June 19, 2009

Trevor Tierney Confident Dad Can Elevate Denver

by Theresa Smith | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

Trevor Tierney (left), with Denver Outlaws defenseman Tom Garvey prior to a 2008 MLL game. Tierney will leave his post as an assistant with the Denver Outlaws to be his father's defensive coordinator at the University of Denver.

© Trevor Brown

Coverage: Bill Tierney to Denver

* Bill Tierney Leaves Princeton for Denver
* Tanton: Tierney Changes Stripes, the Game
* Wiedmaier Wants Metzbower
* Metzbower Turns Down Princeton Job
* Man of the Hour: In Depth with Bill Tierney
* Trevor Tierney Confident in Dad, Denver
* DU's Brown: 'I Can't Wait Until September'

DENVER -- Bill Tierney's move from Princeton to the University of Denver sent shock waves through the college lacrosse community. Not only was the National Hall of Famer making an impact on a booming lacrosse community far from the sport's East Coast-based epicenter, it also invoked a special father-son relationship.

Trevor Tierney, the oldest of Bill and Helen Tierney's four children, will serve as an assistant coach to his father.

"I'm so excited," Trevor said. "It is going to be a lot of fun. I haven't seen my dad this excited in a long time. He is so fired up. His overall energy level has completely changed."

Trevor was along for the ride shortly after Bill rose from high school coaching positions at Great Neck South and Levittown on Long Island, to the head job at Rochester Institute of Technology, then an assistant position at Johns Hopkins and the head job at Princeton.

"This is nothing new to me," he said. "I've been going out to the lacrosse field with him and his talks with recruits since the time I was 3 or 4 years old, so it is a pretty comfortable atmosphere for me."

Trevor and his brother, Brendan, played for Bill at Princeton. A goalie, Trevor helped Princeton win the 1998 and 2001 titles, and Brendan, an attack-middie, was part of the 2001 championship team.

When Trevor moved to Colorado after graduation, Bill figured he would return to the East Coast after a couple years, but Trevor was hooked by the sunshine and the mountains. Commuting back to the East Coast during Major League Lacrosse seasons, Tierney played for New Jersey, Boston and Baltimore. A two-time MLL all-star, he earned best goalie honors for the victorious U.S. team in the ILF World Championships in 2002, and helped Baltimore capture the 2005 MLL crown.

In 2006, he was acquired by the Denver Outlaws, but a series of concussions forced him out of the game at the end of the 2007 season.

Outlaws head coach and general manager Brian Reese brought Tierney on to the coaching staff in 2008 as defensive coordinator, and Tierney stayed close to the game, running youth goalie clinics and providing color commentary for the National Lacrosse League's Colorado Mammoth.

Tierney will leave his Outlaws position at the end of the season to concentrate on his duties with DU: defensive coordinator and recruiting.

During the 10 days Bill Tierney considered DU's offer and the prospect of leaving Princeton after 22 years, six NCAA titles and 14 Ivy League championships, Trevor was an advocate for the Pioneers' job, but not overly so.

"I didn't want to be responsible for his decision, but I was telling him about the great aspects of being out here," Trevor said. "And he asked me if I would help him, and I told him I would."

His parents' plan to move to Colorado for retirement was accelerated 15 years, minus the retirement aspect.

"My parents have seen how much I enjoy being here, and we have a pretty good base of old friends from Princeton out here, so those friends have been calling up," Trevor said.

"Right now, it is a transition period for my mom and dad, selling the house and moving. When they get through all that, they are going to love being out here. I have never met anyone who moved to Colorado and doesn't love it, so I'm not worried about that."

While Bill is taking a risk leaving the security of Princeton to try to transform a western-based program into a national power, Trevor takes comfort in his Dad's experience.

"The thing people forget -- even coaches out there doubting his decision to do this and his ability to be successful -- is the fact that when he went to Princeton they were one of the worst teams ever," Trevor said.

"They were horrible. they could not win two games a season. So people think Princeton was this automatic place for him to do well, but it wasn't. It was completely the opposite.

"Here, it is a pretty solid team, great facilities and scholarships, which he has never had before. And DU is a great place for kids to go. Not to mention, there are so many great western lacrosse players playing the game. We can get a bunch of those kids from out west and a few solid kids from out east, and really put a great team together. The conditions are all there to be successful.  Now, we just have to get the job done."

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