Joe Conner Jr. is entering his eighth season on the Bucknell men’s lacrosse staff in 2016-17, his sixth in the No. 1 assistant position, and his first as associate head coach. Conner serves as Bucknell's offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator.
With Conner as an assistant, the Bison have made the Patriot League playoffs every season, they have been ranked in the top 20 at least one week during each season, and they set a league record by placing 29 student-athletes on the 2015 Patriot League Academic Honor Roll.
In 2016, Conner oversaw an offense that averaged better than 11 goals per game, as the Bison finished 10-5. Bucknell ranked second in the Patriot League and 20th nationally in goals per game, led by a 60-point scorer in sophomore attackman Will Sands.
In 2015, Conner helped the Bison to a 6-2 record in one-goal games and a 3-0 mark in overtime, with the sudden-death wins coming against Loyola, Lehigh and Brown. In the three one-goal victories that did not require overtime, Bucknell broke ties with 0:52, 1:51 and 0:23 remaining in regulation.
In 2014, Conner’s recruiting efforts were displayed by Bucknell’s first-ever top-20 recruiting class according to Inside Lacrosse magazine. This class was ranked 13th in the country as a whole, and had three recruits ranked in Inside Lacrosse’s Power 100 Recruit Rankings; which is the most Bucknell has ever had in a recruiting class.
In 2014, Bucknell’s extra man unit scored at an impressive rate of 41.5% for the season. The Bison offense had two players receive All-Patriot League honors in 2015: first-team midfielder David Dickson, who became a rare four-time all-league honoree, and second-team middie Ryan Joseph.
In 2013, Conner’s second season as offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator, the Bison offense averaged 10.6 goals per game. They led the Patriot League in goals per game game at the end of the regular season and finished No. 2 after the completion of league tournament play. The Bison offense had one of the most balanced scoring attacks in the country with one 50-point scorer (David Dickson), two 40-point scorers (Sean Doyle and Chase Bailey), one 39-point scorer (Todd Heritage), one 30-point scorer (Thomas Flibotte), one 20-point scorer (Peter Burke) and one 19-point scorer (Brock Ghelfi).
In 2013, Conner’s recruiting efforts were displayed by the play of several key freshmen during the season. The recruiting class was cited by Inside Lacrosse as one of the best in the nation, and the Bison had three freshmen make Inside Lacrosse’s list top 25 freshmen, which was more than any other team in the nation.
In 2013, Conner coached Patriot League Rookie of the Year Sean Doyle and First Team All-Patriot League midfielders Thomas Flibotte and Dickson. Dickson shattered Bucknell and Patriot League single-season assist records with 48, and he would go on to earn Third Team All-America honors.
Conner also coached 2012 graduate Billy Eisenreich, who played pro lacrosse for the Chicago Outlaws. Eisenreich was a Third Team All-America attackman in 2012 after playing his first three years at midfield.
In Conner’s first season as the offensive coordinator in 2012, the Bison finished the season with the No. 1 shooting percentage in the nation. The Bison offense also performed at historically high levels during the 2012 season. In that season the Bison offense set a record by scoring the most goals it ever has in a single season with 179, as well as set team records for assists (108) and points (287). Inside Lacrosse’s Pace Statistics for Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Rating determined that the Bison had one of the most efficient offensive units in recent Division 1 lacrosse history throughout most of the 2012 season.
Conner was the assistant lacrosse coach at Mount St. Mary’s for two years before coming to Bucknell. At Mount St. Mary’s, Conner helped coach the Mount to a 5-3 conference record and a No. 2 seed in the MAAC playoffs, the Mount’s first conference playoff appearance in two years. He served as recruiting coordinator, and in his final season with The Mount he coached the defense, helping them to a No. 9 national ranking in goals allowed.
Conner is a 2007 graduate of Mount St. Mary’s and received his M.B.A. degree with a management concentration from The Mount as well in May of 2009. During the summer of 2009, Conner worked at Wells Fargo Financial as a Credit Manager before being hired by Bucknell in September of 2009. As a student-athlete, he played at Binghamton University for three years before transferring to Mount St. Mary’s to finish his playing career and pursue his coaching career. He was a midfielder at Binghamton and then was moved to attack when he transferred to Mount St. Mary’s.
A native of Ijamsville, Md., he played both lacrosse and football at Urbana High School. He was a high school All-American in lacrosse and started at quarterback on a record-setting football team that won four straight state championships and carried a 50-game winning streak. He currently holds the Frederick County Maryland high school touchdown pass record with 28 in a single season.
Joe is the son of Joe Conner Sr. and Ximena Conner, and he has two younger brothers (Jason and Justin) and a younger sister (Jackie). He lives in Lewisburg with his wife Erin, son Ethan, and daughter Gia.
The Bison won the Patriot League Championship in 2011, Conner's second season with the program.