January 30, 2012

Spallina Named New Long Island Lizards Coach

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Joe Spallina (left) with Lizards assistant coach John Espey during a game last season. Spallina was promoted to head coach of the Lizards on Monday.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

Joe Spallina has landed his second new head coaching job in just seven months. The first-year Stony Brook women's head coach is now also head coach of Major League Lacrosse's Long Island Lizards.

Spallina confirmed the hire to LaxMagazine.com Monday morning, and the Lizards officially announced him as their successor for Jim Mule shortly after. Spallina was an assistant for Long Island the last two seasons.

"I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be the next head coach of the Long Island Lizards," Spallina said in a statement released by the team. "I have had the chance and experience to learn from Jim Mule the past two years, and I am forever grateful to have worked with one of the most famed coaches in MLL history.

"I look forward to bringing this franchise to the top of the MLL with a hard working dedicated style of coaching. It is an honor to be coaching in the MLL especially for one of the original franchises, and I am excited to make the most of this outstanding opportunity. I also want to thank my wife and four children for their unwavering support in adding this position of head coach of the Long Island Lizards to my regular duties as the head coach of the Stony Brook women's lacrosse team.

Spallina spent the previous four seasons of his college coaching career at Adelphi on Long Island, where he posted a 73-2 record and led the Panthers to three consecutive NCAA Division II national championships before leaving for Division I Stony Brook in June. He will continue to coach the Stony Brook women.

"We are excited to name Joe the head coach," Lizards general manager Casey Hilpert said. "He is a guy who knows how to win, and is around the sport of lacrosse all the time. We worked closely together this off season with our drafts and trades and he has a passion and a desire to win that I have not seen anywhere else."

The announcement of Spallina as head coach concludes a year of heavy turnover in the MLL coaching ranks.

Only one team -- the Hamilton Nationals, led by Regy Thorpe -- has the same coach that it did at the start of the 2011 season. Rochester fired Jody Gage midway through last season, Jim Stagnitta replaced Tom Slate in Denver, former Boston coach Bill Daye resigned after the Cannons' championship season and Dave Cottle took over the Bayhawks this offseason for Brendan Kelly, who still owns the team. The expansion Charlotte Hounds and Ohio Machine begin their first seasons with Mike Cerino and Ted Garber as head coaches, respectively.

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