May 9, 2011

Navy Coach Richie Meade Resigns 'Without Any Regrets or Apologies'

by Matt DaSilva |

Richie Meade led Navy to the 2004 NCAA championship game, but the Midshipmen have fallen back in the Patriot League pecking order and went 4-9 this season.

First Tony Seaman, then Richie Meade. Monday was a rough day for two longtime Division I men's lacrosse coaches.

Just hours after Seaman and Towson ended their recently-tenuous relationship after 13 years, Navy announced that Meade had resigned after 17 seasons.

Seaman and Meade engineered two of the most memorable NCAA tournament runs of the new millennium -- the Tigers' 2001 final four appearance and the Midshipmen's emotional journey to the 2004 national championship game.

But both teams have fallen from their perch as perennial top-20 contenders. Towson was 3-10 this year. Navy lost its final five games to finish 4-9. Neither team qualified for its conference tournament.

Meade's end appeared near when his former longtime assistant John Tillman, now the head coach at Maryland, exchanged a long hug with Meade following the Terps' 10-4 victory in the teams' April 8 encounter.

Wrote's Gary Lambrecht: "On this night, although no one would talk about it openly, Tillman essentially administered one more blow to the 17-year coaching reign of his friend and mentor."

Both Seaman and Meade have accepted offers to remain with their respective institutions, according to press releases. Meade is a full-tenured professor at the U.S. Naval Academy.

"After coaching 26 years at a Service Academy as both an assistant at West Point and head coach at the Naval Academy, there are many coaches, student-athletes and staff whose philosophy on life has been influenced by Coach Meade," Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said in a press release. "He is a man of strong character and is professionally dedicated to that which is represented through the moral, mental and physical dimensions of our mission. Coach Meade has been offered the opportunity to reach an even greater representation of the Brigade as a tenured professor for the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership, where he can share his extensive experience with our midshipmen at large. Although today he is leaving the playing field, educating in an even broader context for the Brigade of Midshipmen can be personally rewarding and to the great benefit of the Academy. Our gratitude will continue to be with Richie."

Said Meade: "As a coach I was very demanding of my players and held them to very high standards, so it's appropriate that the Naval Academy should expect the same from me. Lacrosse was a vehicle to teach the players about leadership. Through that I hope I made them better officers. Aside from my family, my most treasured relationships have been with the players I've been honored to coach. I've gotten a lot more from each one of them than they could have ever received from me. I look forward to continuing my association with the Naval Academy and leave my coaching duties without any regrets or apologies."

Meade compiled a 169-120 (.585) record in 21 years as a head coach at the University of Baltimore and the Naval Academy, including a 142-97 (.589) record in 17 seasons at Navy. Over that period, he led Navy to five Patriot League regular season and tournament titles and seven NCAA tournaments.

Navy will begin a national search for a head coach immediately.

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