Bill Tierney played midfield or attack -- depending on the source -- for Cortland State way back when refrigerators were all shaded in various shades of vomit. He was a member of the Dragons' 1973 national championship team, not picking up the game until he got to Upstate New York as a student. Focused on creating death machine lacrosse programs at Denver and Princeton as a coach, Tierney has become known more for his lacrosse mind than his ability to smoke twine. Until now.
Tierney, a 63 year old grandfather with intensity lasers embedded in his eyes, is playing in the festival portion of the FIL World Championships in Denver, Colorado. Running -- I'm probably using that term loosely -- on attack for the Cloudsplitters, Tierney is looking to crush souls in the 60+ Masters Division of the event. This is an actual thing that exists:
"It's a wonderful group of guys, they took me in," said Tierney. " A lot of them don't know me and we really enjoyed the day. No egos, we moved the ball around, had a really good time and they have some really good players as well."
At age 63, Tierney is well-past his playing days at Courtland [sic] State but still showed deft touch with crisp passing along the wings and from behind the net. His movement and stick skills also managed to catch the eye of some current Pioneers.
"I definitely see his coaching translating onto the field out there," said DU freshman Colton McCaffrey. "He's out there moving pretty well and it's fun to see."
"I hope they do as I say and not as I do," laughed Tierney when asked about what his players might think. "Being with our entire Denver lacrosse family out here, it couldn't have been more fun."
I don't know what a lacrosse game featuring folks over 60 looks like (I'm assuming that nobody is allowed to play on a Rascal scooter, but I could be way off on that), but that hasn't stopped Tierney from putting on the foil and getting a little tilt on his lid:
If Tierney struggles on the lacrosse field during the tournament, at least he is fully prepared to run the obstacle course of American Geriatric Gladiators. But how does Tierney look in his team's full kit? Like a man fully intent on embarrassing opposing goalkeepers:
There's something remarkably appropriate about a Masters Division team with argyle patterns on their uniforms. It's almost as if the estate of Lawrence Welk had to approve the uniforms.
Tierney apparently has another crack or two at hoisting a trophy at the end of this thing. If Tierney's team is able to win their division, the cagey veteran may have a more successful tournament finish than his assistants (Dylan Sheridan is Thailand's head coach and Matt Brown is an assistant for Canada) and many of his current and former players (the Pioneers' fingerprint is all over the place on national team rosters). Give 'em hell, Coach!
UPDATE: Lacrosse Magazine just published a short feature on Tierney's participation. The picture of him causing a turnover is priceless.