The Canisius College men’s lacrosse team announced the addition of three former Golden Griffin standouts to the coaching staff on Wednesday. Brandon Bortignon ’12 and Brendan Murphy ’12 are both set to serve as assistant coaches, while Joe Rautenstrauch ’13 is the volunteer assistant coach.
“We bring in a new staff who has a ton of knowledge and passion for the game of lacrosse,” said Canisius head coach Randy Mearns. “They are also bringing in a new energy and excitement to the program. As Canisius graduates, they have each been ingrained in the institution for five or six years. They have seen where we were are as a program and where we really want to take it. What is really huge is the amount of time and energy they are willing to commit to making us a better team on the field, in the classroom plus what it takes to win a conference championship and getting to the next level of the NCAA.”
A senior on the Griffs’ 2012 MAAC Championship-winning team, Bortignon spent the 2013 season as Canisius’ Director of Operations, where he was responsible for the team’s travel, budget and video operations. A four-year letterwinner at Canisius, Bortignon appeared in 14 games with the Griffs from 2009 to 2012, totaling four goals and two assists during his tenure. Bortignon will serve as the team’s offensive coordinator in 2014.
“It is a thrill to come back to campus for another year,” Bortignon said. “After ending my college career here with a MAAC Championship in 2012, I really wanted to come back as a coach and I am thankful to Coach Mearns for giving me that opportunity this season. An exciting year ahead for all of us on staff as well as our team.”
Murphy, who will serve as the team’s defensive coordinator, rejoins the Griffs after spending the 2013 season with Bellarmine, where he worked with the team’s defensive and goaltending units in addition to assisting with the day-to-day operations of the program. A long-stick midfielder at Canisius, Murphy helped lead the Griffs to a MAAC Championship as a team captain in 2012, earning MAAC All-Tournament Team honors. During his four-year collegiate career, Murphy played in 36 games, collecting 73 ground balls and 18 caused turnovers.
“I’d like to thank Coach Mearns and Bill Maher for giving me the opportunity to coach at my alma mater,” Murphy said. “Additionally, I would to thank Coach Kevin Burns, Jim Mitchell and Bill Gleason from Bellarmine University for last season and helping me get my coaching career off the ground. I’m very excited to be back at Canisius. Knowing many of the players on the team, we have a great opportunity to do something very special this season and going forward to compete for a MAAC Championship and an NCAA Championship.”
Rautenstrauch enjoyed a breakout season at Canisius during his senior campaign in 2013. He played in all 13 games and ranked second on the team with 27 points on 18 goals and nine assists. Primarily a defensive midfielder during his first three seasons at the College, Rautenstrauch appeared in 39 career games with 32 points, 18 goals, 14 assists and 63 ground balls.
“It’s a dream come true to be able to come back and coach at Canisius so quickly after graduation,” Rautenstrauch said. “I am very excited about the upcoming season and pursuing another MAAC Championship for Canisius.”
Canisius returns nine starters and 25 letterwinners from the 2013 team.