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Former Maryland coach defined by numbers

It goes without saying that Maryland’s 7-5 loss to unseeded Notre Dame in a NCAA Tournament quarterfinal likely doomed coach Dave Cottle from getting a new contract from the school.

The university and the program’s backers have hungered for a national championship to return to College Park for the first time since 1975, and Cottle annually welcomed recruiting classes ranked among the top five in the country.

Just by the numbers, Cottle achieved considerable success since joining the Terps from Loyola prior to the 2002 season. The team went to eight consecutive NCAA Tournaments – the second-longest active streak behind Johns Hopkins’ streak of 39 – and three Final Fours.

Cottle compiled a 99-45 record with the school (280-115 overall), posted seven straight years of 10 wins or more, and helped Maryland capture two Atlantic Coast Conference titles.

The Terps, however, tended to stumble in May. In both 2003 and 2005, they were pasted by Virginia and Duke, respectively, in the national semifinals. In 2006, Maryland dropped an 8-5 decision to unseeded Massachusetts in the Final Four – a devastating outcome for a senior-laden team.

In the end, as Virginia coach Dom Starsia noted, there’s only one that matters.

"The number that counts at schools like Virginia and Hopkins and Maryland is the No. 1," Starsia said Sunday after his top-seeded Cavaliers edged No. 8 seed Stony Brook in a NCAA Tournament quarterfinal. "You have to be No. 1 once in a while. When we moved my dad to Charlottesville in 1998, I had been there since 1993 and we had been in overtime of the NCAA finals twice. And I thought, ‘Oh, this is great. We’re going to move my dad to Charlottesville and I’m going to get fired.’ We were able to break through in ’99 and win a championship. I think we all understand there’s a bottom line here. I just wish that everybody could be in Dave Cottle’s shoes for a couple days. We get to this point in the playoffs, we’re at the quarterfinals, we’re at Stony Brook. John Desko [of Syracuse] is home, Joe Breschi [of North Carolina] is home, Maryland’s home, we almost went home. It’s really hard. I’m sure Maryland’s a little frustrated. They haven’t held the trophy at the end of the tournament oin a while. But I will say this: whoever is going to be the coach at Maryland is going to have a hard time because none of us are going to lay down for him."

Posted by Edward Lee at 6:00 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Maryland


Dave Cottle has been successful
everywhere he has coached and is one of the best lacrosse coaches in the past 20 years. He basically put Loyola on the map prior to coming to College Park and posting a won-loss record that many schools and coaches would die for.

He also is a good person. On a personal note, I played for Dave pack in 1979 and 1980 when
he was the assistant coach at Salisbury State University. I saw him 20 years later in Ocean City. Actually, he saw me and yelled out to me. I was floored. After all these years and all these guys coming through his programs, he remembered me. It said something.

If Cottle does not have something already lined up, it will not take much time for him to land another head coach position.

Mike Pressler?
Head coach at Stoney Brook?
Head coach at Cornell?

here are you #'s. they tell the story of a failed era . . .

2-7 vs. hopkins
5-12 vs. uva
6-7 vs. puke
4-5 vs. navy

17-31 vs. anyone we care about.

Yes, Dave Cottle is a great guy. No one will ever dispute that, that knows Dave Cottle. Dave will be successful for another program where success is measured by getting into the tournament and maybe making the final four as he did for Loyola but this is the Uof Md. and the expectations are much higher. For 35 years we have been waiting for that championship and what we have gotten is a couple of great guys who can't win in May.

I have been a lacrosse fan since the 60's. At that time, there were only three teams that mattered -- Hopkins, Maryland and Navy. Every once in awhile, Virginia or Army would beat one of them, but not often. I think the growth of lacrosse is great. You have teams like Syracuse, Virginia, Carolina, Duke, Princeton, etc., that have their runs, and Hopkins is usually a contender. Maryland just can't get over the hump. I watched Saturday's loss to Notre Dame, and found myself just shaking my head. Maryland not only lost, they were never really in the game (despite closing to within two goals). They were totally clueless on offense. They spent the entire game just passing the ball around the perimeter. I didn't see any successful set plays. I saw no changes in strategy to compensate for what ND was doing. Nothing. No adjustments. All they did was throw the ball around the outside until one of the players dropped the ball or made a bad pass. Pathetic. You never had the feeling they were going to score. I agree that Cottle's numbers are good, on the face of it. But the poster above who listed the Terps record against the teams we really care about: Hopkins, Virginia, Navy and Fuke, nailed it. Wins are important, but what's more important is who are they against, and when. As in, were they in the Final Four? I'm glad to see Cottle go. I'm sure he'll get a new job soon, if he wants one. I wish him luck. I also wish I could see Maryland win the title again.

Dave Cottle never has been able to win the big one. He can get you to the prom, but his teams will never be named prom queen. The sad part of this story however, is that Yow never should have named him as Edell's replacement. Only now do I realize what her motives were, a successful coach with a decent recruiting approach at a cheap salary. It's interesting to hear Gary Gait's name mentioned when she shunned him 9 years ago! Does she think he would come to MD? She better be willing to pay better money to lure anyone of stature!

MD will wait for a very long time for a title. You are the 4th choice among ACC schools for HS players, not to mention other schools. You are not the only ones that want a title. The alumns of other schools want it and so do the presidents. I notice that you guys left out his record against UNC. Your next coach may have a better record against Navy or Hop, bc they are down and I do not see the quick bounce back that others are calling for from either of them, but the next coach will fare far worse against UVA, Duke and Carolina. Good luck to you.You are going to need it.

The nonrenewal of Dave Cottle's contract is not merely because of the wins and losses. It is about bringing new blood into the program. Coaches can't expect to have lifelong employment in these positions. The little empires that they build with recruiting camps - like Cottle's 205 camp that uses the UMd campus facilities- and other extra-curricular ventures make for an unhealthy amount of power in the coach. The solution for the institution is to change coaches every 10 years or so. That only makes sense.

About what will make the Maryland program better - they can start recruiting top quality MARYLAND players. Kids in Maryland want to go to UMD. We have the best talent in the country in Maryland. The ENTIRE team should be made up of players from the State of Maryland.

In addition, the team should have minimum academic standards that are ELITE. No more rockheads/party boy lax bros. Maryland should try to establish itself as a program that does not recruit kids unless they can meet standards like an 1100 on SAT's and a 3.0 GPA. There is no real pro lacrosse career. Maryland needs to look to the future and recognize that the lacrosse program is a great place to have kids who will excel in life and eventually perhaps become big supporters of the school financially. This is about making the lacrosse program a real GEM in terms of turning out GREAT ALUMNI. Forget the wins and losses and focus on the QUALITY of the MEN graduating from the program.

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About Faceoff
Faceoff is The Baltimore Sun's blog devoted to college and high school lacrosse. Faceoff contributors include Sun reporters Edward Lee, Mike Preston and Katherine Dunn.

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