Denver to Join Big East Men's Conference Next Season
from press releases
DENVER – The University of Denver men's lacrosse team will move to the BIG EAST Conference for immediate competition for the 2014 season, it was announced today. Denver will join members Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's and Villanova, as well as Rutgers, who will remain with the league for one season.
"The invitation to join a collective group of universities with such a rich tradition of lacrosse support speaks volumes about the recognition our program has garnered on the national collegiate landscape," said Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Recreation Peg Bradley-Doppes. "Additionally, the alignment with these institutions certainly fosters our belief in the academic enterprise as they are all considered among the finest in America."
"In this ever-changing world of college athletic conferences and being only one of two Division I programs out west, the University of Denver lacrosse program must stay at the forefront of opportunities that best serve us, as we move into the future," said head coach Bill Tierney. "The opportunity to align ourselves with some historically great lacrosse schools in a historically strong conference and to solidify the University of Denver's annual opportunity to compete for an Automatic Qualifier for the NCAA tournament, has made this an easy move to make."
"On behalf of the BIG EAST Conference I would like to welcome the University of Denver in the sport of men's lacrosse," said Georgetown Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Lee Reed. "Coach Tierney and Director Bradley-Doppes have done an incredible job building Denver lacrosse into a premiere program. The addition of a program fresh off consecutive Final Four appearances clearly makes us one of the strongest lacrosse leagues in the country. The combination of the teams from the BIG EAST with Denver as an affiliate member strengthens our brand in lacrosse."
The Pioneers are leaving the Eastern College Athletic Conference, which they have been a part of since the 2010 season. During the four years in the ECAC, Denver has secured three Regular Season Titles and one Tournament Championship. The Pioneers have also made the NCAA Tournament four straight seasons, including two trips to Championship Weekend.
"We thank the ECAC, for the opportunity to participate and represent them in the last four NCAA tournaments, for running a great conference tournament the last three years, and for their support," Tierney said. "We are extremely excited to be joining Georgetown, Villanova, St. John's, Marquette and Providence in 2014, knowing what a great challenge they will present the young men on our team. We are thankful that the BIG EAST offered us this opportunity and look forward to competing with class and honor for its championship for many years to come."
In four seasons, 14 Pioneers have been named First Team All-Conference, 11 have been named Second Team All-Conference, four to All-Rookie Team, one Offensive Player of the Year, one Defensive Player of the Year, two Rookies of the Year, one Specialist of the Year and two Coach of the Year awards.
Tierney Signs Contract Extension Through 2017
University of Denver men's lacrosse head coach Bill Tierney signed a contract extension through the 2017 season, DU Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Recreation Peg Bradley-Doppes announced this week. The contract, which is for five years, is retroactive to July of 2012. Terms were not disclosed.
"We at the University of Denver have certainly been fortunate to have one of the deans of collegiate lacrosse instruct our young men during the last four years and are so proud that he will remain at the helm in the future," said Peg Bradley-Doppes, Vice Chancellor of Athletics and Recreation. "With this extension we know our program is in the best of hands and will continue at the pinnacle of the sport."
Under Tierney, the Pioneers have earned four straight berths to the NCAA Tournament, including two trips to the Semifinals in the last three seasons. The Pioneers have a 50-20 overall record under the Hall-Of-Fame coach, including a 28-5 record when playing at home. Denver also has secured three Eastern College Athletic Conference Regular Season Titles and one ECAC Tournament Championship.
"I am thrilled that the University of Denver, Chancellor Robert Coombe and Peg Bradley-Doppes have shown me their support and confidence by extending my contract," Tierney said. "My short time at DU has been a fantastic experience thus far. Coaching great young men; working with my talented and loyal staff of Matt Brown, Trevor Tierney and Dylan Sheridan; being able to recruit many student-athletes who love our university; and sharing this experience with my family, colleagues, players' families and friends has been nothing short of amazing."
Since his arrival in 2009, Tierney has been named a two-time ECAC Coach of the Year and was honored as the 2009 US Lacrosse Person of the Year. The program recently received its first-ever United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association's First-Team All-American in senior Cameron Flint (Georgetown, Ontario). Joining Flint are three Second-Team selections, two Third Team selections and nine Honorable Mention selections under coach Tierney.
He has coached two players to National Player of the Week awards, 12 to All-ECAC First Team honors, 11 to All-ECAC Second Team honors and four to All-ECAC Rookie Team selections. Under his guidance, Denver has had one ECAC Offensive Player of the Year, one ECAC Defensive Player of the Year, one ECAC Specialist of the Year and two ECAC Rookies of the Year.
"This extension allows us to continue on our path toward an NCAA Championship after four NCAA Tournament appearances and two Championship Weekend appearances, but most of all it allows me to continue my career hoping to have an impact on the lives of young people as they compete, study and mature into successful and responsible adults," Tierney added.
The Pioneers are coming off their second-best season under Tierney, as they finished with a 14-5 overall record and a 6-1 mark in league action. Denver also secured its second ECAC Regular Season Championship and made a remarkable run to NCAA Championship Weekend, eventually falling to top-seeded Syracuse, 9-8.
"I thank all those who have supported me and our program throughout the first four years and promise an even higher level of excellence on the field, in the classroom and in the community," Tierney said.
Tierney has not only stressed the highest of excellence on the field, but also in the classroom. Under his direction, the Pioneers have had five student-athletes earn USILA Scholar All-America honors and 33 earn ECAC Academic Team honors.