Notebook: Rutgers rallies in support of suspended coach Brecht

Petition backing former Loyola U. assistant presented to university president; Collins appointed as interim coach

April 25, 2013

Rutgers men's lacrosse players and parents expressed loyalty to suspended coach Brian Brecht at a meeting with university President Robert L. Barchi on Tuesday.

A large group of players — dressed in khakis and suit jackets — and their parents met with Barchi on Tuesday. At the meeting, the group presented Barchi with a petition that contained between 800 and 1,000 signatures in support of Brecht, a former Loyola University assistant, a source at the meeting said. The source also said there were an estimated 50-plus people in attendance at Tuesday's meeting.

The source described the result as no closer to a decision on Brecht's status but said the dialogue between parents and Barchi was "clear and honest."

Players on the team are also affixing "BB" stickers to their helmets — above the word "Rutgers" across the back — in support of the suspended coach.

Brecht was suspended with pay last week over allegations of verbal abuse. The action comes in the wake of the high-profile suspension of men's basketball coach Mike Rice after video surfaced of him yelling homophobic slurs and hurling basketballs at players during practice.

In their season finale, the Scarlet Knights host Georgetown on Saturday. The team has interim coach Byron Collins listed on the game notes.

Asked on Thursday about the status of Brecht's suspension, an athletics department spokesman said: "Byron Collins will be listed as the interim head coach until further notice. There has been no timeline set for the investigation."

•Albany's Lyle Thompson missed Tuesday's 10-9 loss to Siena to be with his girlfriend, who was pregnant with their second child. His girlfriend gave birth to a girl, Mercy Miles Thompson, shortly before noon Thursday.

The sophomore attackman is in the midst of a potential Tewaaraton Award season; he's 25 points shy of the Division I record of 114 that UMBC attackman Steve Marohl (South River) set in 1992.

The situation underscores how important Thompson is to the Great Danes, a point echoed by former Albany goalie Brett Queener, who has coached Thompson — and against him.

"As far as the most valuable player goes, got to look at what the team can do without him. To me, a loss to Siena speaks volumes to how important he is, compared to his being there for a win over, say, UMBC," Queener said.

Lyle's brother Miles Thompson (concussion) also missed Tuesday's game. Coach Scott Marr did not immediately respond Thursday to an inquiry about his condition.

•What impact does a lopsided regular-season loss have on a team's postseason chances?

Cornell beat Colgate, 19-3, in one of the more alarming results of the season. The good news: 46 teams have made the NCAA tournament since 1993 after sustaining losses of 10 goals or more, according to research from Inside Lacrosse's Christian Swezey. That includes three teams with 15-goal losses.

Colgate's path to the tournament comes this weekend in the Patriot League tourney, where the Red Raiders take on Lehigh in the first round.

The possible bad news: Dating to 1993, no team has lost by 16 and reached the NCAA tournament.

•Coaches have praised Princeton junior midfielder Tom Schreiber all season, with North Carolina assistant Chris Feifs (Maryland) calling him "the best midfielder we've faced all year."

What makes him so dominant?

Brian Coughlin, who does statistical-based research for D-I programs and writes for Inside Lacrosse, found that Schreiber has the ball in his stick only one-fifth of the time he's on the field and is averaging 2.7 touches per possession (in games charted).

Schreiber leads an offense ranked second in the nation in offensive efficiency as the Tigers enter their game against Cornell in the Big City Classic on Saturday.

When Schreiber is on the field, which is approximately three-fourths of the time on offense, he is one of the "top three most dangerous offensive players in the country," as Feifs put it.

According to Coughlin, in Princeton's televised games, two of which were against top-15 defenses in Syracuse and Johns Hopkins, Princeton scored on 53 percent of its possessions when Schreiber was on the field (the national scoring average is 33 percent), compared with 35 percent when he was on the bench.

Even though Schreiber draws a long-stick defender on more than 93 percent of six-on-six possessions, he still is able to draw a slide at an impressive rate — once every four touches against man-to-man defenses.

He is on a 29-game point streak, which is the longest active run of any midfielder in the nation.

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