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.”