Blogs and Commentary

posted 02.10.2012 at 12.50 p.m. by Corey McLaughlin

Tambroni, Pietramala Reunited on U.S. Staff

Party like it's 1999.

It might just be time for pre-Y2K flashbacks for Dave Pietramala and Jeff Tambroni, who on Friday were two of the three coaches named assistants to Team USA head coach Richie Meade for the 2014 FIL World Championships, hosted by US Lacrosse in Denver. Current Lehigh coach Kevin Cassese, who had coached the U.S. men's training team since the fall of 2010, was announced as the third member of the assistant coaching staff. Meade was hired as national team coach in December.

Pietramala, the 12th-year Johns Hopkins coach, and Tambroni, in his second season at Penn State, worked together for three seasons at Cornell when Pietramala was head coach in Ithaca. Tambroni served as an assistant from 1997-2000 before Pietramala left to become head coach at his alma mater in Baltimore. Tambroni replaced him and went on to lead the Big Red to three final fours, while Pietramala's Blue Jays' won national titles in 2005 and 2007.

They share respect for each other, with last preseason Pietramala telling of Tambroni taking over in Happy Valley, "He'll have them back on their feet in no time. Some people are saying, 'Well, It's going to take time.' Everything takes time. He's good at what he does."

Which is basically what Meade sought in his assistant coaching staff, along with coaches that had a familiarity with each other.

"We want to attract quality coaches and put together a good staff that has a lot of continuity and can work together," Meade said in an interview upon being hired.

No problem there with Pietramala and Tambroni. In their applications, each expressed a strong desire to work with Meade, the former Navy coach.

"An opportunity to represent the United States of America in the sport of lacrosse would be the ultimate coaching honor," Tambroni said. "Furthermore, the opportunity to work alongside one of the game's premier coaches and leaders in Richie Meade and the game's top players would provide an invaluable learning experience."

Pietramala, an outspoken supporter of Meade's after he was forced to resign at Navy after last season, reiterated his support with a personal tone.

After Pietramala explained his familiarity with both Major League Lacrosse and college players that will make up the tryout pool and his coaching philosophy, he said, "Lastly, the chance to work with and alongside Coach Meade would bring me great joy. Coach is a man I respect as a competitor and more importantly as a human being. It would bring me great joy to see him hoist a gold medal and finish his career on the right note, as well as possibly rekindle a career that still has a few chapters left. I would consider it one of the great accomplishments of my career to stand on the same sideline as Coach Meade and represent the United States of America."

Cassese, who has been involved with the U.S. national teams program as a player or coach since 1998, explained his insight gleaned during through his international experience. He played for the 1999 U.S. U19 men's team and went on to become a three-time member of the U.S. men's national team (2002, 2006 and 2010). He was co-captain of the 2010 team that regained the gold medal from Canada in Manchester, England.

"While I am not proud that I was a member of the 2006 team that won silver in Canada, I will say that it was an incredible learning experience and I am glad that I have that experience under my belt. It was by far the worst feeling I've had in my lacrosse career, and it motivated me to make sure that Team USA never settled for anything but the very best moving forward. During that year, I learned a lot about what not to do as a leader of this team," Cassese said.

The fifth-year coach at Lehigh has the most MLL experience of any of the coaches, having played in the outdoor pro league for seven seasons. Since 2010, he has also coached Team USA at US Lacrosse events such as Champion Challenge and Stars & Stripes.

"Even though these are the top players in the game, they still need to be coached and in fact, want to be coached," Cassese said. "Players and coaches all need defined roles, and they need to know why their roles are highly important to the team's mission of winning a gold medal."