Dylan Sheridan was named the inaugural head coach of the Cleveland State men’s lacrosse program on June 30, 2015.
Sheridan has steadily built the program from the ground up, with the Vikings showcasing noticeable improvement from one season to the next.
Cleveland State had its finest season yet in 2019 with Sheridan leading the way. The Vikings won seven of their final 10 games to close the year, doubling their win total from the prior season in the process. In doing so, CSU posted a winning record in just its third season of existence despite facing six teams among the top 25 in the NCAA’s RPI.
The leading cause for CSU’s success may have been its ride, as the Vikings led the nation in opponent clearing percentage (.707), edging out national champion Virginia. Only one CSU opponent cleared at a rate better than the national average. Riding was not the only area in which the Vikings rated highly. Cleveland State finished sixth nationally in faceoff percentage (.631) and was the only Division I team to have two players win faceoffs at a rate of at least 60% (min. 100 attempts). CSU finished among the top 25 nationally in eight team statistical categories overall.
CSU’s special teams units showed marked improvement in 2019. The man-down unit killed off 69.8% of chances, ranking among the top 20 nationally, after posting a 57.6% mark in 2018. The Vikings’ man-up unit increased its conversion rate by nearly 10 percentage points while Cleveland State’s overall scoring average increased over 30% from the previous season.
During the program’s second season, Sheridan increased the Vikings’ DI win total to four while facing six teams among the top 25 in the NCAA’s RPI. Included among those four victories was Cleveland State’s first road win over a Division I foe—an 8-7 victory at defending Southern Conference champion Air Force.
The Vikings also put forth some notable efforts against some of the top teams in the nation in 2018 with Sheridan’s guidance. Cleveland State was one of only three teams to hold national finalist Duke to a single-digit goal total. The Vikings held Duke to a season-low .231 shooting percentage while hosting a former national champion for the first time. CSU also forced No. 4 Denver into a season-high 21 turnovers and a season-worst mark in clearing percentage.
Utilizing a roster composed almost entirely of true freshmen, Sheridan led the Vikings to five wins in their inaugural 2017 season. CSU faced one of the toughest schedules in the nation despite being a first-year program, as the Vikings faced five teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament, three that advanced to the quarterfinals, two that made the semifinals and a national finalist. Cleveland State, which sat among the NCAA’s top-five toughest schedules at the end of the regular season, also became the only recent team to face the No. 1 ranked squad in the country twice during its inaugural season.
Sheridan’s first squad showed marked improvement as the season progressed, culminating in the program’s first win over a Division I opponent, a wire-to-wire, seven-goal win over a team that advanced to its conference postseason tournament. Growth could be seen in many areas throughout the course of the campaign, ranging from the man-up unit to the clearing percentage. CSU cleared at 75.2% through the first half of its season, but the Vikings improved that to 87% over the second half of the campaign. Sheridan’s squad also committed 12 minutes fewer in penalty time than its opponents.
Sheridan started the CSU program after spending the previous year as the defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator at Princeton where he was responsible for the training and coaching of the defense, clearing and faceoff units.
Sheridan helped lead the Tigers to a share of the regular season Ivy League title and a top-20 mark in the final RPI rankings. Under his direction, Princeton was among the top 10 teams nationally in clearing percentage with an .889 mark.
Prior to arriving at Princeton, Sheridan spent four years at the University of Denver, helping the Pioneers to NCAA semifinal appearances in 2011, 2013 and 2014. Denver also won three regular-season conference championships in four years with Sheridan, twice winning the ECAC and also claiming a BIG EAST crown. Sheridan also helped the program reset its single-season wins record in two of his four years in the Centennial State.
Sheridan first worked with the face off unit before becoming the defensive coordinator and the recruiting coordinator for head coach Bill Tierney. The 2014 Denver defense, led by Sheridan, was the top-ranked defense in the Big East and the 10th-ranked defense in Division I, allowing just 8.47 goals per game. Sheridan was promoted to assistant coach at Denver prior to the 2012 season. Sheridan’s faceoff unit finished fifth nationally in success rate that season, winning over 59 percent of their faceoffs, en route to a berth in the NCAA quarterfinals. He helped Chase Carraro to USILA All-America honors, the first-ever All-America honor at a specialist position for Denver. In total, Denver claimed 16 All-America honors during his four years on staff.
Sheridan joined the Denver staff prior to the 2011 season as a volunteer assistant coach. He helped the 2011 team to a then program-record 15 wins and an unbeaten conference mark. His faceoff unit finished 15th nationally in winning percentage after ranking 36th the year prior to his arrival.
Away from the NCAA level, Sheridan served as the head coach of the Thailand National Team at the 2014 World Championships. Despite it being the nation’s first appearance in the world event, Sheridan led the team to four wins during the competition.
Sheridan was a member of the club lacrosse team at Claremont McKenna, serving as team captain three times. He earned Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association All-America honors three times and was the Western Collegiate Lacrosse League Offensive Player of the Year as a senior when he led the MCLA with over 100 points. Sheridan, who finished his collegiate career with over 300 points, was a three-time All-WCLL selection. He helped the program climb from an unranked club to the No. 1 ranked team in the MCLA. In addition to lacrosse, Sheridan was also a four-year member of the football team at Claremont McKenna.
Sheridan played professionally for three years with the Denver Outlaws, winning the Major League Lacrosse Championship in 2014.
Sheridan began his college coaching career at Pfeiffer University in 2008 as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator. He also coached at Lebanon Valley College as an assistant in 2010.
Sheridan graduated from Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio, fewer than 25 miles from downtown Cleveland. He helped the Pioneers to three Ohio high school state championship games, including the 2001 title.
Sheridan graduated from Claremont McKenna in 2006 as a double major in psychology and film studies. His wife, Brianne Tierney, played lacrosse at both Loyola and Colgate and is the inaugural head women’s lacrosse coach at Kent State. The couple, who have a 2-year-old son, live in the southeast suburbs of Cleveland.