« Review & preview: Three teams flying under the radar for 2011 | Main | Northwestern's Munday named Mount St. Mary's women's coach »

Shirk excited for opportunity at Washington College

Jeff Shirk knows he will encounter the upcoming question – why would a coach make the transition from Division I Virginia Military Institute to Division III Washington College? – and he already has an answer.

"The honest response is that it’s a much better job from a financial standppoint with how they support the program, from alumni support, all the way down the checklist," Shirk said Wednesday from his office on the Washington campus in Chestertown, Md. "So it was definitely a career move, and that’s not to say that VMI was a bad job. But in coaching, I think you’re always trying to move up the chain and in the lacrosse world, Washington College is a much better job than VMI. That’s nothing against VMI. So it was definitely a good career choice and for my family."

Shirk, who had spent the previous four years as the Keydets head coach, succeeds J.B. Clarke, who resigned on May 12 and was named the new head coach at Division II Limestone Monday afternoon.

Shirk said he was recommended to Washington athletic director Bryan Matthews by Navy coach Richie Meade, and Shirk said he was interested in the position as he talked to Matthews before Memorial Day.

"It was very high right off the start," Shirk said of his level of interest. "But I will say that as soon as I stepped on campus for my interview and saw everything about Washington College and had a chance to meet a bunch of the alumni and the players and had a chance to speak with the new president, that level of interest skyrocketed."

Shirk inherits a Shoremen team that went 4-10 this past season, has missed three of the last four NCAA Tournaments, and lost to Gettysburg in five straight Centennial Conference Tournament finals since last winning the championship in 2003.

Still, Shirk, who guided VMI to a 13-46 record, said his priority is to revive a Washington program that captured the NCAA title in 1998.

"We want to win, and we want to win the right way," he said. "I think everybody – whether it’s alumni or administration – at Washington College is on the exact same page where I am and understands that it’s going to be a process. We’re going to have to work very hard, but we expect to win and I like that. Washington College is not asking the lacrosse program to win without giving it any of the tools that are needed to win. They’re saying, ‘Here are the tools. Let’s go do it.’ And that makes me very excited about where we want to take this. I want to win sooner than later, but I know it’s going to be a process. But that’s something that we’re definitely going to attack and hopefully bring back the Washington College of old."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Washington


Pretty ironic to see all the alumni love he's giving Washington College, especially relative to VMI. Shirk, after all, is the one who said "f#$k the alumni" to his assistant coaches during his failed tenure at VMI.
Can't imagine why he did so poorly with a great attitude like that.

Good luck're going to need it.

Hey Shoreman alumni.....the only communication you will see coming from Coach Shirk is his Lax Camp pamphlets.

For all of the VMI alumni that donated to the program we never even received a thank you. So Washington College thank you for getting rid of our problem.

Does anybody else know anything about this guy? I've never heard of him. His career highlight seems to be that he hit somebody once.

Looks like this guy better deliver a championship. Having all of the money, resources and being able to recruit kids who don't have to have a quality academic record.

Way to take the easy route.

All of the above comments are nothing more than sour grapes from VMI alumni. What Coach Shirk said in paragraph 2 above is the truth and sometimes the truth hurts.....

A 13-46 record... How can he turn any program around? Maybe he should stick to clinics.

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 "o" 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