« Review & preview: Washington | Main | Review & preview: St. Mary's »

Huh? Penn State job over Maryland's?

Penn State announced Thursday the hiring of Cornell's Jeff Tambroni as its new men's lacrosse coach replacing Glenn Thiel, who retired after 33 years.

Tim Curley, athletic director at Penn State, released the following statement: "Jeff has established himself as one of the premier coaches in the country and his success at Cornell speaks for itself. He is the perfect person to take our lacrosse program to the next level and establish Penn State as a national presence in one of the country's fastest growing sports."

For Tambroni, this is an odd move. He's taken Cornell to three of the past four Final Fours and established the Big Red as a national power. He's 109-40 in his 10 years at Cornell.

Can Tambroni turn around the Nittany Lions? Of course. Penn State is coming off a 2-11 season. There is no place to go but up. The campus is perfectly located to recruit and the athletic facilities are among the finest in the nation.

But the bigger question is why Penn State over Maryland? Tambroni told a local paper in Elmira, N.Y., in early June that he declined to interview for the Terps job. But he then takes the Nittany Lions job?


It remains to be seen if Harvard's John Tillman was the right choice for Maryland. But with Tambroni taking over at Penn State after declining to interview at Maryland, Tillman clearly looks like the second choice.

Would you rather have the guy who led his team to eight straight Ivy League championships or co-championships, or the guy who spent the last three years chasing him?

Posted by Ron Fritz at 8:44 AM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Maryland


It is a lot easier to get wins against Ohio State than against Virginia, Duke and UNC. Maybe he just didn't want to go into a high pressure, high expectation situation. If Maryland doesn't win the ACC and make the NCAA championship weekend, the season is a bust. If Penn State wins half their games, he is a hero.
Not everyone thrives under pressure. Some people prefer an easier life.

I'm not all that flabbergasted by Tambroni's choice of Penn State over Maryland. Perhaps he saw that a successful coach got dropped and wondered how long his string would be at Maryland. Remember, Tambroni hasn't won a championship, either.

I am pretty surprised he chose to leave Cornell. Still, I would guess it's a lot easier to recruit at Penn State than it is at Cornell, considering academic standards and scholarships.

What is Tambroni thinking? Maryland and Cornell are way more prestigious than Penn State is or ever will be. I'm glad Maryland didn't hire this guy, I seriously question his judgment. Don't worry folks, the Ravens got turned away by Jason Garrett and clearly that was a blessing in disguise.

Sorry, but this post reflects a complete lack of research and insight. Other lacrosse news outlets have cited several factors that clearly played into Tambroni's decision to take the PSU job over the supposedly more prestigious Maryland position.

1) Tambroni's wife, Michelle, is a PSU alum and one of the best field hockey players in Nittany Lion history. Might she be in line to return to coaching at Penn State?

2) State College offers a smaller college-town atmosphere much closer in feel to Ithaca than College Park. Clearly this is a draw for the Tambroni family.

3) Debbie Yow... enough said

4) Penn State's athletic program has made huge investments to bring their "non-revenue" sports to elite status in recent years. Exhibit 1: Hiring legendary wrestler Cael Sanderson away from powerhouse Iowa St. to coach PSU.

5) Maryland will always struggle to remove itself from Hopkins' shadow and to be anything more than the 2nd or 3rd best team in the ACC.

When one digs deeper and removes the Terp bias from the equation, Tambroni's move isn't such a head-scratcher after all.

Maryland forced Cottle, a very good coach, out and had people scratching their heads. Other coaches saw that and are confused as to UM's commitment to the program.

PSU is a program not far removed from the tournament and the Big 10 may be preparing to start league play soon.

Tambroni is a good coach and has earned the right to choose any school he wants to coach. I believe he made the right choice for him.

If it was easier "academic standards" that was an issue for him in his decision, he surely would have chosen Maryland then over Penn State. Penn State is consistently each year in the top 10 to 20 overall athletic programs in the nation. Lacrosse could be the next great national program there and he realizes that.

@ Wade - "Sorry, but this post reflects a complete lack of research and insight."

A story or blog by a Sunpapers writer / blogger lacks research and insight? I'm shocked, shocked I tell you!

Truth is...Penn State Creamery is The Best! He went there for the ice cream. Alex Maryland '77

@ Bob -- "A story or blog by a Sunpapers writer / blogger lacks research and insight? I'm shocked, shocked I tell you!"


Ah, c'mon now, Inspector Renault: lighten up. There are five question marks in the blog post. Ya think maybe -- just maybe -- the writer is interested in what readers have to say?

jamie is that really you where have you been? i work w/ yourbrother delivering the mail..


I didn't mean that PSU has easier academic standards than UMD, but that PSU has easier academic standards than Cornell.

It would be interesting to know how many "slots" PSU has for student-athletes that don't quite meet the school's academic standards compared with UMD. Anyone know?

@Wade - awesome post. Great info.

Tramboni said he was happy at Cornell when he declined to be interveiwed by Maryland? He obviosly lied about his motives and no one seems to care? I would rather have a good up and coming coach from Harvard than a lier anyday!

If Cottle is such a good coach, why didn't Penn State hire him instead? Good job Debbie!

I am a fan of all Maryland's sports but I agree with Wade. If you remove the Maryland bias, it was a no brainer to choose PSU over UM. One is a program that can show immediate improvement and has tremendous growth potential, the other a program in flux with high expectations and a tough road to get there. Plus for family life, Happy Valley or College Park, not a tough choice.

The lure of creating or bringing a program "back from the dead" or "into the big time" is very attractive. Cindy Timchal went to USNA, Bill Tierney went to Denver and now Tambroni is off to Happy Valley to attempt a Lazarus procedure at Penn State.

Also, as has been pointed out, expectations are almost non-existent at Penn State, so whatever Tambroni does will be considered successful.

And, while the Dairy at College Park is really good, we stand in the shadow of The Creamery -- thanks for reminding me, Alex.

I think we have our answer now. Word probably got around the coaching circles that Yow was on her way out at MD, and coaches were reluctant to take the job without having any idea who the new AD would be.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Please enter the letter "a" in the field below:
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.

Most Recent Comments
Sign up for FREE local sports alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for local sports text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Photo galleries
Blog updates
Recent updates to sports blogs  Subscribe to this feed