Who Will Fill the Big Man's Shoes?

Who Will Fill the Big Man's Shoes?

Who Will Fill the Big Man's Shoes?

Who Will Fill the Big Man's Shoes?

When Dick Edell announced his retirement on September 3rd from the Men's Head Coaching job at the University of Maryland "our phones started ringing off the hook" said search committee chairperson and Executive Senior Associate AD/Chief of Staff Rob Mullens. He is in charge of a committee comprised of four athletic department employees and one faculty member who will work with Athletics Director Debbie Yow to decide on Edell's replacement. According to Mullens the committee is looking for "Someone who has everything. It is important that the new coach has a proven record in lacrosse." A group of eight players also met with certain candidates and Mullens said, "We value what they say." As it looks now there are three finalists: Current interim Head Coach Dave Slafkosky, current Men's Head Coach at Loyola College Dave Cottle, and current Maryland Woman's Assistant Coach Gary Gait. These three are unique and would each set Maryland on a different path.

Why would someone want to coach at Maryland? First, they have great facilities. The weight room is fantastic and the opportunity to play in Byrd Stadium is special. Second, they have a wide-range of major sports. If you go on a recruiting trip to Maryland you can be on the sideline for a football game against Florida St. or have floor seats for a basketball game at Cole Field house. When you go to visit schools like Princeton, Georgetown, Loyola, and Johns Hopkins there aren't those kinds of opportunities. Third, Maryland has a huge advantage in recruiting and scholarships for in-state players. NCAA Division I Lacrosse has a 12.6 scholarship maximum (Ivy's and the Academies have different policies). When the Maryland Head Coach shows up to the home of a kid from Boys' Latin or another Maryland school and says we would like to offer you half (scholarship) that means the player's family is left playing $5,606 (based on 2000-2001 numbers for tuition, fees, room and board). But if Mike Pressler from Duke comes to the door and says we'd like to offer you half that means the player's family has a remaining bill of $17,229. That's a big difference. Even if Duke offered ¾ the player would still be paying $3,000 less at Maryland. The final reason and maybe the most important one; you can win a National Championship at Maryland. Although they haven't won one in a while they have a tradition of doing so.

Current Interim Head Coach Dave Slafkosky has had success as a player and as a coach. He won a National Championship in 1974 as a midfielder at Johns Hopkins University under Bob Scott. Coach "Slaf" has been with the Terrapins since 1984. He has coached in two National Championship games each time on a different side of the ball. Slafkosky was an offensive coordinator in 1995 and a defensive coordinator in 1997. Although Slafkosky has been around lacrosse for years he lacks head coaching experience. According to former Hopkins goalie and current lacrosse commentator Quint Kessenich, Slafkosky is a smart candidate because "he would continue the foundation Dick Edell has put in place. That continuity is attractive." Unfortunately, Slafkosky was unavailable for comment because he was at the ACC Coaches Meetings in Greensboro, NC.

Loyola Head Coach Dave Cottle has met with members of the athletic administration and the players committee regarding the position. He said, "I am flattered that Maryland called but out of respect for Dave Slafkosky and our players I can no further comment." Cottle is a tough coach who demands a lot out of his players but has tremendous success. His record at Loyola stands at 181 - 70 in 19 seasons. He was an assistant coach on Team USA in 1994 that won the World Championship. Cottle was also an outstanding player in college at Salisbury State. The three-time All-American was only the second player in college lacrosse to score over 100 points in a season. Cottle is an excellent recruiter with heavy connections in the Baltimore area. Kessenich said, "His record speaks for itself. He took that program from nothing to a top 10 team every year."

The option with the most flair is Gary Gait. He has 10 NCAA Championship rings (3 as a player and 7 as a coach) and most recently a MLL championship. Obviously, winning is not a problem. The one question mark surrounding Gait is familiarity as a men's lacrosse coach. He has had roles as player/coach with Team Toyota for almost 5 years and Team Canada for 3 years. Gait does not see this as a problem though, "College coaching is a whole lot more than just on the field. It's about people, relationships, motivation. There are just different rules [between men's and women's lacrosse]. You are still coaching lacrosse. All you have to do is take the rule book and coach around those guidelines." Gait mentions people and relationships, which he certainly has. According to sources, Gait talked about possible assistant coaches in his meeting with the players committee, dropping such names as Casey Powell or Tom Marechek as offensive coordinators and John Gagliardi or DeTomasso as defensive coordinators.

Whatever Maryland decides, they need to do it soon. With the National Letter of Intent Week (November 7 - 14) fast approaching other top teams are making home visits, hosting official visits, sending out numerous letters and phone calls. The Terps current crop of freshman is not particularly strong so to miss another recruiting year could really hurt. Plus the Terps are in the middle of Fall Ball with Slafkosky and Jon Stainbrook at the helm.

So Rob Mullens, Dave Haglund, Rob Koonce, Kathy Worthington, Dick Corrigan and Dr. Charles Wellford (Professor in the Criminal Justice and Criminology Department) will soon or may already have provided Yow a list with information on each candidate. Together they have a big decision to make and one that could significantly change the face of college lacrosse. An announcement should come sometime this week.

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Gary Gait?
    by (#394) on 9/24/01 @7:12PM
I think both Cottle and Slafkowsky would be ideal coaches at Maryland. They've got proven track records, they are excellent lacrosse intellects, and they can impart their knowledge with skill and clarity.

Gary Gait on the other hand is a brickhead. To say he has 7 Championship rings at Maryland is misleading. The teams he has helped to coach have been stacked with amazing talent and ran away with virtually every Championship. I could have been a succefiul coach with them... and I know nothing about women's lax.

I have seen Gait "coach" and "speak" before and I have wondered how he could have graduated from such an excellent school as 'Cuse. He cetainly wasn't an english major. Besides, a great player does not always make a great coach and to say that he could get anybody he wnated to coach with him is conceited and presumptous. Gait didn't even have the presence of mind and decency to do what Cottle did and reserve comment for after the selection... oh well.

My vote is for Slafkowsky, but Cottle would be great.

Good article!!
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(no subject)
    by (#11000) on 9/24/01 @10:50PM
Rumor has it that cottle got the job today
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    by (#16859) on 9/28/01 @3:17PM
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    by (#16920) on 10/02/01 @7:38PM
cuse isnt a good school academically, esp. if your an athlete
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showing love and player hatin'
    by (#9702) on 9/24/01 @8:53PM
First of all this is the best written and most in depth article I've seen on this topic. Great job. Second, Gait is a good guy and will make an excellent coach. He doesn't even need those guys as assistants. He knows how to recruit (possibly the most important part of coaching) and he can teach skills. It doesn't matter that he hasn't coached men's lax extensively. Coaching is coaching. Remember Urick also coached college football and Edell coached college soccer. If Gait gets the job he will be excellent.

I have to give my support to Slaf though. He has been an assistant for 18 years at Maryland. The job should be his. He has earned it. Good luck Coach!
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    by (#181) on 9/24/01 @10:34PM
yo why would cottle leave loyola
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Cottle leaving...................
    by (#15035) on 9/25/01 @5:20PM
Cottle would leave for a few reasons.
1) It would be easier to get kids in [i.e. financially & academically]
2) More recruiting tools [i.e. a great basketball team and a decent football team]
3) More chicks to dangle in front of prospects
4) leave the Loyola 'Final Four' curse and
5) better athletic facilities
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yeah but...
    by (#9702) on 9/26/01 @8:57AM
Working for the AD at Loyola Joe Boylan is a lot better than working for that idiot Debbie Yow. She never treated Edell with respect and she is absolutly clueless about lacrosse. That is why her athletic dept. is so poorly run and why this search has taken forever.
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    by (#16859) on 9/28/01 @12:47PM
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