A relative unknown in lacrosse until recent successes, the University of Denver has produced MLL’s newest and most talented athletes: Mark Matthews (New York Lizards), Cam Flint (Boston Cannons), Chase Carraro (Ohio Machine), and most notably Denver Outlaws attacker Eric Law, have all entered the league and have made immediate impacts for their respective teams.
Despite Law’s successes early on in his professional career, he is not the first Denver graduate that made an immediate impact. In 2012 the Denver Outlaws selected Mark Matthews, a shifty Canadian lefty who made a name for himself with his highlight reel goals. During his time in college, Matthews became Denver’s workhorse leading his team to a pair of NCAA tournament appearances. Now a member of the New York Lizards, Matthews continues to score goals, but maintains that growing the game is the most important goal of all.
The Western part of the United States is historically known for its legendary gold rush, outlaw cowboys, and sharp shooters who became famous for their incredible aim and accuracy. Now, in 2013, there is a new breed of sharpshooters emerging from the Wild West, only now they’re suiting up in MLL uniforms.
Traditionally in the lacrosse community, the schools that produce the majority of MLL talent lie on the east coast of the US. Schools like Syracuse, Johns Hopkins, and Cornell are known for molding their athletes into Major League Lacrosse’s stars of the future, but as the game continues to grow at an exponential rate there is a new lacrosse program churning out some of MLL’s brightest young stars, the University of Denver.
The story for Denver started in 2009 with the arrival of legendary coach, and father of MLL champion goaltender Trevor, Bill Tierney. Despite some serious doubt by lacrosse experts across the country, Tierney left his well-established Princeton program to join the Pioneers, a decision that has grown the game in Colorado, and has ultimately produced some of the professional game’s finest young players.
“So many things drew me to Denver after 22 wonderful years at Princeton,” said Tierney. “A chance to coach with my son, Trevor, a chance to help get a relatively new program, albeit a program that was left in very good shape by Coach [Jamie] Munro, get to the next level in an area where it hadn’t been done before. A chance to be an ambassador for the game as it grows in so many different areas, and a new beginning to recharge my personal ‘professional batteries’.”