Virginia post could start chain reaction

The Inside Stuff

May 28, 1992|By Bill Tanton

The lacrosse world is waiting to see who gets the coaching job at Virginia. The opening was created when Jim Adams retired May 13.

Many consider Virginia's the best coaching job in lacrosse. For that reason, they think Bill Tierney, who won the NCAA championship Monday with his Princeton team, is a good fit for Virginia. Tierney is the hot coach in the game.

People throughout the sport are watching closely. The Virginia appointment could start a domino effect.

If Tierney goes to Virginia, who would take over Princeton's defending champions?

Would it, for example, be Washington College's Terry Corcoran? And if Corcoran goes to Princeton, would Boys' Latin's Bob Shriver, named The Baltimore Sun's Coach of the Year yesterday, take over at his alma mater, Washington College? All this is pure conjecture, but it's what people are talking about.

Some have asked me why Tierney, who's on top of the world at Princeton, would leave even for a prestigious place such as Virginia. It's a good question. Here are seven answers:

1. Lacrosse players love to go to Virginia. It's an easy sell.

2. Virginia is a state school. The cost is less than half the cost at Princeton. Virginia has lacrosse scholarships. Ivy League schools such as Princeton have no athletic scholarships.

3. Virginia has just built a 10,000-seat soccer/lacrosse stadium. It will be a lot more inviting than 50,00-seat Scott Stadium, home of the football team.

4. Virginia has a new golf course. College lacrosse players and coaches are big on golf.

5. Virginia's competitive ACC basketball and football programs are appealing to other student-athletes.

6. The summer lacrosse camp at Virginia is a good money-maker for the coach. College lacrosse coaches today can earn $60,000 or more from a camp.

7. It's nice to go coach at a place that hasn't been winning. Tierney can't accomplish any more at Princeton than he did Monday when he beat Syracuse, 10-9, in double overtime and won the NCAA title.

* In theory, Penn's Franklin Field is an ideal place to hold the NCAA lacrosse Final Four. It's huge (65,000) and Philadelphia is two hours from Baltimore or New York.

But when it was held there last weekend the spectators had a lot of complaints. Many asked me to mention the poor facilities. Though the crowds both days were smaller than expected (15,523 for Saturday's semifinals, 13,650 for the finals) , there were outrageously long lines to buy sodas, hot dogs, etc. The concessionaire ran out of everything.

"Some of the complaints are legitimate," says Georgetown coach Dave Urick, chairman of the NCAA lacrosse committee. "Franklin Field is the oldest stadium in the country and it's kind of dirty. The concession problems were terrible.

"Next year the Final Four goes to the University of Maryland. We had our record crowd there [28,000] in 1989 and it went smoothly.

"In '94, we can't go to Rutgers. They're hosting World Cup soccer that weekend. Princeton is interested in us."

Many Baltimoreans think Delaware is the ideal place for the Final Four. Delaware Stadium holds 20,000 -- adequate, but not big enough to allow for growth.

Though New York natives far outnumber players from this state on the Final Four rosters, it was Marylanders Scott Bacigalupo (Baltimore, St. Paul's School) and Andy Moe (Chevy Chase, St. Alban's) who were the heroes of Princeton's championship victory.

Moe had four goals. Bacigalupo, the goalie, had 15 saves. Said Tierney: "We could have lost that game by six or seven goals if it hadn't been for Scotty."

* Coach Roy Simmons, whose Syracuse teams won NCAA titles in 1988-89-90, says championships go in cycles. He says he remembers when Princeton, under coach Ferris Thomsen, won the title "year in and year out." Not quite.

Thomsen's Princetonians were national co-champs with Army in '51 and undisputed champs in '53. Before Thomsen (who came to Princeton from Gilman in the late '40s), the Tigers won in '42, '37 (co-champ with Maryland), 1888 and 1884.

* Here's how unusual it is for Princeton to win an NCAA championship in a team sport: the last time the Tigers did it, before Monday, was in 1964. Princeton won fencing that year.

* Don't think lacrosse season is over just because the college and high school championships have been settled. The best part of the club season is just ahead.

Saturday night at 8, Mount Washington (with Gary Gait, Dave Pietramala, Rob Shek) will host the Maryland Lacrosse Club (John Tucker, Larry Quinn) under the new, $50,000 lights at Norris Field for the championship of the south. The winner will play the north champion June 13 at Hofstra for the U.S. title.

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