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Former Army coach rips Navy's decision to part ways with Meade

About an hour after Navy had made official Richie Meade’s departure as head coach, former Army coach Jack Emmer called to confirm a rumor he had heard about the move.

Then, unprompted, Emmer took the academy to task for what he saw as a forced resignation.

“What I see here is, graduates from the ‘60s when Navy dominated lacrosse using their status now as guys who have earned their fortune and bringing some pressure on that situation,” said Emmer, who retired in 2005 as the winningest coach in college lacrosse history. “I can’t believe that it had anything to do with the guys who played for Richie because they have universal respect for him. But these old timers, who are probably still wondering why you don’t bring football players out to play lacrosse like they did in the ‘60s, are calling for his head, and that’s very, very fortunate. I think [athletic director] Chet Gladchuk should know better. He’s not going to find a better guy, and he’s going to get a lot of negative feedback on this decision from former players. They’re going to be appalled and shocked. … I’m kind of shocked and upset by it because it’s a poor decision.”

Although the Midshipmen suffered the most losses (nine) under Meade’s guidance and missed the Patriot League tournament for the first time since joining the conference for the 2004 season, Meade compiled a 142-97 at Navy, captured five Patriot League regular-season and tournament titles in six years, and qualified for the NCAA tournament seven times, including advancing to the championship final in 2004.

Emmer cited those numbers as reasons to retaining Meade.

“If you look at his record, it was only in 2004 when they played for the national championship for goodness sake,” Emmer said. “That is a great accomplishment. They lost by a goal to Syracuse. Given his record against Army, he dominated Army, which I’m sorry to say. He kicked my butt enough years, and that’s important to the academy. To me, it must have been other issues from the standpoint of relationships. … Certainly, based on what he’s done with that program and with the respect he has from those he’s coached, you just don’t make that change. I can’t imagine somebody coming in and doing a better job than Richie in total, which is what you’ve got to do at the academy. It’s a 24-7 kind of job at that place.”

The dismissal of Meade, Tony Seaman from Towson on Monday and Dave Cottle from Maryland a year ago suggests to Emmer that administrations are willing to sacrifice institutional stability for the immediate need to win now.

“It has absolutely moved in that direction,” Emmer said. “It comes with the money. They’re paying coaches more, coaches have opportunities outside of their coaching, particularly from camp situations. It’s great exposure now for your institution with all the media and TV time that you get and the 50,000 people at the Final Four. So there is a lot more pressure now for lacrosse coaches compared to what they used to be. That said, it shouldn’t affect guys like Richie. Richie is a special guy for a special school, and I just don’t see them doing any better. … It’s not a good decision, and they’re going to live to regret Richie moving on.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:00 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Maryland, Navy, Towson
        

Comments

Jack, It may be a result of Richie Meade's inability to relate to the common man. It is no secret Richie Meade looked down on those he considered beneath him. He made no effort at all to be nice. Is that why he lost his job, I do not know. However, it does not look good when you are a jerk and your team underperforms. You lose the benefit of the doubt. So, those men who are in Meade's corner may offer him a job.
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Ed: My experience with Coach Meade has been nothing like this. He has been nothing but cordial and generous with his time, and I have never seen him look down on anyone with whom he has interacted..

I dealt with Richie Mead a little as a recruit when he was an assistant at Navy. I didn't end up going there but every time my team played them he made it a point to seek me out and speak to me. My dealings with him were nothing but positive.

Richie was far less a jerk than he was a quiet guy with a sardonic sense of humor. He's an aquired taste for sure but not a bad guy.

Coach Emmer is right on with his analysis. Richie Meade was Navy Lacrosse and he was pushed aside by guys who played when the game was much different. This is a job unlike any other in college lacrosse and it should have never strictly been about wins and losses. Even by reading Meade's comments you can tell that he understands the mission at the Academy. He always embraced it and looked to make his players ready for the next phase of their life, which for them often meant fighting for our country. All Cladchuck had to do was ask the coaching community and 95% of his former players and this decision never would have been made. Instead he asked the guys that played in the 60's and 70's that can't seem to comprehend how much the game and the Academy have changed in the last 40 years. Richie Meade will be fine, he's a tenured professor and will still make a nice living at the Academy, but it's a shame the lacrosse community had to lose a coach.

What a great article and so true. I played for Coach Meade in the late 80's and he was our assistant at the time. I said to myself, "If Richie Meade ever gets a chance to take the helm of Navy Lacross, his teams will go through hell and back and they will win."

What many don't understand about Navy Lax is that recruiting challegnes (especially now)are very high. Navy is able to get one or two stars and the rest of the players are good, hard working, respectful athletes. It is a testament to Richie's leadership skills that he compiled such a winning record.

As for Ed from Towson's post, I think it is totally out of line. I was an average player who saw limited time and Richie treated me the same as our elite players. Navy is trying to instill leadership and I all I can say is that with Memorial Day weekend upon us, we all should be thankful that we have young men who have been mentored by Richie Meade. I guarantee that former players in harms way are well served by their experience with Richie Meade.

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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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