The University of Tampa will be fielding a lacrosse team in 2012. UT is an NCAA Division 2 team, obviously located in Florida. With Florida Southern, Rollins and Saint Leo already in existence, and the University of Tampa and Florida Tech adding programs in 2012, Florida is very quickly becoming the new home of Division II lacrosse. There will be 5 teams in Florida, and the University of Tampa will be one of them. This is a fact and everyone knows it. What everyone doesn’t know is that Rory Whipple will be taking the reigns at UTampa. And this is huge news that we’re breaking first.
Why is this huge news? Because Rory Whipple is the same guy that started the Bryant program and he’s also the guy behind the Florida Southern program, which is only in its second real year of full NCAA status and already competing. We’re sure FSC is sad to lose Coach Whipple, but they have to be happy to hear that lacrosse is growing so quickly at the Division II level in Florida. FSC will clearly need to find a new coach quickly, and rumor has it that they may have done so already by picking up Marty Ward. Ward was an assistant at FSC last year and was a two-time All-American at Limeston in Gaffney, South Carolina before heading to FSC. Talk about a nice coaching pipeline!
Rory Whipple is GREAT at getting programs going. Tampa is lucky to have him! And FSC looks like they are in very capable hands. If their relationship with Coach Ward progresses well, they could benefit from YEARS of him as the head coach and there is nothing quite like a young coach to take a program to new, unexpected levels. Seems like this whole thing is really working out for the best! Tampa adds lacrosse and FSC has a great young coach… what could be better?!?!
I emailed the University of Tampa’s SID for comment and the response I got was:
“We have not named a coach yet, but please check back and visit our web site, tampaspartans.com, for a full release at a later date. The University is excited about adding men’s lacrosse and we are in the process of securing a coach, and will have more information as we proceed”.
I’m sure there’s a good reason for all the secrecy but I’ve spoken with two people who are legitimate sources and the Whipple deal is done. It just hadn’t been announced. Well, until now! The Ward deal is not confirmed (still in 99% true but still a rumor phase) but seems to be pretty solid right now. Big news in the DII world!