After an extensive search, Executive Director of Athletics Robert Coleman is happy to announce the hiring of Nicholas Marks as the new Head Men's Lacrosse Coach.
"Nick is going to be a great addition to a team that's enjoyed a high level of success within the program's history," explained Coleman. "We're excited about him joining our coaching staff and he is exactly the type of strong leader we were hoping to continue moving our program forward. He's an accomplished player and coach, but more importantly, he possesses the vision for building a nationally-recognized culture of excellence."
The Chicago native comes to Whittier College after serving as the defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator for NCAA Division III North Central College in Illinois. In their inaugural season, the Cardinals finished 10-4 and wrapped up the year 2nd in scoring defense (6.0 goals per game), 3rd in caused turnovers per game (13.7) and 14th in clearing percentage (.873) within NCAA Division III. Marks led a defense that only gave up double digit goals in one contest and saw freshmen Sean Tomonari receive All-CCIW honors. The Cardinals finished their campaign with the best record amongst all inaugural teams in the NCAA.
Before North Central, Nicholas Marks was an assistant coach at Bucknell University from 2012-2016 where he served as defensive coordinator while also coaching face-offs and goalies. During his tenure, Marks would help the Bison to 47 victories in NCAA Division I and 22 victories in the Patriot League. There the team made five Patriot League Tournament appearances and earned two Top 20 National rankings. In that time, the Bison achieved wins over nationally ranked Cornell, Penn State, Drexel, Albany, Navy, and Brown. In four out of five seasons, Marks commanded a defense that finished in the top 20 nationally for scoring defense and caused turnovers. Eleven players earned All-Patriot League honors under Marks’ tutelage including eight defensemen, two goalkeepers, and a face-off specialist. These players also accrued 23 Patriot League Player of the Week honors in the same time. In five seasons, Marks coached two USILA All-Americans, five USILA Scholar All-Americans, three USILA North South All-Star game selections, and three MLL Draft selections. As a recruiter, Coach Marks has recruited multiple Inside Lacrosse Top 100 prospects and assisted in the class of 2018 which was ranked 14th nationally in Inside Lacrosse Recruiting Issue. In his time at Bucknell, Marks coached and played against four Tewaarton Finalists.
In his last season for the Bison, Marks led a defense that finished 19th in scoring defense (9.07), 8th in saves per game (12.07), and 2nd in man down defense (.761). Sophomore defenseman Matt Gilray and senior long-stick midfielder Alex Spring were selected to the All-Patriot League Team. Alex Spring, a four-year starter for Marks, earned USILA All-American and was drafted by the Florida Launch of Major League Lacrosse. Spring would graduate 2nd in Bucknell history for career groundballs, the fourth of Marks’ players to finish in the top ten. Freshman goalkeeper Christian Klipstein was named Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week and Rookie of the Week a combined total of five times while earning All-Patriot League honors. Freshman face-off specialist Jarett Witzal was named Patriot League Face-Off Specialist of the Week four times while leading the Bison face-off unit to an 11th best face-off percentage (.570) in the country. As one of the best freshman in the country, Witzal broke the Bucknell single season record for face-off wins in a season (171), season face-off win percentage (.6173), and face-off wins in a game with 22 against Lehigh. The Bison finished 10-5 falling in the Patriot League Semi-Finals to eventual champion and NCAA Final Four qualifier Loyola College. It was the fourth season Marks was part of a Bison squad that posted at least 10 victories.
The 2015 Bison had several individuals honored for their defensive work, the team ranked in the top 20 nationally in caused turnovers per game (7.33) for the fourth year in a row, and the entire unit held strong in victories over Brown and Loyola, which featured two of the most powerful offenses in the country. Senior defenseman Ben Kellar and junior long-stick midfielder Alex Spring were both First Team All-Patriot League selections while senior goalie Sam Grinberg won Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors while finishing 5th in Bison history for career goals against average (9.14), the second of Marks’ goalies to do so. Both Kellar and Grinberg were also named USILA Scholar All-Americans. The Bison finished the season with a record of 9-6 in the Patriot League Semi-Finals with wins over #13 Brown and #19 Navy.
In 2014, the Bison defense ranked top 20 nationally for the third straight year in caused turnovers per game (9.47) and scoring defense (8.67). It was the third straight year the defense ranked in the top 10 nationally for caused turnovers per game. That year, Marks helped senior defenseman Jackson Place become a Major League Lacrosse draft selection after earning USILA All-America and All-Patriot League honors while ranking second in the nation in caused turnovers at 2.71 per game. Jackson Place would go on to become an All-Star for the MLL Champion Ohio Machine. Junior goalkeeper Sam Grinberg ranked eighth nationally in save percentage (.563) and 10th in goals-against average (8.52) in his first season as the full-time starter. The Bison finished the season at 7-8 after advancing to the Patriot League Tournament for the third straight season.
The 2013 season was the second straight season the Bison defense finished in the top 20 nationally for scoring defense (8.44), caused turnovers per game (9.5), and man down defense (.756). Three players would earn All-Patriot League honors under Marks including senior face-off specialist Ryan Gutowski who would help Bucknell to 15th nationally in groundballs per game (32.13). Gutowski would graduate in the top five all time at Bucknell for face-off wins (278) and percentage (.496). Marks’ defense were key contributors in victories against Tewaarton Finalists Rob Pannell of Cornell and Lyle Thompson of Albany. Senior Kyle Feeney would finish his career in the Bison career top five for goals against (7.97) and saves (554). The team ended the season 12-4 as Patriot League Runner-Up, falling to Lehigh in the championship. Bucknell finished their 2013 campaign ranked #15 nationally with wins over #8 Cornell, #12 Albany, and #18 Drexel.
In Marks’ first season with the Bison in 2012, the defense finished in the top 20 nationally in scoring defense (9.13) and caused turnovers per game (9.38). Two players earned All-Patriot League honors under Marks including goalkeeper Kyle Feeney who help the Bison to 17th in the country for saves per game (11.31). Feeney would go on to be selected by the Charlotte Hounds of Major League Lacrosse. The 2012 campaign ended in the Patriot League Semi-Finals with a 9-7 record. The Bison would finish the season ranked #20 nationally with wins over #14 Penn State and #18 Drexel.
Marks enjoyed a terrific playing career at Bucknell, as a 4-year starter at midfield. He played in 57 career games over four seasons and finished with 37 goals, 3 of which were game winners, and nine assists for 46 points. While in the orange and blue, Marks competed against four Tewaarton Trophy Finalists. In 2005, the Bison finished as Patriot League regular season champions ending the season in the Patriot League Tournament. The team finished #17 in the country with an overtime victory over #2 Navy. In 2006, Marks helped the Bison to wins over #4 Maryland and #16 Penn State. In 2007, the Bison reached the Patriot League Tournament with a win over #19 Ohio State. He captained the 2008 team that finished 10-5 and reached the Patriot League championship game for the first time. The 2008 team also defeated #11 Ohio State and #19 Army. Bucknell compiled a 21-9 record during his junior and senior seasons and went 36-21 over his four-year career, making him part of the program's winningest class at the time. He was later a 2008 supplemental draft pick of Major League Lacrosse's Chicago Machine, a 2012 supplemental draft pick by the Ohio Machine and was also member of the Chicago Shamrox of the National Lacrosse League.
Marks received his B.A. from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania with a double major in classics and history. He now resides in Fullerton with his wife, Laurel.
Alma Mater: Bucknell ‘08