Randy Mearns was named the first Division I men's lacrosse head coach in St. Bonaventure University history on June 20, 2017.
Mearns has built the Bonnies program from the ground up since his arrival on campus - and the Bonnies appear primed for a run to the top of the MAAC following a 2021 season that saw the team not only break into the win column for the first time, but finish the year at 5-5 after reaching the conference semifinals.
The 2021 campaign was truly a breakout season for the Bonnies after struggling through their first season of 2019 with 33 true freshmen and the shortened 2020 campaign which ended before conference play due to the pandemic. During 2021, the Bonnies clearly were a team on the rise as sophomore Jake Rosa led the league in scoring and became SBU's first MAAC Offensive Player of the Year. Midfielder Austin Blumbergs was also a First Team All-Conference pick along with Rosa while Zack Belter earned a Second Team nod on defense along with goalkeeper Brett Dobson who led the nation in save percentage. Another member of Bona's initial recruiting class, junior attack Sean Westley led the MAAC in goals with 23 and also earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors. In addition to an impressive offense that saw Rosa, Westley and Blumbergs among the league leaders in scoring, Bona's defense ranked fourth in the country by allowing just over nine goals per game.
A decorated coach and player, Mearns brought a lengthy resume to St. Bonaventure.
Mearns directed the men's lacrosse program at Canisius College for 19 seasons before accepting the job at SBU. During his time in Buffalo, Mearns led his program to a pair of Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championships and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2008 and 2012. Under his leadership, 41 players have received all-conference accolades and a number have gone on to play professionally – six Canisius players were selected in the first round of the National Lacrosse League Draft and three earned selections in the Major League Lacrosse Draft prior to his arrival in Olean, with multiple others since.
Mearns registered 100 career victories with the Griffs and guided the MAAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year in Connor Kearnan while six of his players were honored as part of the annual MAAC awards in his final season in Buffalo. Mearns' players also enjoyed success in the classroom as 19 student-athletes were named to the MAAC All-Academic Team, tying for most in the league. Mearns enjoyed another winning MAAC season as well, giving him 11 years where his Canisius teams were .500 or better in conference.
"As the process went, this became more and more of a great fit," Mearns said. "The opportunity at St. Bonaventure really intrigued me; when I came on campus I was immediately inspired. This is a gem of an institution. I think we can really build something special here."
Mearns also has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success on the international level.
In 2014, he added a gold medal to his head coaching resume by leading the Canadian National Team to the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championship. That year saw 10 of his Canisius players participate in the world championship including five on his winning Canadian team. Prior to leading the Canadian National Team to the 2014 World Championship, he was an assistant coach in both 2006 and 2010, with the 2006 team also winning the gold medal. Mearns led Team Canada again in 2018, guiding the program to a silver medal at the world championships in Israel.
In his nine-year playing career in the National Lacrosse League (NLL), he was a part of two championship teams and named NLL All-Star Game MVP in 1999. He has also experienced success at the National level as team captain of four Mann Cup championship teams, the Brampton Excelsiors ('93) and the Six Nations Chiefs ('94-'96). Further, he served as team captain for the Rochester Knighthawks (NLL) for six years, and Team Canada at the 1998 World Championship.
While in Rochester, he helped the Knighthawks to four championship appearances ('96, '97, '99 and 2000) including a league title in 1997. He bookended his NLL playing career with a pair of seasons with the Buffalo Bandits including the best offensive output of his career with 14 goals and 24 assists during the 2002 season. In all, he tallied 244 career points in nine NLL seasons with Buffalo and Rochester.
He also played in the Canadian Junior A and Canadian Senior A Lacrosse Leagues with a 10-year stint beginning in 1990. During that time, he appeared in eight national championships including five as team captain, winning six overall championships.
Mearns was a part of the Canadian Junior National Team which won the silver medal in the 1988 World Championships before being a part of the first recruiting class at Canisius. He finished his college career ranking second in Griffs career scoring with 190 points and still holds the school's single season records for points (94) and assists (49). Mearns is also the Griffs' all-time leader in assists (95). He was drafted by the Buffalo Bandits in 1992 to begin his professional playing career and was a member of the Bandits Major Indoor Lacrosse League World Championship team in 1993.
After serving as a tri-captain for the 1998 World Championship Canadian silver medal winners, he accepted the head coaching job at Canisius and has guided his alma mater for the last 19 years.
He is a member of the Canadian Lacrosse, Ontario Lacrosse, Rochester Knighthawks and Canisius College halls of fame and also owns bachelor's and master's degrees from Canisius.
What They're Saying About Randy Mearns ...
"I think it is a perfect hire. He's a guy who knows what it takes to make a start-up a really strong program. He's been around long enough to know what the benefits of a place like St. Bonaventure can be and he brings a wealth of experience from so many fronts. The location of St. Bonaventure is going to be great for bringing in the Upstate New York kids and the Canadian kids. He's just such a great guy and so well-liked and respected in the lacrosse community. I am excited to see him grow the program."
- Bill Tierney, Head Coach University of Denver (seven-time national champion)
"He is a true passionate professional. His passion for the game of lacrosse and for his student-athletes is unrivaled. St. Bonaventure is getting a fantastic individual in Randy Mearns and an exciting coach who has won a world championship with Team Canada and will bring that same level of dedication to his new venture."
- Steve Govett, President and General Manager Colorado Mammoth (NLL)
"I have worked closely with Randy as a player and a coach for our Canadian National Team since 1998 and he is without question one of the finest people that are involved in our sport. I think St. Bonaventure could not have picked a better man to lead their program and get things started with the Bonnies."
- Dave Huntley, Canadian National Program Director and Assistant Coach Atlanta Blaze (MLL)