Athletics & Recreation / Magazine Feature

Men’s lacrosse team poised for “new” level of competition

For the DU men’s lacrosse team, just about everything in the 2010 season will be new.

First, there’s a new coach. Bill Tierney, who won six NCAA national championships and 14 conference titles as coach of the Princeton Tigers, arrived on campus to much fanfare last summer.

Then, there’s a new conference. Denver joins the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) this year, which means playing a slew of unfamiliar teams. “The future is unknown, but we have no fear,” Tierney says.

Lastly, there’s a new coaching staff, which includes DU lacrosse alum Matt Brown (BSBA ’05) and Bill Tierney’s son, Trevor Tierney. The new staff means players will have to adjust to a new style of practice and play, as well.

“All this new stuff makes us feel young,” Bill Tierney says. “We are teaching all new concepts to 40-some guys.”
Despite the adjustments the team will have to make, DU is going into 2010 season under pressure to perform. For instance, the team was picked to finish second in the ECAC—a fairly bold prediction considering all the new directions the program is going in.

The reason for the heightened expectations is Bill Tierney, whose resume is padded with success and who is a lacrosse hall-of-famer to boot. Since his arrival, Tierney has worked to raise the lacrosse program’s profile and worked to get players to buy into his concept of the game.

Hopefully, that will translate into more wins and more spectators at DU’s Barton Lacrosse Stadium.

“The guys came in giving me a lot of respect, and the benefit of the doubt,” Bill Tierney says. “We want to continue to earn their respect.”

To do that, Tierney will lean on assistant coaches Trevor Tierney and Brown.

The assistant coaches have helped develop crucial relationships with players, Bill Tierney says. In fact, Trevor Tierney has introduced yoga to many players on the squad as a way of training mind and body.

“Trevor and Matt are young guys who speak the same language as the players and have a lot of impact on them,” Bill Tierney says.

Bill Tierney says the biggest challenge for the team this year will be a lack of depth, which means the team will have to avoid injuries in order to be successful.

“The guys have opened their eyes and opened their arms,” Bill Tierney says. “Now we are moving forward without a hitch. If we avoid injuries, we will be competitive.”

The Pioneers opened the season with losses on the road against Syracuse, the defending NCAA national champions, and Jacksonville. Their home opener will be 11 a.m. Feb. 27 at Barton Lacrosse Stadium.

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