Mike Pressler, the long-time coach of the Duke lacrosse team that was ousted in the wake of the 2006 rape accusation scandal, is making a personal comeback by leading a tiny school’s lacrosse team to Division I.
Pressler has led Bryant University’s lacrosse team from Division II to the NCAA tournament as a Division I team. Pressler was the only Duke employee forced to resign after an exotic dancer brought rape allegations against three Duke lacrosse players in 2006. All charges were dropped in April 2007 after there were too many inconsistencies in the exotic dancer’s story.
He was able to quietly secure a job at Bryant after resigning, although some faculty had concerns. They were mitigated quickly, and he was able to join the small Rhode Island school and helped elevate their lacrosse program over eight years to a formidable opponent on the D1 field.
Pressler told the New York Times that he never brings up his past, but isn’t afraid to answer questions.
“I will never dismiss it. It’s never dismissed in our minds,” Pressler said. Sometimes, we’ll go weeks or months and it’s never brought up. This week, it’s brought up a lot.”
He published a memoir of the case in 2008, titled, “It’s Not About The Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Case and the Lives It Shattered.” He has talked about how hard it was for his family to remain in the Duke area after the allegations, despite having coached there for 16 years prior.
Although Bryant lost to Maryland on Saturday, Pressler is looking to continue building a lacrosse powerhouse with Bryant.
“Smithfield is home. It’s been eight terrific years for the family,” he said. “Time is a great healer.”