I know that over the last few years, some college lacrosse coaches have lost their jobs due to underperformance. I’m curious if that’s the direction our sport is going if it continues to grow and attract attention like it does. Will we see coaches leave their current schools and jump to other schools because of conference affiliation?? This seems to happen every winter in the college football ranks; coaches leaving the ACC or Big Ten to head to the SEC or the Pac 12. A perfect example is Brett Bielema leaving Wisconsin to head to Arkansas. He just led his team into the Rose Bowl but decided that the grass was greener and more lucrative down at Arkansas. I wonder if the sport of college lacrosse will ever get to that point.
We have seen coaches replaced in the last few years at the upper levels of college lacrosse. After the 2008 season, John Haus was replaced by Joe Breschi at UNC. We saw Dave Cottle replaced at Maryland by John Tillman, after Cottle went 12-4 in 2010. Then Tillman went on to take the Terrapins to two straight National Championship games with most of the players that Cottle recruited. We also saw longtime Navy coach Richie Meade replaced after the 2011 season. Most of the reasons for coaches being dismissed are inconsistent win and loss totals, not advancing far enough into the NCAA tournament or not making the NCAA tournament at all, or the school wants a new face to try to turn the program around.
We are seeing more college lacrosse games being broadcast on television each year. Are schools willing to part with a long-tenured coach to bring someone new in to help turn the program around, or just to get more games televised? The Patriot League seems to have a television deal with CBS College Sports, and Johns Hopkins has a television deal with ESPNU. We’ve seen major college conferences start their own networks, or partner with a national television network. Does that mean we will see even more college lacrosse games on television? Also, does that mean more college lacrosse teams will see a cut from those television deals that their conference has? It seems that money talks in college football; it will be interesting to see if we will witness that same thing happening in college lacrosse. I honestly hope that it doesn’t happen, but with all of these conference realignments stemming from college football, it may have a trickle-down affect in college lacrosse.