June 10, 2010

Heart of Brown: Tiffany Staying Put

by Brian Logue | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

Lars Tiffany will remain at Brown after considering an offer to coach at Penn State.

© Greg Wall

Who knew getting offered a golden opportunity could be so painful?

Penn State is still searching for a men's lacrosse coach after former assistant and current Brown head coach Lars Tiffany turned down the Nittany Lions. Previous published reports have indicated that former Maryland head coach Dave Cottle and current Colgate coach Jim Nagle have interviewed for the position.

Tiffany began to carve his national reputation during a four-year run (2000-2004) as an assistant coach at Penn State, helping the Nittany Lions reach the NCAA men's lacrosse tournament for the first time in school history.

He loved the school, loved the area and knew of the potential of the program. He only left (for Stony Brook) six years ago because he wanted to be a head coach. But when offered this week the chance to take over as the head coach at Penn State, Tiffany was torn between a tremendous professional opportunity and a place even closer to his heart.

Tiffany has returned Brown to its place as one of the nation's top programs. In four seasons as head coach, he has led Brown to a share of two Ivy League championships (2008, 2010) and a NCAA tournament berth in 2009. But this decision wasn't about lacrosse. Penn State has better facilities, scholarships, a stronger regional recruiting base, and just about any tangible advantage over Brown you could think of.

What you'd think would be a great time in his life – being courted by one of the nation's best schools and having another fighting to hang on to him – was the exact opposite.

"I can't believe how miserable I was," said Tiffany. "I found myself saying, 'just disconnect and go. Get in a car and go,' but it just never felt right."

When weighing the Penn State opportunity, Tiffany looked at some of the words he had spoken when he was named Brown's coach – "I am ecstatic to return to what I truly believe is the greatest school in the world." Leaving for Penn State would've made those words ring hollow. Leaving would've made him question who he really was. Even the thought of leaving brought tears to his eyes.

He finally made up his mind to stay yesterday afternoon and then went for a workout.

"I was so happy," said Tiffany. "I was fist pumping the air like I had just won a lacrosse game. I just had a feeling of this is where I should be and this is who I am."

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