Matt Rienzo
Matt Rienzo

Last College:
Georgetown (C'97)

Position:
Assistant Coach

Experience:
Tenth Season


Matt Rienzo is in his 10th season as an assistant coach with the Georgetown men's lacrosse program. Rienzo will continue in his primary role as defensive coordinator and running the substitution box.

During Rienzo's tenure, the Georgetown men's lacrosse team has reached the NCAA Quarterfinals six times. The Hoyas have consistently been one of the most imposing defensive teams in the country.

Over the last nine years, the Hoyas' defense has ranked among the top defensive units in the country. In 2003, Rienzo coached the unit to a Georgetown record for goals allowed per game at 7.33, which ranked seventh nationally. In 2004, the Hoyas gave up only 8.00 goals per game and in 2005, the unit allowed only 8.27 goals per game. The Hoyas ranked among the top-10 in the country in 2006 - ranking ninth by allowing only 7.54 goals per game - as the team won 12 games and the 2006 ECAC Championship. In 2007, GU limited 12 opponents to 10 goals or fewer and ranked 19th nationally in scoring defense, allowing only 8.20 goals per game. In 2008, the unit held nine teams to 10 goals or fewer and allowed only 8.76 goals per game. Under Rienzo's tutelage, defensemen have received All-American honors 16 times in nine years, highlighted by the play of three-time honorees Kyle Sweeney and Brodie Merrill, who earned national honors twice. In 2002, he coached Sweeney to ECAC Defensive Player of the Year honors and to a spot on the United States

Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) All-American First Team. Sweeney went on to start every game for Team USA at the 2006 World Championships and was selected to represent the United States in the 2010 Games in England. Sweeney has played in Major League Lacrosse (MLL) for eight years and is currently playing for the Boston Cannons, in addition to playing for the Philadelphia Wings in the National Lacrosse League. Rienzo also guided Merrill to USILA First Team All-American honors in 2004 and 2005, respectively, the first Georgetown player to earn a spot on the first team in consecutive years. Merrill the 2005 ECAC Defensive Player of the Year and two-time First Team All-ECAC selection, was also a Tewaaraton Trophy Finalist in 2005. Merrill was named the Outstanding Defensive Player of the World Games after leading the Canadian National Team to the 2006 and 2010 World Lacrosse Championship. Following his graduation from Georgetown, Merrill embarked on a professional career that saw him earn a league-record five-straight Defensive Player of the Year awards from the MLL. He was also named the NLL's Defensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in 2006.

During his time at Georgetown, Rienzo also tutored Jerry Lambe, and Chris Nixon. Lambe was a two-time ECAC Defensive Player of the Year (2007, 2008) and earned USILA First Team All-American honors in 2007. Last year, Nixon was the recipient of the first BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year Award and was an Honorable Mention All-American.

Rienzo served on the staff at the University of Notre Dame in 2001. He worked with the Fighting Irish defense, which ranked third in the nation, giving up less than seven goals per game. The Irish advanced to the NCAA Semifinals for the first time in school history that year.

Prior to his stint at Notre Dame, Rienzo was the Dean of Students and Head Lacrosse Coach at Gonzaga High School in Washington. He guided his alma mater to a 14-7 record in 2000 as Gonzaga advanced to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Finals. In 2004, Rienzo was inducted into Gonzaga College High School's Athletic Hall of Fame.

Rienzo graduated from Georgetown in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. In May of 2010, he completed a master's degree in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown.

As an undergraduate, he played four seasons and was a three-year starter under Head Coach Dave Urick. A two-time team Most Valuable Player, Rienzo helped lead the Hoyas to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 1997, when he was named an Honorable Mention All-American. He played in the 1997 North-South All-Star Game after graduation. Rienzo was drafted by the Bridgeport (Conn.) Barrage of the MLL in the 2002 Supplemental Draft.

Rienzo, the son of former Georgetown Athletics Director Francis X. Rienzo, is married to the former Julie Shaw and resides in Bethesda, Md. They are the proud parents of Matthew Xavier (6), Grace (4) and Lila (8mo.).

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