After the official announcement from Virginia, we can finally update our Coaching Carousel Big Board and add the Wahoos. The Cavs join a crowded field looking for a new BOSS.
|Princeton||Ivy||Chris Bates will not return. Matt Madalon named interim head coach.|
|Vermont||America East||Ryan Curtis stepped down. No interim/acting head coach named.|
|Binghamton||America East||Scott Nelson will not return. No interim named.|
|Hartford||America East||Peter Lawrence stepped down. Associate head coach Ryan Martin named interim head coach.|
|UMBC||America East||Don Zimmerman retired. BOSS Zimmerman retires on July 1, 2016. There is nothing mentioned in the school release about an interim/acting coach.|
|Jacksonville||SoCon||Guy Van Arsdale will not return. Alex Lopes named acting head coach.|
|Virginia||ACC||Dom Starsia will not return. No interim named.|
We are going to focus on Princeton in this edition of our Coaching Carousel series. Jacksonville and Virginia should be up next week.
- How we got here. Princeton and former head coach Chris Bates parted ways on April 6th after an on-field incident on April 2nd involving an opposing player on Brown.
- In the interim. Princeton named Offensive coordinator Matt Madalon interim head coach for the remainder of the 2016 season. Madalon should be commended for effectively steering the ship during a tumultuous time at Old Nassau. After the April 6th announcement, Madalon went 3-2 the rest of the way, losing only to Stony Brook & Harvard. Princeton capped off the season with an emotional 7-6 win over Cornell.
Princeton was upfront that a national search is being conducted to find a permanent replacement for Bates, which will probably result in a new coach other than Madalon before the 2017 season. Nevertheless, I think BOSS Madalon handled the situation admirably. Going 3-2 with a team that went 2-6 before he took over reflects well as a coach. Keeping the team together reflects well on him as a leader. I think what Madalon did was impressive and hope he gets a permanent head coaching opportunity at Princeton or elsewhere in the near future.
- Conference/National Standings. This isn't the 90s-early 00s. Princeton has not been a yearly contender for the Ivy League crown/Championship Weekend since Bill Tierney left for Denver after the 2009 season. During that time, teams like Yale & Brown have supplanted the Tigers on the Ivy Throne. Additionally, despite a couple lean years recently, Cornell is still one of the top programs in the conference/nationally, and made 2 Final Fours and 2 QFs since 2010. Moreover, just making the Ivy League Tournament is more difficult now, as Penn and Harvard have become perennial contenders for one of the four slots in recent years.
All was not horrible since Tierney left. The Tigers made the Big BBQ twice (2010 & 2012) and were arguably snubbed for a spot last year. However, they also had 2 sub-.500 seasons (2011 & 2016), a 7-6 season, and haven't demonstrated that consistency of success they enjoyed for nearly two decades under Tierney.
With the right coach, Princeton could rebound quickly and be a player in the conference and maybe event nationally in 2-3 years. However, if I were a betting man (#WeDoNotEndorseGambling), I wouldn't wager that Princeton will be the national hegemonic force it was from 1990-2002 (6 titles & 8 title games) anytime soon.
That has nothing to do with Princeton really and more to do with the fact there are just more competitive teams around the country than there 15, 10, or even 5 years ago. Moreover, the Tigers have to contend with more teams in the Ivy than just Cornell, as the conference is 6 deep now, with Princeton looking up at the leaders. As my man Slim Charles said, the game the same, it just got more fierce.
- Recruiting. Princeton is blessed to be in the most fertile region of the country for blue chip recruits. New Jersey produces some of the best talent in the country, which gives the Tigers a deep well of BALLERS from which to draw. Moreover with Southeast PA/Philly and Southern NY/NYC/Long Island as neighbors, Princeton needn't travel far to access even more talent rich hotbeds.
Being in a region blessed with talent does mean Princeton has to compete with regional and national powers, however, it's always better to be in a region with a deep pool of HS players than not. Moreover, Princeton's world renowned reputation as one of the best universities in the world is an enormous card in their advantage. Additionally, while they can't give out out athletic scholarships, Princeton has one of the most generous student aid packages in the country which is something in the recruiting arsenal not many schools can match.
Let's put it this way, if I were a HS BALLER, my mom would fall over laughing and then go to the courthouse to disown me if I didn't answer/return a call from Princeton. While it's not like the old days and there are more teams competing for NJ/Mid-Atlantic talent, Princeton is still a major player in the recruiting game and kids are going to take notice if the Tigers come calling.
- In-state & regional competitors. Much like the national scene, and the Ivy League, things are much more competitive in New Jersey and Philly/NYC/Long Island area. Stony Brook has come on in recent years and Rutgers had a breakout year in 2016 as well. Both SBU & Rutgers appear ready to join Hofstra as legitimate regional/in-state threats to Princeton.
Moreover, things aren't much better in Southeast PA, as the #PhillyPhour have become more formidable than in years past, and Villanova even took some talent away from Princeton last year in the Froccaro brothers. Additionally, though not as consistent the last few years, Lehigh is another team in the region that has had periods of success. As their in-state and regional competitors get better, Princeton's grip on the title as the biggest name in the region slips accordingly.
Moreover, while teams like NJIT and Monmouth aren't going to rival the Tigers right now, the fact remains that NJ is more crowded than it was in 1990, and with only a limited number of D1 schools out there and the pool of HS talent increasing every year around the country, it's only a matter of time before these in-state #Havenots get better and start nipping at the Tigers' heels.
- Would a BOSS want to go here? Of course! Princeton is one of the best schools in the world and has enough resources available to quickly turn around their dip since the middle-2000s. I think Princeton could get pretty much any assistant coach and all but 10-12 head coaches they wanted right now. Princeton is still one of the top 15 jobs in D1 lacrosse and pretty much everyone is going to at least answer the call if the Tigers are on line 1.
- Total baseless speculation. If I were Princeton I would look at someone like Greg Raymond at Hobart, Taylor Wray at St. Joe's, or Ben Deluca at Harvard.