honored to work alongside a great staff that is committed to the continued growth of the program at such a distinct institution as VMI.”
In 2017, the Falcons won a share of the Midwest Lacrosse Conference regular season title for the first time in program history. In two seasons, Scarcello helped coach six first team All-Conference defenders, as well as the MLC Defensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in consecutive seasons. He also helped coach the IMLCA All-West Region second team goaltender who was ranked sixth nationally in save percentage in both 2016 and 2017.
In two seasons with the Falcons, the team amassed 25 wins for a 69.4 percent winning percentage. They made back-to-back appearances in the MLC Finals. Their scoring defense also ranked first in conference in both the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Scarcello played his collegiate lacrosse at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. In 2015, he helped the Foxes to their first MAAC Championship win since 2005 while being named the MAAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player. During that run, the Foxes beat Bryant University in the NCAA play-in game, capturing their first NCAA tournament win in program history. The Foxes also finished the season ranked 19th nationally, a first in program history. In addition to the team's successful season, Scarcello received personal accolades by being named a USILA Scholar All-American goalie.
He is a 2015 graduate of Marist, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration. Scarcello is completing his master of business administration degree from Concordia University Wisconsin with an expected graduation of August 2017.