Non-copyright infringing image of new Monmouth head coach, Brian Fisher, rubbing his stomach after eating too many oysters in an oyster eating contest.
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Monmouth doesn't start running wind sprints for real in Division I lacrosse until the 2014 season -- that's two fall ball seasons, one regular season, and a lot of bake sale fundraisers away -- but the Hawks will soon officially have a head coach to use the box of whistles that was purchased on pre-order at a rock-bottom wholesale price.
The pick to navigate Monmouth's way through early skull-crushings? Notre Dame's Brian Fisher, an assistant under head coach Kevin Corrigan for the last six seasons that helped the Irish reach all kinds of crazy heights despite the inherent disadvantage of being located in a state that values wheat threshers over traditional weaves on lacrosse sticks. Don't let me sell you on Brian Fisher, though; let important people from Monmouth University sell you on the hire (and, if you're lucky, a new insurance plan that will cover everything except acts of God and stupidity):
Dr. McNeil stated, "Monmouth was very fortunate to have a superior pool of applicants to lead its inaugural men’s lacrosse program. Brian Fisher emerged as the number one choice and gave us all the confidence that he can both start and lead our program. Like the beginnings of our football program, we wanted a head coach that had the work ethic, the knowledge, the contacts, and the right personality to lay the foundation for future success. I believe Brian is undoubtedly the best fit. Throughout the search, we became more excited about the possibilities of men’s lacrosse at Monmouth, and we are thrilled to have secured the quality of Coach Brian Fisher to lead us forward."
"This is an important addition to our athletics program," added Gaffney. "It will be very popular regionally; more so with our terrific new coach Brian Fisher."
Sold. Monmouth to the 2014 Final Four. Book it.
Fisher, after 11 years as an assistant (both at Notre Dame and five years at Rutgers), finally gets his first crack at guiding a program as a head coach. Assuming Monmouth will enter the Northeast Conference -- there's no indication that they won't (unless they suddenly decide to mail flaming bags of poo to their league mates just to see what happens) -- there's ample opportunity for Monmouth to accelerate their ability to compete on, at least, a league basis. Combined with a talent-rich New Jersey location, Fisher has the ability to build a program with local kids in a relatively short period of time and get it into a position similar to some of the league's weaker teams at a somewhat quick pace.
And that's not too bad.
On the other hand, Fisher is going to need to sell a program that only now exists because he's on the payroll (the school's athletic website doesn't even have a section for men's lacrosse yet). He can promote the ability to play in a league with an automatic invitation to the NCAA Tournament (assuming the NEC gets the "Alright, you can come play" this offseason), but it also comes with the caveat that the NEC -- compared to its league counterparts around the country -- is only a few steps above an intramural game played at a truck stop off of the Jersey Turnpike. This isn't going to be an easy job for Fisher, but he has ties to the region and has experience in program pedigree that bodes well for a university attempting to find its way through a difficult situation.
Best of luck to the new coach and nascent program.