Repercussions from Dick Edell's retirement were felt during the early letter of intent signing period, which has become as crucial in lacrosse recruiting as it is in basketball.
After 18 seasons as the Terps' coach, a neurological disorder forced Edell to step down three months ago. Maryland hired Loyola's Dave Cottle, and the Greyhounds filled their vacancy by bringing back former assistant Bill Dirrigl, who left Rutgers after one year. Feeling spurned, Rutgers waited the six weeks' notice mandated by his contract to release Dirrigl, so he had little involvement in the class that will arrive next fall.
"You can call this Charley Toomey's class," Dirrigl said of the assistant who served as the Greyhounds' interim head coach in the fall. "Charley allowed us to keep recruiting."
Toomey continued an effort that was started by Cottle, who got the last word with Joe Walters, an attackman from Rochester, N.Y. Walters considered Loyola and Maryland, before he signed a letter of intent to play for the Terps.
Cottle's first recruiting class at Maryland also includes Brendan Healy, a midfielder from Landon School who will be reunited with his brother, Ian; Patrick Howell, another midfielder from Northern Virginia whose athleticism includes football honors; and Bret Caretsky, an attackman who led Northport High to a New York state title.
Also expected to enroll at Maryland are area midfielders Scott Slossen (Boys' Latin) and Brent Hargest (St. Paul's), and Ted Murphy, a goalie from Connecticut.
Rayland Baxter, who played for Toomey as a freshman at Severn School, will follow him to Loyola. Baxter, now a midfielder for Suffield (Conn.) Academy, committed to Loyola last summer. The Greyhounds' other recruits in the class of 2006 include Carter Perry, another midfielder from Connecticut; Pennsylvanians Danny Miller on attack and Michael Graham on defense; and Dan Nolan, a defenseman from Albany, N.Y.
The Greyhounds also went to Connecticut for goalie Dan Glazer and midfielder Brandon Bailey.
Dave Pietramala extended some family ties at Johns Hopkins by adding the younger brothers of three current Blue Jays. McDonogh attackman Joe Benson is also one of the state's better high school quarterbacks. Midfielder Greg Peyser and goalie Scott Smith will come south from Connecticut.
Loyola High defenseman Matt Pinto will also attend Hopkins, where the recruiting class reflects the game's growth. Goal scorer Scott Spratlen and defender Josh Pico prepped in the East, but they're from Littleton, Colo., and Dallas, respectively. Noel Watkins is a goalie from Charlotte, N.C. Midfielder Kyle Dowd teamed with Caretsky at Northport, N.Y. Other defensemen coming in are Pennsylvanian Gabe Hirl and De Matha's Matt Nader.
Tony Seaman turned Towson's unexpected run to the final four into commitments from six players.
Boys' Latin attackman Bobby Griebe is a familiar name, since his father led the Tigers to an NCAA Division II title in 1974. Towson will start a senior and two juniors on attack, and it will try to replace some of that firepower with Fallston attackman Steve Mull and Severn midfielder Todd MacMullan, along with a pair of midfielders from New York, Matt Zando and Kevin Rutledge. Defenseman Robert Ogrudek is another New Yorker.
Other than Luke Powell, a defenseman from the Salisbury (Conn.) School, Don Zimmerman's commitments at UMBC have a local flavor. Midfielder Matthew Dryer and attackman Brendan Mundorf are teammates at Mount St. Joseph; James Hyland is a midfielder from St. Mary's; and De Matha goal scorer Andrew Gallagher will join his brother, Matt, with the Retrievers.
Mount St. Mary's did not announce any early signings.
Navy adds Goers
The demanding nature of its admissions process precludes the U.S. Naval Academy from discussing pending appointments, but the Middies are happy to talk about Mark Goers, who took over the assistant coaching vacancy created when Matt Hogan went to Penn. A faceoff ace for Towson from 1993-95, Goers was an assistant at Ohio State the past three seasons.
"Matt is going to work with our midfielders, then start to focus on the defensive side of the ball," coach Richie Meade said. "Hopefully, he'll become our defensive coordinator."
At Maryland, Cottle retained Dave Slafkosky and Jon Stainbrook. Dirrigl brought down Brian Brecht from Rutgers; Brian Lawton has completed his eligibility at UMBC, but will stay on as an undergraduate assistant.
Towson picked up a pair of transfers. Collin Meerholz had 17 goals for UMBC in 2000, sat out last season, and has two years of eligibility remaining. Defenseman Keane Kullum moved from Ohio State, and has three years left. ... Minnegan Stadium will remain under renovation next spring, but fans will watch the Tigers from the new seating that has been added on the north side. ... The Cottle era officially begins Feb. 24, when Mount St. Mary's comes to College Park. ... The NCAA tournament's first-round doubleheaders next spring will be held at Brown (May 11) and Delaware (May 12), the quarterfinal doubleheaders at Hofstra (May 18) and Hopkins (May 19). ... With the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion one of the six automatic qualifiers, Mount St. Mary's will push for its first NCAA appearance.