While Rich D’Andrea’s life journey hasn’t always been linear, he claims one constant along his path.
“At each stop, I’ve always, always, paused and oriented myself to Peddie,” he said.
D’Andrea will take the helm as head coach of the Boys' Lacrosse program this spring. It’s a fitting step for the program’s narrative as well as D’Andrea’s personal one. He credits the personal relationships with Peddie coaches, teachers and advisors and their holistic approach to education with his own transformation as a student. Now he’ll mentor his players in much the same way.
That fits perfectly with Director of Athletics Thad Lepcio’s goals for the program.
"I am thrilled that Rich will be leading Boys' Lacrosse,” said Lepcio. "As a great Peddie student-athlete, he is uniquely qualified to lead this program. I look forward to working with him and strengthening this great program."
A three-year Boys' Lacrosse standout for the Falcons from 1999-2001, D’Andrea was a two-time All American goalie, helping guide Peddie to a 16-0 mark in 2001. He was twice named the Dietrich von Schwerdtner award winner for the best goalie in New Jersey. D’Andrea went on to play at Georgetown University, where he made four straight NCAA Division I Tournament Quarterfinal appearances, was a two-time recipient of the Jason "Prof" Decker Unsung Hero Award, a two-time Big East All-League goalie honoree and a team captain his senior year.
Following graduation from Georgetown, D’Andrea worked in commercial real estate in New York City, and then moved toward a career in academia, teaching English, coaching lacrosse and working in admission and college counseling at nearby Princeton Day School. Stepping away to help organize his family’s business, D’Andrea felt the pull back to education. The coaching position at Peddie seemed serendipitous.
“Peddie is where I learned the importance of hard work and the value of good relationships,” said D’Andrea. “It taught me things about myself I had no idea existed.
“Not a day goes by when Peddie isn’t on my mind. Revisiting the 'Was it worth it?' chapel speech, enlivening a Saturday morning English class where we unpacked Beowulf, saying good morning to Cheryl in the dining hall — it’s an endless well, one I draw from regularly.”
D’Andrea is married to fellow alumnus Erika Kapp ’98.
Dietrich von Schwerdtner ("Von"), who founded the lacrosse program at Peddie, and Hall of Fame lacrosse coach Bob Turco '70 were mentors whose tremendous influence still impacts D’Andrea today.
"For me, the greatest similarity between Bob and Von was in their ability to establish trust with their players. To play on a Turco team meant you, your teammates and Coach would be sitting alongside one another, and would collectively experience something real and authentic. I’ve seen players from decades ago run up to Coach Turco and throw their arms around him because of that shared experience. The adventure of a season often shapes one's life — it certainly did for me, in the same way it did for Coach Turco when he played for Von."
D'Andrea returns to his alma mater with considerable coaching experience, most recently serving as head coach at Princeton Day School from 2014-2018. During his tenure at PDS, he garnered three Mercer County titles and two Prep B Championships, and his team moved to Prep A for the 2018 season. D’Andrea was twice named Times of Trenton Coach of the Year (2016 and 2017).
"My goal is to bring my experience and connect with each player on an individual level. I want to make sure this is something that is meaningful to them and useful for their process in life, not just on the lacrosse field.”
Peddie senior captain Chris Dindino '21 expressed the team's collective enthusiasm for their new head coach.
"I really think he will bring new life to the program. He'll definitely deliver the intensity we need. Coach D’Andrea is just as eager as we are to get out onto the field, and I can’t wait to win some games with him this spring."