COLLEGE PARK - The Dave Cottle era has ended at Loyola College and will begin today at the University of Maryland, where Cottle will be introduced as the Terrapins' new men's lacrosse coach, university athletic department sources said yesterday.
Cottle, who turned the Greyhounds into perennial NCAA tournament participants during his 19-year tenure, becomes the eighth lacrosse coach in Maryland history.
He replaces Dick Edell, who announced his retirement more than three weeks ago because of health reasons after 18 seasons in College Park. Dave Slafkosky, longtime Maryland assistant and a partner with Edell for 25 years, had been serving as interim coach.
Cottle could not be reached to comment last night. Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow and Loyola athletic director Joe Boylan also did not return phone calls.
Cottle beat out Gary Gait, the legendary former Syracuse player and the top assistant for the past eight years with the Maryland women's team, which has won seven consecutive NCAA championships.
Gait, who has never been a head coach and declined to comment on Cottle's hiring, had been rumored to be Edell's successor-in-waiting. Gait apparently had told a number of associates he expected to take over the men's program.
A source close to the Maryland search committee said Cottle's head-coaching experience weighed heavily in the decision to select him over Gait.
Cottle, who was expected to sign a multi-year contract last night, essentially won a two-horse race that emerged after numerous candidates dropped out during the coaching search.
Notre Dame's Kevin Corrigan and Georgetown's Dave Urick withdrew from consideration after interviewing for the job. Towson's Tony Seaman and Duke's Mike Pressler declined to be interviewed after Maryland contacted them. Slafkosky never was considered a serious candidate.
It is not known whether Cottle plans to retain Slafkosky or Jon Stainbrook, who served as offensive and defensive coordinator, respectively, under Edell.
Cottle boasts the third-best winning percentage among active coaches (.721) with a record of 181-70, all of it accrued at Loyola. Before his arrival, Loyola had won 43 percent of its games over the previous 45 years.
After going 5-9 in his first year in 1983 - Loyola's first in Division I - Cottle never had another losing season. The Greyhounds have qualified for NCAA tournament play the past 14 seasons.
A native of Baltimore, Cottle graduated from Northern High School and Salisbury State before getting into coaching in the late 1970s. He spent two seasons at Salisbury as a graduate assistant before coaching the Severn School to back-to-back Maryland Scholastic Association championships in the early 1980s.
Although Cottle quickly established and maintained a winning tradition at Loyola, the Greyhounds have been known for some notable playoff flops in recent years.
In May 2000, fifth-seeded Loyola dropped a first-round game to 12th-seeded Notre Dame, a first in NCAA tournament history. A year earlier, the Greyhounds became the first top-seeded team to lose to a No. 8 seed, when Syracuse beat what many considered to be Cottle's most talented team.
Under Cottle, the Greyhounds appeared in nine NCAA tournament quarterfinal games, but advanced to the final four just twice, without winning a national title.
In Loyola's last trip to the final four, in 1998, the Greyhounds were upset by Maryland in the semifinals. In Loyola's only appearance in the national championship game, in 1990, the Greyhounds lost to Syracuse, which was led by an All-America midfielder named Gary Gait.
Among the candidates Loyola is expected to pursue are Rutgers coach Bill Dirrigl and Notre Dame assistant Kevin Anderson. Dirrigl was a longtime assistant under Cottle who left Loyola after the 2000 season. Anderson played for Cottle at Loyola.
The Cottle file
High school: Northern
College: Salisbury State
NCAA coaching record: In 19 years at Loyola, Cottle posted an overall record of 181-70, good for third-highest winning percentage (.721) among active coaches.
Winning seasons: 18
NCAA tourney appearances: 14
Final Four appearances: 2