US Lacrosse has named Richie Meade the Head Coach of the 2014 US Men’s National Team, and while the press release is chock full of information and facts, it doesn’t really get into whether or not this is a good call. Obviously US Lacrosse thinks it was a good idea, or they wouldn’t have done it. So that’s where we come in handy.
People on the doubters’ side will immediately point out that Meade has never won a National Championship as a D1 Head Coach even though he’s been at it for 21 years. They’ll point out that his win percentage at Navy was only .585 or that Navy often played a very defensive, physical brand of lacrosse, and then question if that will work on the world stage. But I think one needs to look deeper at what Meade has accomplished, and what he has stood for, before anything can be assumed from his lack of a college title.
Richie Meade coached at Navy for 17 years, and I don’t ever remember hearing his name seriously thrown around for any other job. Maybe it was, but I certainly don’t remember it. His love for Navy, and doing things the right way was always evident. The men that have come out of that program have been continuously impressive individuals, and often excellent pro players, on top of being active service members. Meade kept the Navy lacrosse legacy at an extremely high level, and while he didn’t win National Championships like the Navy teams of old, he accomplished something more important; he kept Navy Lacrosse on the right course. His dedication to the academy, and his country, was unquestioned.
To me, that makes him the perfect man to lead our national team in 2014. The International lacrosse field has gotten much stronger, and Canada will likely bring an excellent team to Denver. The US will need to be focused, disciplined, and playing together for a shared goal. Can you imagine a better guy than Richie Meade to get that done?
While at Navy, Meade wasn’t usually getting the blue chippers. There were some great players at Navy, but a lot of times he was taking something with potential and making it better. I would imagine trying to shape a US National Team is very similar. There is a ton of talent to choose from, but no matter who makes the team in the end, it will boil down to coming together for that one common purpose. Add in the fact that Meade can now dedicate to Team USA and the scenario only gets better.
Meade doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to play favorites, and I can’t wait to see what the team looks like. Meade could end up selecting a team of super stars and then focus on forcing them into his system, or he’s going to pick a team full of guys who are 100% willing to buy in from day one. Either way, I’m excited. Great job US Lacrosse!
Full Press Release is below. It really is filled with information.
BALTIMORE, Dec. 14, 2011 – US Lacrosse has named Richie Meade head coach of the 2014 U.S. men’s national senior team. Meade will lead Team USA in its title defense at the 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championship, hosted by US Lacrosse and held in Denver, Colo., July 10-19, 2014. He becomes the 12th head coach in the history of the U.S. men’s senior team program.
A 35-year veteran of coaching at the collegiate level, Meade most recently served as head coach for the United States Naval Academy men’s team from 1994-2011, where he led the Midshipmen to a 142-97 (.589) record in 17 years. In his 21-year career as a head coach, including four years at the University of Baltimore, Meade compiled a 162-120 (.585) record. During Meade’s head coaching tenure at Navy, his teams claimed five Patriot League regular season and tournament titles, appeared in seven NCAA tournaments and earned 39 All-America selections. In 2004, Navy advanced to the national championship game and Meade was honored with the Morris Touchstone Memorial Award for the national coach of the year. He also was twice named Patriot League coach of the year (2004, 2007).
Meade began his coaching career as an assistant at Duke University in 1977. Following a two-year stint at Duke, Meade made stops at the University of North Carolina (assistant, 1979-80), the University of Baltimore (head coach, 1980-83), Navy (assistant, 1984-88), North Carolina (assistant, 1989-90) and the United States Military Academy (assistant, 1990-94) before rejoining Navy as head coach in 1994.
“I would like to thank Coach Tierney and the selection committee for placing their trust and confidence in me,” said Meade. “I am honored and excited to be named the head coach of the 2014 U.S. men’s national team and look forward to facing the challenge of defending the gold medal for our country.”
“I have been blessed to have coached and trained our fine men and women in uniform for 27 years,” Meade continued. “I have witnessed firsthand their commitment, courage and honor. It will be in this spirit that our mission for the 2014 U.S. men’s national team will be to represent our sport with the same determination by which our military has defended our freedom.”
A native of Williston Park, N.Y., Meade earned his bachelor’s (1976) and master’s (1979) degrees from North Carolina. He has served as president of the Intercollegiate Men’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IMLCA) since 2005.
“Coach Meade’s selection resulted from much research and discussion of the outstanding group of candidates who applied,” said Bill Tierney, chair of US Lacrosse’s Coaches Selection Committee and former U.S. men’s national team head coach. Especially when we got to interviewing the finalists, all of whom would have done an amazing job, did the qualities of Richie Meade shine through. He has a long-established, successful career in coaching at Navy and his passion, dedication, and excitement about representing the United States aided him immensely in the final decision. We are confident in his ability to build a quality staff, pick a great team and defend the gold medal in Denver in 2014.”
“This selection is a great testament to many hours of hard work on the part of some of the most prestigious volunteers and staff members in lacrosse,” said Bob Russell, chair of US Lacrosse’s Men’s Game Committee and member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. “The selection process was clear, fair, and transparent to everyone involved. We have selected an outstanding coach and, more importantly, a leader of unquestionable integrity to guide this team from now through the 2014 World Championship in Denver. Bringing in Coach Meade is an unbelievably positive step for the team, the program, and lacrosse in the United States.”
Meade is scheduled to make his first appearance as head coach of the U.S. men’s senior team at the US Lacrosse National Convention in Philadelphia, PA. He will present a session on leadership Saturday, Jan. 14, at 1:45 p.m. He will also attend and observe the team in action at Champion Challenge, a US Lacrosse event, where Team USA will take on NCAA semifinalist University of Denver Sunday, Jan. 29. Assistant coach and support staff selections will begin in May 2012.
Mike Pressler previously served as head coach of the U.S. men’s senior team and led Team USA to its ninth gold medal with a victory over Canada at the 2010 FIL World Championship in England.
Warrior is the official equipment and apparel sponsor of the U.S. men’s national teams. Marriott and Nationwide are official sponsors of the National Teams Program.
About US Lacrosse
US Lacrosse, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, is the national governing body for men’s and women’s lacrosse. US Lacrosse is the parent organization of the U.S. men’s and women’s national teams program. US Lacrosse has nearly 375,000 members in 63 regional chapters around the country. Through responsive and effective leadership, US Lacrosse strives to provide programs and services to inspire participation while protecting the integrity of the game. To learn more about US Lacrosse, please visit USLacrosse.org.