Richie Meade is back with Navy lacrosse, this time as coach.
Meade, who spent five years as a Navy assistant under Bryan Matthews in the 1980s, then coached on the staffs at North Carolina and Army, yesterday was named the sixth coach in Navy's 86 years of lacrosse.
Meade, 40, replaces Matthews, who resigned last month to become athletic director at Washington College, his alma mater.
After being turned down by big-time coaches such as Loyola's Dave Cottle and Johns Hopkins' Tony Seaman, Navy trimmed its list to Meade and Matt Hogan, an assistant on Matthews' staff.
"Matt was a very close second," athletic director Jack Lengyel said. "But Richie has a wealth of Division I experience as a head coach as well as an assistant. He understands Navy and its mission because he was here five years. He's an outstanding recruiter and motivator."
Meade, a Long Island native who played at Nassau Community College and North Carolina, was the youngest coach in Division I when he took over at the University of Baltimore at age 25 in 1979. In four years, he was 29-21, including 11-2 in 1982 and a No. 11 final ranking.
"Unfortunately, in those days, they only invited eight teams to the Division I tournament," said Meade, Army's offensive coordinator for the past four years. "In 1980, we beat Maryland, which was a big win for us."
When UB dropped intercollegiate athletics in 1983, Meade went to Navy as an assistant, then to North Carolina and Army.
Meade is convinced Navy can maintain its winning lacrosse tradition, perhaps strengthen it. Under Matthews, Navy had nine winning seasons in 12 years and gained the NCAA tournament seven of the past nine years. The Mids were 7-6 this season after losing to Brown in the first round.
"All the things are in place to continue to put good teams on the field," Meade said, adding that there are no more limitations at Navy than at Ivy League Princeton.
"Look at the difference in Princeton in 1988 and now," Meade said. "Who would have thought then they could beat North Carolina and Virginia the same week, as they did last March? They won the NCAA championship in 1992 and have made the semifinals three straight years."