(Photo Courtesy of Johns Hopkins Athletics)
Peter Milliman was officially announced and introduced as the next head coach of the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays on April 27th. And since that announcement two weeks ago, the Blue Jays have experienced one of the hottest streaks in college lacrosse this offseason, thus far.
Milliman made two huge splashes with the assistant coaching he hired to build his inaugural staff at Hopkins. The newly minted Blue Jays head coach was able to lure UMBC defensive coordinator and Hopkins alum Jamison Koester and Air Force offensive coordinator John Grant Jr. away from their post to join home at Homewood. Both have risen the coaching ranks fairly quickly, as had Milliman, and are viewed as two of the best minds in the game as it pertains to the end of the field that they handle.
Koester served as the defensive coordinator at cross-town UMBC for four seasons, where he changed the identity of the Retrievers defense and made them one of the best units in the country. During his first season in 2017, the Retrievers defense finished the season as the 19th-best scoring defense in the nation, allowing 9.14 goals per game. The year prior they were 59th in that category. That is a 40-place jump in one season.
UMBC featured a top-20 scoring defense in two of the other four years that Koester was at the helm of the Retrievers defense, being ranked 1st in 2018 (7.77) and 6th in 2020 (8.40).
As impressive as the Blue Jays hire of Koester was, they made an even bigger splash from a name standpoint with hiring John Grant Jr. as their offensive coordinator. Grant Jr. is known as one of the greatest players of all-time in both the field and box game and has transformed the Air Force offense in the two seasons he served as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator.
Grant also plays and serves as the offensive coordinator for the Denver Outlaws in Major League Lacrosse. During his time as the offensive coordinator of the Outlaws, they have gone to three MLL championships, taking home the title in 2018.
In addition to the Blue Jays’ two new assistant coaching hires, they have had some major wins in the talent acquisition and retainment department.
Johns Hopkins has landed former Syracuse LSM Jared Fernandez via the NCAA Transfer Portal and Blue Jay attackman Cole Williams had taken his name out of the transfer portal over the last week.
Both are expected to be big for the Blue Jays in 2021. Fernandez showed tremendous growth last season at Syracuse, recording 14 ground balls and four caused turnovers in the Orange’s five games. Williams has been a mainstay on the Blue Jays’ offense during his career. He tallied 17 points (11G/6A) in the Blue Jays’ six games last season.
These recent transactions, along with the guys they were set to return in 2021 already, have created significant buzz around Homewood, which has many even more excited to see how soon this historic program can get back to track under Milliman.