Tag Archives: Bill Tierney
High School Lacrosse: Denver Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach Bill Tierney Continues To Recommend That Student-Athletes “Play Multiple Sports To Develop Skill Sets And Learn Teamwork”
St. Margaret’s Boys Lacrosse Head Coach Glen Miles Discusses The Importance Of Recruiting And Supporting Experienced Coaches To Maintain The Growth Of Western High School Lacrosse Programs
In the second part of an interview, Glen Miles, head coach of 2013 CIF-Southern Section Lacrosse Champion St. Margaret’s Episcopal Boys Lacrosse program, talks about the importance of “experienced and dedicated” coaching in Western High School Lacrosse.
LaxBuzz: University of Denver Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach Bill Tierney has stated that it is critical for the continued growth and success of Western Lacrosse to have “high quality, experienced and dedicated coaches” (i.e. East Coast experience) to continue to take up positions with club teams and high school programs. Many top Division I players have been traveling back and landing at Western programs, but they lack the experience in coaching at top collegiate programs.
How do you see experienced “East Coast coaches” being lured to coming out west? Is it possible for top boys coaches to play MCLA or Div II or III college lacrosse at western programs and become top-level coaches?
Glen Miles: “Coach Tierney is 100% correct. He has great interest in the California Lacrosse market. Many of our highly skilled players will be attracted to Denver University for a variety of reasons.”
“First, he is a great coach, leader and mentor and he runs a great program. Second, it is the closest DI program and if our players want to shoot for the highest level, it is a great place to go to school.”
“High quality coaching is very important. Because we live in California and have arguably the most desirable climate on the planet, attracting great young lacrosse guys to California will not be too difficult.”
“What will be difficult is keeping these coaches coaching High School Lacrosse. It will not be difficult to keep them in California, but regrettably they seem to migrate toward club lacrosse and away from High School programs.”
“The reason for this is simple: the average High School coaching stipend is around $3000. The job as it is structured right now is difficult for the little bit of money that they receive. They are doing it for the love of the game and the love of the kids. We can’t add additional stress to the job description.”
“Booster clubs, steering committees and the like must be patient and be willing to accept some mistake as a young coach grows. The guys that want to do this job understand that they must have a “real job” to make ends meet. Sometimes their real job is lacrosse and sometimes it is not.”
“I think there are plenty of great coaching role models currently at MCLA, DII and DIII. The issue of whether a young coach continues to grow is a factor of how committed we are to help him grow.”
“2013 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships”: Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach John Desko And Denver’s Bill Tierney Are “The Two Winningest Active Coaches In Division I Lacrosse”
THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS
In addition to regular-season success, both men have excelled in the postseason. Desko owns the highest NCAA Tournament winning percentage (min. 10 games) at .789 (30-8). Tierney is fifth (.700, 35-15). Tierney ranks second in career NCAA postseason wins (35) and Desko is fourth with 30. The pair has combined to win 11 national championships with Tierney tying SU legend Roy Simmons Jr. atop the list with six. Desko is third with five NCAA
titles. All of Tierney’s championships came while he was the head coach at Princeton.
In 18 head-to-head matchups, Desko owns a 13-5 advantage against Tierney, including a 4-1 record in NCAA postseason meetings. The last time the two legends matched wits was in the 2011 season opener. Desko’s Orange defeated Tierney’s Pioneers in that one, 13-7.
This is just the fourth meeting between the Orange and Pioneers. The Orange prevailed in the first matchup, 13-10, at the 2002 Pioneer Face-Off Classic in Denver, and beat the Pioneers, 15-9 and 13-7, respectively, in the 2010 and 2011 season openers for both teams.
“2013 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships”: #4 Denver Men’s Lacrosse Faces #1 Syracuse In Semifinals On May 25 In Philadelphia; Second “Final Four” Appearance In Three Years Under Bill Tierney
NCAA Lacrosse: Denver Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach Bill Tierney “Changed His Way Of Thinking” To Match Pioneers’ Offensive Tradition And Strengths; “Obsessed With Scoring 13 Goals To Win Now Rather Than Not Giving Up 7 Goals”
“…I’ve said for 1,000 years, it’s much easier for a coach to change than it is for a group of players to change. If we’ve done anything ‘right,’ I think it’s that we’ve changed our way of thinking. We still only want to give up seven, but we we’re certainly willing and happy to win a game 13-11, as opposed to 7-5. It’s just who we are now….”
Bill Tierney, Denver Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach
Last fall, former Lacrosse Magazine writer Matt Forman interviewed Bill Tierney about his shift in philosophy from Fred Smith protégé/quick slide architect/defensive genius at Princeton to suddenly becoming the ringmaster of the greatest offensive circus on Earth at Denver.
“There was a very clear moment in time where that shifted: one of my first meetings with [assistant coach] Matt Brown here at Denver. When I came here four years ago, he was 28 years old, he had more maturity than I do. I sat down with him, and we were talking about him staying on my staff, and I said, ‘Matt, you know I’m a defensive guy, it’s hard to be an offensive coach. You might want to call [former Princeton, current Loyola offensive] coach Dave Metzbower. It’s hard to be an offensive coordinator when the head guy is such a stickler for ‘perfect’ defense. My goal has always been to keep opponents at seven goals or under.’
“And he said, ‘Coach, with these guys, you’ll never be able to play and win like that.’ I said, ‘Well, tell me what we can do then.’ And he said, ‘We can score a lot of goals. A lot of goals.’ Not begrudgingly, more out of due respect for Matt and our players, I didn’t want to change their mindset. It’s a positive, go-to-the-goal mindset.
Wow. If that quote doesn’t deserve its own standalone plaque somewhere in the coaching Hall of Fame, I don’t know what does.
Here’s a first-ballot Hall of Fame skipper, known for inventing a grinding, possession-oriented brand of half-field lacrosse, who quickly embraces another way to play. It takes a lot of confidence for a coach to admit that his schemes — schemes that, in Tierney’s case, won him national championships at Princeton — may not work at a place like Denver.
The biggest improvement may be in the coaching. One reason soccer has stagnated in the U.S. is the dearth of quality coaches. Lacrosse is booming in part because of the quality of instruction.
Youth lacrosse in Colorado is booming. That has trickled up to high schools and college. The Colorado Youth Lacrosse Association has 7,000 boys participating. The Denver Lacrosse Club, part of the CYLA, boasts 750 in the spring alone. Rod Allison has introduced inner-city kids to lacrosse with Denver City Lax.
The lacrosse craze has put a Colorado twist on the national college lacrosse scene. A sport that used to be as East Coast as subways and crab cakes, lacrosse has found a major feeding ground in the Denver area. The University of Denver men’s team, ranked third nationally and only two years removed from its first Final Four berth, has nine in-state players. Air Force has 11. Thirty-three other Colorado prep products are playing among 22 other NCAA Division I men’s teams.
“You can get a kid from Colorado as good as the top kid anywhere,” said DU coach Bill Tierney.
Tierney is considered the Mike Krzyzewski of college lacrosse. He coached six national championship teams at Princeton, yet uprooted to one of only three Division I schools west of the Eastern time zone. He didn’t have a midlife crisis. He’s not much of a skier. But he knew he could build a winner at DU. “There was comfort in knowing there was a good recruiting base here,” he said.
In Tierney’s first year at Princeton, in 1988, he signed a Colorado prep player: Chris McHugh of Manual High School. Tierney then had Coloradans on every Princeton team through 2005.
Leading the Pioneers (9-2) into a showdown Saturday in Baltimore against fifth-ranked Loyola (9-2), the defending national champion, is Eric Law, DU’s leading scorer. He attended Arapahoe High School. A senior, Law has gone stick to stick against the stars from traditional eastern breeding grounds for four years.
NCAA Lacrosse: Rules Implemented In 2013 To “Accelerate Pace Of Play” Are “Best Thing Ever To Happen To The Game” According To Bill Tierney
“…the most prominent change was a 30-second shot clock, which begins once officials have issued a stall warning. Another was the elimination of horns for player substitutions. And a third was the implementation of quicker restarts, including removing the five-second cushion that goalkeepers had to get back to the crease after chasing a shot…”
New rules implemented in the offseason to accelerate the pace of play aren’t showing up in the numbers. But anecdotally, what had devolved at times into a slow-plodding, low-scoring slog is turning into a fast-paced, action-packed thriller.
“I think they’re the best thing to ever happen to the game, to be honest with you,” Denver coach Bill Tierney said. “The [NCAA] rules committee took charge of their charge, so to speak, and realized that the game was not getting any better. In fact, it was getting worse. As we increase our media coverage — especially on TV — the game needed to be fixed.”
Among the wide-ranging changes enacted during the offseason were several significant ones. The result has been a faster game with fewer stoppages, and that’s music to the ears of coaches.