Coach Dirrigl, A Family Man

Coach Dirrigl, A Family Man

Coach Dirrigl, A Family Man

Coach Dirrigl, A Family Man

Bill Dirrigl left Loyola as an associate head coach to become the head coach at Rutgers just a year ago replacing Tom Hayes. Rutgers had high hopes that Dirrigl, an extremely dedicated and focused coach, would lead their lacrosse team to glory after many stagnant years under Hayes. Dirrigl was everything they wanted him to be bringing in an impressive recruiting class and changing the attitude at the university. One thing they didn't want him to be was gone, but when former boss and Loyola Head Coach Dave Cottle took the head position at Maryland Dirrigl could not resist going back to what he feels is home. "For me, and I don't think people understood it, it was more than just a professional decision,"pleaded Dirrigl. He went on,"It's like I feel about my family, I had been here for ten years, ten years..Loyola College and particularly Dave Cottle were very good to me. They gave me a job out of Syracuse. I spent two years here not only doing lacrosse work, but doing my graduate work. Then I became the head coach at Franklin and Marshall..and then for the last eight years been the assistant and associate head coach and for me those ten years, the way I coached and what I believe in was too much to wipe away in my heart."

Those who had hoped Dirrigl might bring Rutgers to the promised land were disappointed and even upset. How could a man come in and make all kinds of promises to players and then leave only a year later? At the same time, however, Dirrigl made those same promises to many of the players still on Loyola's squad this year. " You've got to understand that I was in these kids houses," said Dirrigl referring to Loyola students he had recruited. The other thing people need to understand is the chronology that led to Coach Dirrigl's decision which wasn't made lightly. Dirrigl worked at Loyola for two years right out of college and after a stint at Franklin and Marshall went back to Loyola where he served as assistant and eventually associate head coach from 1994 to 2000. He had risen to a level of respect where head coaching was the logical next step, but Cottle had no intentions of retiring so naturally, he made the move to Rutgers. Only a year later he gets offered the position to lead a team that he invested a decade of his efforts into. Some may argue that moving back to coach a contender was the easy way out, but what's more difficult? Taking an average team and making them good or taking a very good team and making them great, one could argue that the latter is a much larger leap. It wasn't easy as Dirrigl explains,"The thing that's been the most difficult and to this day I don't feel good about it, and to be honest people told me it was going to pass, and it hasn't passed. I still think about the kids at Rutgers a great deal because I worked the livin' snot out of 'em last year an had them believe, and I hope they still believe, that they can win a national championship."

In fact, Bill Dirrigl still has very high hopes for Rutgers University. He said,"I truly believe this. Rutgers University has the chance to be one of the elite programs in college lacrosse. The facilities, the academics, and the administration are outstanding. They care about lacrosse there and I do believe we were on that path with the type of recruiting we got done there last year, the type of players we have there, I feel that in a couple of years Rutgers lacrosse will be a very big part of college lacrosse." Dirrigl believes that there's no reason why current Rutgers Head Coach Jim Stagnitta can't continue on the path he started due to the universities dedication. Dirrigl feels that Rutgers has shown that they care as he added,""I think the changes were made by the administration. The decision to go with full scholarships, a full time assistant, and a recruiting budget...uniforms, equipment budgets, the way we travelled...that wasn't because of Bill Dirrigl; that was a decision by Rutgers athletics that someday lacrosse would not only be big time at Rutgers, but in the state of New Jersey as well."

Rutgers and Loyola have both moved on so how are things going for the Loyola Greyhounds and Coach Dirrigl? Dirrigl has found the transition seamless and feels his players have as well,"For them, I don't think they've felt like it's been a change." Dirrigl was such an integral part of the rise of Loyola's program as Coach Cottle allowed him to take on serious responsibilities such as recruiting, making budgets, as well as coaching, etc. This prepared him extremely well to be a head coach and even better to be the head coach at Loyola. Dirrigl was hard pressed to come up with differences between his coaching style and Cottle's after spending so many years together, but he did offer,""I probably tend to be a little bit more on the defensive end...and becoming a fan of Bill Tierney(Princeton Head Coach) and how he goes about his business...I think I might stress the defense a little bit more or I just might be more comfortable with the defense where Coach Cottle is just a tremendous offensive coach."

Dirrigl knows he has a team that's lost some of his big guns, but he feels pretty good about the talent he has right now. Players he knows he can count on are four year defensive starters in Michael Stromberg and John Brasko. At the midfield he looks for Michael Sullivan to be the leader in his fourth year as well. He also pointed out that Stephen Brundage as a sophomore has a chance to be a really special attackman if he continues to work the way he has. Overall, he has the same questions that everyone else has,' "I would assume that a lot of people think that Loyola is, I don't want to say down, but we've lost a lot of big guns the last two years. The Battista's, the Goettleman's, the Horsey's, the Prout's, aren't here right now...or they haven't been able to get a chance to play yet. So, we're talented, we're just not very proven yet when you talk about a top five or six program."

Loyola has come a long way over the last decade, but early exits have haunted them in the play-offs with many picking them to finish better than they usually do. Dirrigl disagrees a bit with the question at all as he stated,"...ten years ago it was little Loyola College down on Charles Street, the little Jesuit institution with no facilities that couldn't play a lick. Now it's gotten to the point where a reporter's asking me why can't we win a national championship. Our program has grown dramatically. I remember being in Syracuse and the papers would always say that Roy Simmons (jr.) couldn't win the big one....It takes a couple special players, it takes some good coaching, and it takes a couple breaks here and there."

Dirrigl did however mull over some of the things Loyola needs to work on,""..there's a lot of good teams, and there could be a lot of reasons, but some have to do with you just have to play better at the end of the year. That was part of a lot of those teams. The bottom line is making sure that you're ready to play emotionally and physically at the end of the year as much as the beginning of the year. ...A large part to do with that is that we coach the kids so much and this is the way the breaks go at the end of the year. I think a lot is confidence. That's probably the biggest thing is just getting over that barrier of confidence and getting into the next echelon. Hopefully we can continue to grow on what's happened here and continue to grow towards a national championship, but two teams have dominated college lacrosse for fifteen years, dominated.(referring to Princeton and Syracuse)"

"My goal is to win a national championship, it always has been, but it's very difficult to do that."

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I'm with ya Dirg!
    by (#15026) on 1/08/02 @11:25AM
I hope you go all the way. You deserve it more than most. If those kids see how much you care about them and the sport winning should come easy. I feel bad for the Rutgers guys, though. They're truely losing a genuine individual.

Good luck this season, and..........
I guess.....

GO HOUNDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Genuine individual??
    by (#18837) on 1/08/02 @1:21PM
I do not see the benefit for William going back to Loyola. He will never get the credit. He coul dhave been the next Tierney if he stayed at RU. That program has fallen pretty low. The facilities, support and proximity make it the ideal place for an aggressive commited coach. RU has a faithful and dedicated alumni base. William alienated that group in a big way. A quality person honors his contract. Not that this type of thing does not happen in sports, but it really only happens in big tme sports and lacrosse is not big time.

I hope Stags gets it done, I have some reservations mainly on the recruiting side. I can tell you this RU will win it all before Loyola does. And we will all be saying William WHO?
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cry me a river
    by (#951) on 1/08/02 @1:33PM
you're nuts if you think Rutgers will win a championship before Loyola. for both it's a longshot, but Loyola is so far ahead of Rutgers it's not even close.

get off dirrigil's back already about leaving. it was such a better career move. would you turn down a promotion at your job because you didnt want to abandon your colleagues in the mail room?

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He's crying
    by (#1384) on 1/09/02 @11:24AM
cause he's obviously from Rutgers or still there. Look at his handle. He sure as shit isn't from Rochester U.

Get off Loyola's nuts slappy.

Little Big Fat
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re:I'm with ya Dirg
    by (#17305) on 1/08/02 @2:27PM
Anyone that had to move their family away from the place they call home would understand Dirg's move. It is a decision about a dream job, but more importantly about being in a place you and your wife consider home. That alone would make it impossible to turn down. Rutger's should have taken Coach Brecht for the Head Coaching job. He may lack experience but he was Dirg's right hand man, down to recruiting the 2006 class(which Stag may or may not hold on to, word is he did not). Brecht was able to see Dirg at work and could have kept it going. Now Loyola has the benefit of not only Dirg but Brecht too! Rutgers will do well but this is definitely a set back
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    by (#18837) on 1/08/02 @4:00PM
The only comments I agree with is they should have offered the job to Brecht for those exact reasons. He saw how William was doing it, and I do think William has the right formula.

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    by (#14048) on 1/09/02 @9:23AM
I like Brian, he is a nice guy. But if your trying to rebuild a program I am afraid I wouldn't hire him at Div III let alone Div I. He is very hard working, but that just means he puts in alot of hours...not that he is a great coach. Rutgers made a much better choice. Brian isn't even close.
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Hey Bunghole
    by (#16409) on 1/09/02 @4:23PM
Hey Bunghole, nice post. There's an opening for the Loyola mascot job. All you have to do to qualify is eat some Alpo and stand face to face with Bill Dirrgyl and withstand his spittle attack.
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Hey Bunghole
    by (#16409) on 1/09/02 @4:24PM
Hey Bunghole, nice post. There's an opening for the Loyola mascot job. All you have to do to qualify is eat some Alpo and stand face to face with Bill Dirrgyl and withstand his spittle attack.
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    by (#14048) on 1/09/02 @4:32PM
"Hey bunghole nice post"????? What does that mean..."Loyola Mascot"??? I said Brian Brecht isn't a top level head coach....what are you talking about????
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Bill Dreamgirl Sets Us Straight
    by (#16409) on 1/09/02 @4:19PM
People told Bill "dreamgirl" Dirrgyl that the guilt of leaving Rutgers would go away, but Bill admits in his first self-serving sermon since he bailed, that it hasn't passed. He probably can't stop thinking of all the BS he dished at the kids from RU and then deserted. He "worked the livin' snot out of 'em last year," but he didn't teach them a thing about class.

I'm sure it was a hard call for him. Thankfully, he has all the mental giants to defend him with the "you-can't-fault-a-man-for-bettering-himself" drivel. These are the same guys you'll find downing 30-packs at Loyola tailgates and waving their foam-rubber "Number One" fingers in all the sober people's faces.

The truth is Bill didn't know that the Loyola job would open up. And he didn't know he would be retreating after a year of convincing willing kids to buy into his plan.

I wonder what Dreamgirl's story would be if the Syracuse job opened up and he was in the running...."I've always felt it was my home and family and Syracuse is where my wife wants to live and I really like the color orange and Jim Brown has always been an idol of mine and I love domes"...

There was no mention in Dreamgirl's latest story about how RU has only two seniors and six juniors. It will be a struggle in 2002 when Princeton, Syracuse, Georgetown, UMASS, Towson come calling. Not to mention Penn State, Delaware, Army, Navy, etc. The truth is Bill would have struggled this year at RU. The truth is Bill isn't much of a coach. The truth is Bill didn't really create a "path" for Jim Stagnitta to follow. He was given more money, more scholarships, more support and he didn't do much more than Tom Hayes ever did.

I saw Rutgers play a few times last year. I'm intrigued by their sophomore class, who Dirrgyl had nothing to do with recruiting. Truth is, something like 12 class of 2004 kids committed to helping Rutgers rebuild, when no coach was in place. Most of them are from New Jersey. Six high school All Americans. Now that's class. One of these guys is in poor health but plays anyway. I saw both Duncan and Conforti play quarterback in high school and both are better than Ryan Cubit.

It will take time for 15 good players to emerge from this mix. Two seniors, six juniors and 12 sophomores limits the scope a bit. Dirrgyl's freshman class was a pretty good one, but it was imploded by Dreamgirl's desertion. Stagnitta's current class is key but this is probably the one area where Dirrgyl's move hurt most.

The freshman class that Dreamgirl brought in have to feel especially lame. I hear they are assembling a scrapbook of highlights of Dreamgirl's recruiting visit promises.

Two recruits have left. Georgalas, the son of the New Jersey Pride coach followed Dirrgyl to Loyola, the classic move of the ultimate suck up. "Gee, coach do you think I can be on the first line?"

GeorgeHalas probably got advice from his dad who was the brilliant guy who decided not to put a face-off guy out when his team was 3-men down to Rochester with a playoff spot on the line. we all watched as John Grant and one of the Powells threw in about 10 uncontested goals in three minutes to bump the Pride out of contention. Dreamgirl deserves this kid.

What I especially like about the latest Dreamgirl story is how quickly he started backpeddling about the Hounds chances in 2002. How classy.
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blah blah blah...
    by (#951) on 1/09/02 @5:18PM
get this billplayer character a box of kleenex. tell that sob story to someone who gives a flying crap. you must either be the father of one of the rutgers chumps or someone dirrigil used to beat up in high school, with all that built up bitterness and frustration. bottom line: dont select your college solely because of a coach (in any sport for that matter)
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    by (#1384) on 1/11/02 @10:28AM
Someone on this site is a little insecure about their manhood...

Get off my bean bag and quit following me around this site, you lazy-eyed stalker.

Better yet, go hit a wall and play for a real squad.

MC Victor
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PS Watch Your Language...
    by (#17874) on 1/11/02 @6:30PM
you dumb bastard.
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(no subject) (nt)
    by (#18907) on 1/11/02 @4:28PM
(no text)
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(no subject)
    by (#18907) on 1/11/02 @4:38PM
Dad..................give it rest, its old news, time to move on. Get back to work and leave the kids alone........I bet your kid can't wait for school to start, you must have been a real joy over the vacation.
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Get over it
    by (#7142) on 1/15/02 @4:54PM
People need to get over Coach Dirg's decision to leave the Rut and start to concentrate on what starts in a week...the season. It happened months ago and the gossip queens need to take a rest. The young men who were involved, or as one scholar so elequently put it, the "Rutgers Chumps" have moved on and put their faith in Coach Stags and Loyola in Dirgs. Whether his decision was right or wrong is now irrelevent and believe it or not, I'm pretty certain some guys on the team, while maybe not agreeing with his choice to leave, understand why he did it. Best luck to Dirg's and his Hounds, and to the guys at the Rut, let's get ready to go in a week.
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