Neal Anderson was named the seventh head coach in the history of the Norwich University men's lacrosse program prior to the 2009 season. Since coming to Northfield, Anderson and his charges have racked up 91 victories, including a dominant 50-18 record in Great Northeast Athletic Conference play since 2011.
A three-time GNAC Coach of the Year recipient (2012, 2013, 2016), Anderson has piloted the Cadets to eight-straight conference postseason appearances entering the 2019 season. Since joining the GNAC for men's lacrosse in 2009, Norwich student-athletes have earned an impressive 63 spots on the GNAC All-Academic Team while Cadets have earned placement on the GNAC All-Conference teams on 31 occasions.
Anderson's team won the 2013 GNAC Men's Lacrosse Championship after completing a flawless 12-0 season against league opponents. The Cadets would go on to participate in the NCAA Division III men's lacrosse tournament for the first time, earning the conference's automatic qualifying bid with a thrilling 9-7 win against the Mustangs from Mount Ida College on Apr. 27.
Across his tenure in Northfield, Anderson has cultivated academic and athletic success. In 2018 the Cadets took home both the Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year awards for the GNAC as both Josh Jenkins '18 and Zach Adler '18 brought home the awards. Along with the other eight All-Conference and nine All-Academic recipients that year, Jenkins was also selected to play in the NEILA All-Star Game.
In 2015, face-off specialist Andrew Bracy '15 led the nation with a .743 faceoff winning percentage and wrapped up his four-year career as the program's all-time leader in draws, winning nearly 67 percent of his face-offs. Bracy was also named to the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) Academic All-Region squad for his efforts in the classroom after leading the nation in face-off winning percentage in 2015 (.743). Bracy would go on to sign a professional contract with the Ohio Machine of Major League Lacrosse (MLL).
In 2013, goaltender Mark Paradiso '14 was tabbed the GNAC Defensive Player of the Year and face-off specialist Nate Fortezzo '12 was named a United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Scholar All-American. Anderson's team would boast the best face-off winning percentage in NCAA Division III with a .729 mark in 2015 - that year's team also finished 10th in Division III in scoring defense (6.33 GPG) while backstop Ryan Fecteau '15 was ranked 11th nationally in goals-against average (6.48) and 27th in save percentage (.604). Fecteau would go on to sign a professional contract with the Ohio Machine of Major League Lacrosse (MLL) after graduation.
In addition to being GNAC finalists in 2012, Anderson also led the Cadets to a slew of national rankings that same year. The Cadets would post the nation's top ranking in man-down defense (.895) and the ninth-best scoring defense (6.06). Furthermore, Norwich would post the 10th-best face-off winning percentage (.641) as Fortezzo's mark of .680 would be the third-best nationally.
Anderson garnered regional recognition for the program by being named the 2012 recipient of the Ace Adams Award, which is voted on by the officials of New England and highlights the sportsmanship of the program, coaching staff, administration and fans.
"There is tremendous enthusiasm about lacrosse on the Norwich campus," said Anderson. "We attract young men with outstanding character and commitment. It is an honor to be working with them, and each year we are setting new benchmarks for what this program is capable of."
Anderson came to Norwich from Curry College where he served as the Head Coach of men's lacrosse from 2002 to 2005. Prior to joining the Colonels, he served as an assistant coach for his alma mater, Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass.
A 2000 graduate of Merrimack College, Anderson played college lacrosse at the University of New Hampshire and at Merrimack. He served as team captain of the Merrimack squad as a senior. Between NCAA Division I and Division III, Anderson made an appearance in 64 career games and scored a dominant 62 goals and 17 assists for 110 points (62-17=110) across two seasons at Merrimack after tallying 35 goals at UNH as a sophomore in 1997. Following his senior campaign, Anderson was named a USILA-NCAA All-American and was also selected as a USILA-NCAA Academic All-American.
Upon graduating, Anderson was selected in the seventh round of the Major League Lacrosse draft by the Boston Cannons. He played in the professional league for seven seasons, splitting time between the Cannons and the Denver Outlaws. Anderson would later earn his master's degree from Boston University in 2006.