The Denver Post piece about the University of Denver's hiring of Princeton lacrosse coach Bill Tierney was modest; it lacked a byline and ran just a little over 200 words. But Tierney's relocation to Colorado is a huge deal in lacrosse circles, as witnessed by the coverage given the move back east, including a sizable offering in the New York Times and a Baltimore Sun blog whose headline declared, "Tierney to Denver Not Just Another Coaching Change." In the latter, writer John Weaver lauds the coach as an all-time great in addition to laying out a conspiracy theory involving the canning of Tierney's predecessor at DU, Jamie Munro.
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Here's an excerpt:
Can you imagine how many times a school has asked Princeton's Bill Tierney to leave the Tigers and lead their program? Johns Hopkins, Maryland, North Carolina, Duke and a few others are among the programs rumored to have approached Tierney in the past. Tierney said yesterday that this opportunity at Denver was one "that I never thought would come my way." That makes me assume he's had Denver on his mind for a while and it was just a matter of waiting out Jamie Munro, a much younger man who had the job for the last 11 years. Whether it was Munro or the university that made the decision, Jamie resigned on May 7 after posting a 91-70 mark at Denver. I am not trying to fuel speculation, but did the school know of Tierney's interest before Munro's departure? I'd fire any coach in the land to get Tierney.
This is not just another coaching change. Bill Tierney is not just another coach. He's the best. This will change the game and he knows it. In his statement yesterday he said, "The expansion of the game to the West is exciting. If we are truly going to make lacrosse a nationwide sport, we need for some programs out there to become great. I think I can help Colorado lacrosse become the launching pad for that movement."
He's exactly right and he's the only one who can do that in my eyes.
Granted, the Post article pointed out that some observers consider Tierney to be "the John Wooden of college lacrosse." And judging by his record -- six national championships in 22 seasons at Princeton and a .745 career winning percentage -- that's hardly hyperbole. College lacrosse has never been a high-profile sport around here. Look for that to change, and change soon.