P.J. Kavanagh is in his 12th year as an NCAA Div. III head coach, sixth at Wooster, and has produced an 96-81 career record. Overall, Kavanagh is a member of the century club when it comes to victories as a head coach between the collegiate and prep ranks, having surpassed the 100-win mark during the 2017 season.
Kavanagh's teams have finished at or above .500 in 11 of his 12 seasons as a collegiate head coach, and most recently he guided Wooster to its third appearance in the four-team North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament. During his tenure, Wooster's matched the program single-season record for league wins and opened conference play with a 5-0 record for the first time in program history.
Hired about 10 days before the 2015 season, Kavanagh made an immediate impact, as the Fighting Scots won their first six games with him on the sideline, part of a 9-7 overall mark. Within the NCAC (3-5), Wooster lost a pair of heartbreakers – one by one goal and another by two – that cost it a spot in the postseason.
Since he's been at Wooster, Kavanagh's coached two student-athletes who played in the USILA Senior North-South All-Star Game, and Wooster players have earned all-conference laurels 19 times.
Kavanagh, who also has experience as an assistant coach for a couple of Major League Lacrosse teams, spent a significant coaching stint at SUNY Plattsburgh, located in upstate New York, first serving as an assistant for two seasons (2005-06) and then as head coach for five (2007-11). There, he compiled a school-record 47 victories (47-34), highlighted by 11-6 and 10-6 marks his last two years, respectively. Notable, the Cardinals reached the 2011 SUNYAC Tournament semifinals, and they received votes in the USILA coaches’ top-20 poll three different seasons.
With Plattsburgh State, he coached one All-American, two who played in the USILA Senior North-South All-Star Game, and more than a dozen All-SUNYAC honorees, and away from the field, his teams logged over 1,400 community service hours and raised $14,000 for a charity among other projects.
Kavanagh moved to northeast Ohio in 2011 to take on the challenge of building a varsity lacrosse program from the ground up at the University of Mount Union. He brought in two recruiting classes that eventually led to a 7-7 record during the Purple Raiders’ inaugural season, then decided to step away from college coaching briefly.
Prior to his time at Plattsburgh State, Kavanagh gained 10 years of coaching experience at New England prep schools, including winning 23 games as head coach at Trinity Pawling School in the late 1990s. He was an assistant one year with the MLL’s Bridgeport Barrage (2001), and later returned to the MLL, serving as the assistant coach/defensive coordinator for the Ohio Machine (2011-13).
As an undergrad, Kavanagh started at goalie two seasons and long-stick midfielder one for NCAA Div. I Colgate University. He earned a bachelor’s degree there in 1993 while majoring in geology.
Originally from Syracuse, N.Y., Kavanagh now lives in North Canton, Ohio, with his wife Elizabeth and their three sons – Sean (14), Aidan (12), and Ryan (11).