Dirrigl: The Man Just Doesn't Lose.

Dirrigl: The Man Just Doesn't Lose.

Dirrigl:  The Man Just Doesn't Lose.

Dirrigl: The Man Just Doesn't Lose.

Dirrigl is a native of Rochester, New York who stayed close to home when he played for Syracuse. He won a Championship in 88', a team he captained and the year he graduated. His leadership skills have shaped him into a fine coach and after stints at Loyola and Franklin and Marshall, he is taking on his first DI head coaching job. Here's what he had to say.

Lax.com: We don't know how much time you've had to assess the program, but why has Rutgers; a school with an established program, great facilities, and an excellent reputation floundered year after year?

Coach Dirrigl: I could answer that a few different ways. They didn't flounder ten years ago and I think the game of lacrosse, the landscape of college lacrosse has changed drastically in the last ten to fifteen years. Head coaches have full-time assistants; many of them have two full-time assistants. Rutgers, for many years has not had the full-time assistants and scholarships. I think what has happened is schools like Loyola, Duke, and Princeton and those type of schools which nobody heard of ten or fifteen years ago; they're starting to care about their programs. Rutgers has made a huge decision this summer. Their decision is that they're going to try and win. We're up to full scholarships and full-time assistants, so hopefully that will start paying off soon.

Lax.com: How many years will it take for you to make Rutgers a contender or do you feel you've got enough talent right now to win?

Coach Dirrigl: My first hope is this. We learn how to practice, we learn how to lift, and we learn how to care. After I can really sit back and judge that, I'll know more. I'll see how big the kids hearts are. If they're big, we have a chance to win and compete every day. I'd like to think that there's enough talent right now and that we can get better this year, but I'm not sure. Again, when we get into practice and it's tough, and weightlifting is tough, we'll see how they react.

Lax.com: Rutgers historically has recruited from a few key schools and milked them dry. Will you be able to broaden the spectrum and do you feel confident that you'll be able to draw top notch players?

Coach Dirrigl: I know this. I played at a high level (Syracuse) and won a championship and I just got done completing a stint at Loyola for seven years in which we competed against everyone(top notch programs) and recruited against everyone. When I first got to Loyola it was probably sixty or seventy percent Maryland players. Now the team is sixty or seventy percent New York. Last year, we didn't get a kid from the state of Maryland to come to Loyola. Lax.com: So, is that your influence? Coach Dirrigl: I would hope so. I recruited an awful lot for Loyola. That's why I got the job here. We went from a little Baltimore school that couldn't compete with programs like Johns Hopkins to kicking their... beating them. I think that every coach is confident when they take the job. I do believe that recruiting is my strong point. I do think that I understand talent. It's not just recruiting, it's recruiting good players. That's the difference; everybody says they recruit. It's those people who understand what a good player is and what a bad player is and I think I have that ability to know what kids going to be a better player in college than they were in high school.

Coach Dirrigl: I think the biggest thing that I'll be looking for honestly, and again I keep coming back to it. It comes back to how big their hearts are and how athletic they are. If a kid's got heart and is tough as nails, and he's a helluva' athlete; he's going to be a heavily recruited kid whether he's a high school All-American or just a starter on his high school team. We have to get bigger and stronger here. We're small, we have to get bigger and stronger...watching film, they(Rutgers) got pushed around every game.

Lax.com: The last thing you needed coming into your first year as a head coach was a slew of rule changes. Let's go through the rules and tell us who it will hurt, who it will help, and how you will adjust.

Coach Dirrigl: I think that in some ways if I'm able to adapt early to the rule changes as well as those coaches that adapt sooner than later, I will be more successful. The rules in some ways hurt us, but in other ways help us drastically because it will allow for those people who prepare in practice and understand the rules to help their teams come springtime. The rule changes hurt us a little bit 'cause I think with the talent at the midfield that Rutgers has with no horns on the sidelines your going to have to play middies the old way. With that in mind, people that have the athletes that we just spoke about are probably going to do a little better between the lines. It takes a little bit of the coaching out of the box with getting different players involved. I don't know how it's going to affect us. I know I think about it every night. I know every morning I get up thinking about it, and I know when I'm in my car recruiting all I'm doing is writing things down because those people who adapt quicker to the rules will be more successful. I had all 19 of my practices written out for the fall. I had to erase all of it because of the new rule changes. We're going to practice like the new rule changes make you practice, so, your're going to have a shot clock at practice. Your going to have to get a student manager out there to run the clock...The save is made, the ball is cleared, you've got forty seconds left, the kids are going to have to learn how to play with the time.

Lax.com: You've got ten seconds left on the shot clock, how will your players know?

Coach Dirrigl: That's a good question. It's going to be interesting. We don't know... It's not bigtime football my man, you know where everybody can say we need ten thousand dollars. We're not going to have a clock in each corner of the field. We're fighting for a two thousand dollar one that we can use in practice to make it more legitimate. If a coach is going to have to be calling out 10-9-8 I'll tell you what, I'm going to have a tough time coaching my kids....I think you'll see a lot more zones. After ten fifteen seconds if a team hasn' got a shot yet. Are coaches going to zone it all up?

Lax.com: Step outside of Rutgers for a moment. Do you think the changes are good for lacrosse.

Coach Dirrigl: In my short lacrosse career this is the first time I've been a part of such drastic changes. I think in '90 they came out with the first ten second rule and people fought it, but it turned out well. If it helps our game, I'm all for it. Again, I've been so worried about my first thought which is why does Rutgers suck? I don't care, it doesn't bother me, I've been taken' it from my brothers. Believe me, my brother can give it to me pretty good. I've never lost before, I've never lost, never! We've won ten games in three years here (Rutgers). We won ten games in the regular season my last five years at Loyola... People are bitchin' right now in the coaching world, but time will tell. There are a few things to look at. Are coaches going to have their players practice whipping the ball over the cage? Is that good for the game? I'm not so sure about that. I hope it goes well...We could be talking a year from now and the rule changes got Rutgers into the playoffs for the first time in twelve years. Then I'll be like, I love the rule changes.

Lax.com: You played under Roy Simmons JR. and coached under Dave Cottle. What are a few of the most enlightening things you learned from them on how to coach?

Coach Dirrigl: They are two totally different men. Roy Simmons was more of a father figure to his program. Dave Cottle is more of a coach, I want to say this the right way. Roy Simmons is a father figure to me and someone that means the world to me and the world to Syracuse lacrosse. He's a living legend in my opinion. The day I got the job he talked about my parents more than anything else because he knew how happy they would be. He knows where I come from and he knows how tough these jobs are to come by. That's the kind of guy he is. Dave Cottle is tougher. You know Coach Simmons, he had an air about him when it was game time. Coach Simmons was more about life and the world. You know, you can be that way when your at Syracuse, when you have all that talent. At Loyola sometimes we didn't get the top talent. We had to coach them. Coach Cottle was more of an X and O guy while Coach Simmons was more of a big picture guy. Both good people, but totally different people.

Lax.com: Rutgers has a long history in all sports of having big hopes that never seem to pan out. Do you feel alot of pressure to suceed from the administration.

Coach Dirrigl: There's no one here at Rutgers University whose going to put more pressure on me than me. Nobody's telling me to get in my car at 6 am and go on the road for a week straight. Nobody's telling me to be on the phones until ten o'clock at night. Nobody's telling me to do any of this. They allow me to run this program the way it should be run, the way a division one program should be run. Do they (administration) want to win? I sure hope so. I want people wanting to win. I think that's good. I want to win also. There's nobody at Rutgers or any of their alumni who have won more than me. I don't care who it is. In this game (lacrosse) I've won a lot of games; playing and coaching. I know what it's gonna take. It's gonna' take a lot of hard work and a lot of good players. We're only gonna' be as good as the players I'm able to get. That's the bottom line. Are their expectations? Honestly, it doesn't matter. It's more important that I get this ship going in the right direction for me. The worst they can do is fire me...I came here to win and if I don't win I'd rather not be here any way because that means I'm not good enough.

Lax.com: Will DeCicco remain as an assistant coach?

Coach Dirrigl: No.

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he means business........
    by (#3791) on 8/08/00 @1:34PM
look for rutgers to come on strong this year....
 
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What kind of business?
    by (#2419) on 8/08/00 @3:34PM
This is all a little too macho for me. I was at the SU-Loyola game right behind the Loyola bench and witnessed a coach discipline a player using, among other things, the F-word. If this was Coach D. (and I'm not sure it was, only know it wasn't Cottle), I'd head for another school fast. One Bob Knight in the world is enough.
 
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The F*Bomb
    by (#834) on 8/08/00 @7:21PM
Wait a minute. I don't think there are very many coaches, especially at the collegete level, that haven't let the F*bomb drop once or twice especially when they are frustrated. If it was Dirrgil he must been damn pissed. Besides, college lacrosse players are big boys. if they don't like it they have a choice and the ability to either take it or not play. i wouldn't discourrage anyone from playing for Dirg. I don't think it's fair of you to judge anyone(if that was even dirg) because of one incident.
 
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Pahleeze!
    by (#4169) on 8/09/00 @12:35PM
Using the F-Bomb at the college level is done everywhere. I played d-1 lacrosse and can say, without a doubt, I heard it from every coach, every game, every practice. Dirg has a great rep. with his players, please don't try to tarnish this with something that you "may" have heard him say. Knight Dirrgl comparison is laughable at best.
 
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(no subject)
    by (#4261) on 8/22/00 @1:08PM
THE ONLY THING I'VE READ SO FAR THAT IS LAUGHABLE IS YOU. I PLAYED FOR LOYOLA.. AND CAN TELL YOU, NOT ONLY WAS BOB KNIGHT'S BOOK AND COACHING METHODS RECITED IN OUR LOCKER ROOM, BUT WE PRACTICED HIS PLAYS AS WELL. YES, THE F BOMB IS USED QUITE OFTEN, IT'S ABOUT EVERY OTHER WORD HE SAYS ..BUT WHEN FANS AND LITTLE KIDS HEAR THAT TALK DURING GAMES, IT JUST GOES TO SHOW THE KIND OF CLASS,OR LACK OF, THE ORGANIZATION IS ALL ABOUT. THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT DIRRGL CARES A GREAT DEAL ABOUT WHAT HE DOES..BUT ALL RUTGERS IS GETTING IS A PISSED OFF CHEERLEADER THAT WILL TAKE THAT PROGRAM TO THE SAME PLACE HE HELPED LOYOLA TO....THE GROUND
 
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AND BY THE WAY....
    by (#4261) on 8/22/00 @1:12PM
I HEARD IT FROM A VERY RELIABLE SOURCE THAT THE ONLY REASON HE DIDN'T GET THE TOWSON JOB IS THAT HE ...JUST AS HE ALWAYS HAS...DROPPED THE F-BOMBER TO THE AD IN HIS INTERVIEW...."I'LL GET THIS TEAM TO THE F-ING CHAMPIONSHIP WITHIN 3 YEARS"....
 
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Don't expect F-word at Rutgers
    by (#4186) on 8/09/00 @8:00PM
Lets give Coach Dirrigl the benefit of the doubt on this. I very strongly suspect that his Rutgers players are not used to coaches using the F-word. I recently had the pleasure of joining the team on their Australia tour, and I was amazed that it was about the tenth day before I heard ANY curse word from a player--both with and without coaches present. When it did happen, the player got such a look from a coach that he immediately apologized. The Rutgers team is one of the finest group of young men I have ever been around and I coached basketball for 15 years. Coaches and players can get along fine without the F-word.
 
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Assistants at RU Who are They
    by (#3809) on 8/20/00 @1:54AM
Has Coach Dirrigl named his new assistants yet. If you look at Rutgers lacrosse website it still lists Andrew DeCicco. Although I wish he were staying, I heard Coach Dirrigl wants his own guys.
Andrew will probaly end up at Brown with Coach Nelson. Big mistake by Rutgers.
 
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Dirg
    by (#3155) on 8/24/00 @5:12PM
Having played for Dirg @ Loyola he is in fact a rah-rah type of coach. He means well and cares a great deal about his players. As far as a player @ SU, probably one of the greatest fogo talents the game has ever seen. As a coach he has seemed to have taken on Coach Cottle's negativity via osmosis. I wish him good luck @ Rutgers and he will be a good addition to a program that has potential.
 
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coach dirrgl
    by (#4512) on 10/02/00 @4:54PM
having met coach dirrgl and speaking with him a number of times, i must say that he does have winning on his mind. the respect that he has shown to myself , my wife and son who he is recruiting, has been second to none. he is a fine person who deserves the chance that all assistant coaches dream of, that is to have his own program. please don't judge him on his past doings, but wait for his own accomplishments the next few years. give him the chance he worked so hard for, he is a winner. rutgers is lucky to have him, my son will be lucky to play for him.
 
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