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bill tierney

When Tierney Changed The Game

Bill Tierney and the Princeton Tigers of the 90s changed the way lacrosse was played. Was it for the better?

Watching Hopkins’ Greg Matthews at the X, when I was an 8th grader, inspired me to want to face-off. Brad Kotz was another. After the face-off, Kotz actually stayed on and was Midfielder of the Year for Cuse as well.

There’s a lot of other dominate teams of those times, but did they have an overwhelming offense and/or a shut down defense the way Princeton did with Christian Cook and company? Princeton really put together the perfect combination. That’s why Tierney’s Tigers own in the conversations for the best teams ever.

G.reatest O.f A.ll T.ime

They changed the game with their pace of play. That was the first pace of play. Tierney changed the sport when he took over Princeton and they instituted a defensive scheme that brought the unsettled situation to the offense. It would throw off the timing of the offenses that they were playing against.

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They survived on that with Scott Bacigalupo in the goal and they won games, 7-6 by playing great team defensive but most importantly the best part of their defensive team was that they invert the short sticks and slow the game down to a snail’s pace on the offensive end.

This limited the total number of possessions that each team got from games that were potentially 35-40 possessions per team, to 20 a game and now all the sudden they’re beating teams 7-6, or 8-7.

Next they win a couple National Championships, sign Hubbard and Massey, then they can start to beat teams by rolling the balls out and playing fast. But they still kept the same principal, when they were up by one with three minutes left, the other team never saw the ball. Listen that’s why Bill Tierney goes down in history, but Metzi should absolutely receive the credit for the offense. If he doesn’t get enough credit in Bill Tierney’s National Championships, I’m sure Coach Tierney gives it to him. The reality is, Dave Metzbower was every bit as instrumental in revolutionizing game control and clock management as Bill Tierney was on the defensive end and as the head coach.

Power to the Player

Obviously, they sit down they create the plan together. The reality is, when it made the transition from a player’s game, which is what it was when Gaits were at Syracuse, to a coach’s game, which is what it became in the 90’s and beyond, when Bill Tierney took over.

Hopefully we can get back to having it become a player’s game again. It’s what everybody wants. But now you’re not only battling an element of micromanaging from the coaches, you’re also having to battle the technology of the sticks. Where’s the incentive for teams on the defensive end to push out around the parameter and try to pressure the ball? A good stick check doesn’t necessarily put the ball on the ground. It may also end up with you in the penalty box. There is not a lot of incentive there to push out. The game may not ever be able to go back to be completely a player’s game again. For years conversations are focused on we speed the game up again. It’s called a shot clock. I think that its going to happen, because it has to happen.

Listen to the latest episode of IN YOUR FACE now:

https://soundcloud.com/lacrosseallstars/in-your-face-329-gotw-syracuse-at-notre-dame?in=lacrosseallstars/sets/in-your-face-laxcast-1

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