The Saint Ignatius Lacrosse program has a new leader taking the reins as the Athletic Department has named Kyle Bernlohr the next Head Lacrosse Coach at Saint Ignatius High School. Bernlohr is a decorated goalie currently playing in the Premier Lacrosse League for the Whipsnakes and is a five-time All-Star and three-time PLL Champion.
“I am humbled and grateful by the outreach from the staff prior. Coaches such as Dave Cerny and Joe Boehm ’05 have been huge supporters of me to bridge the gap to take a head coaching role,” explains Bernlohr. “This program has a rich history and presents an opportunity to compete for a State Championship. I want to use lacrosse to help these students do great things on and off the field.”
Bernlohr is familiar with the Saint Ignatius Lacrosse program as a former student-athlete and goalie coach at Western Reserve Academy. The Wildcats and Pioneers are a staple for lacrosse in the Midwest and have had plenty of memorable games. “One thing that always stood out to me about Saint Ignatius Lacrosse is that they have many athletes, with many competitive programs,” Bernlohr says. “Coaching and playing at Western Reserve Academy, I notice the size, speed and talent at Saint Ignatius and I’m excited to see what we can do next season.”
“He is a Northeast Ohio guy who understands Northeast Ohio Lacrosse and has a great respect for the game,” says Athletic Director Rory Fitzpatrick ’88. “He wants to build a strong culture; he knows we have an excellent program and wants to take his experiences to take the program to the next level.”
The Wildcats continue to be a powerhouse in Ohio and the Midwest for Lacrosse; Bernlohr is looking forward to working with the student-athletes and building a strong bond right away. The Akron native is one, if not the best, lacrosse goalie in the country. He played collegiately at the University of Maryland and finished his career with the Terrapins, ranked 10th in saves with 373. He went on to be drafted by the Ohio Machine for the PLL.
“Building the culture is my number one priority,” Bernlohr says. “When playing for coach John Tillman at Maryland, it wasn’t always about x’s and o’s; it was how are you doing or how was your family? When you have that mutual respect between the coaches and players, that is when the team takes it to the next level, you can’t go anywhere without that off-the-field bond.”
This will be Bernlohr’s first head coaching job after serving as an assistant coach on the WRA staff last season. “He is a young coach, there will be a lot to learn and he is well aware of the challenges,” Fitzpatrick says. “He is willing to work with his assistant coaches and lean on those guys. He will be able to connect with the students and he will take his experiences to provide great insight for our men.”
WRA has been a familiar foe for the Wildcats on the lacrosse field as they typically take on each other in the regular season and the MSLA Tournament. Bernlohr is excited to take on his alma mater. “That will be awesome. There are a bunch of teams I quietly have circled on the schedule,” says Bernlohr. “Western Reserve is a place that I love, but at the end of the day, they will be an opponent now.”
Before the 2022 season, the Wildcats made the OHSAA Final Four for four consecutive seasons; but are still seeking the program’s first State Championship. Bernlohr is excited to get to work with the Wildcats come the Spring 2023 season.