“When you know, you know.” Denver Men’s Lacrosse Coach and Hall of Famer Bill Tierney announced that the 2023 season would be his last on Thursday night.
Coach Tierney coached for 48 years at two high schools and four colleges. His numbers alone would put him among the Mount Rushmore of lacrosse coaches. Denver’s press release laid out the numbers.
- He enters his final season with a 429-147 (.745) record
- 30 NCAA Tournament appearances
- 25 trips to the NCAA Quarterfinals
- 15 NCAA D-I Championship Weekend appearances
- 9 appearances in the Division-I title game and
- 7 national championships (a record)
- 14 Ivy League Championships
- 7 BIG EAST regular-season crowns and 2 BIG EAST Tournament championships
- Inducted into the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2002
Tierney has won and brought a standard of excellence to every program he has been to. Always making sure to leave it in a better place than where he found it. Tierney started his college coaching career at RIT where he led the Tigers to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 1983 and 1984. From there he went on to become an assistant lacrosse (and head men’s soccer coach) at Johns Hopkins University where he won two national championships.
In 1988 he was hired as the Head Coach at Princeton University. Tierney transformed the Tigers into a dominant force in the Ivy League and throughout Division 1 Lacrosse. Tierney would capture 14 Ivy League championships and six national championships in eight attempts.
In 2009, Tierney would make the biggest move of his career. He left Princeton to go out west to Denver. He told Inside Lacrosse that summer: “If I fall on my face and end up in a pile of snow, so be it. But I feel like I felt 23 years ago when I came to Princeton. I feel scared, I feel excited, I feel young. And these are all feelings that 57-year-olds don’t normally get the opportunity to feel.”
Needless to say, Coach Tierney didn’t fall flat on his face. He has led Denver to a 157-54 record, 10 NCAA tournament appearances in 13 seasons, played in Championship Weekend five times, and shocked the world when they became the westernmost program to win the national championship in 2015.
Coach Tierney opened Division 1 lacrosse to the West. Even more than all of the wins and championships, that may be his single greatest gift to the game. Coach Tierney embodied the Grow The Game mentality and spirit.
Thank you Bill Tierney for all you have given to the game. We look forward to following you and Pioneers in 2023.