Athletic director Gary Walters ’67 found himself looking for a men’s lacrosse coach after Bill Tierney resigned June 8 to accept the head-coaching job at the Univer-sity of Denver and longtime assistant David Metzbower chose to leave Princeton rather than replace Tierney.
The moves came just weeks after a season in which Princeton went 13–3, beat Syracuse (the eventual national champion), and lost in the NCAA quarterfinals to Cornell, with whom Princeton shared the Ivy League title.
“This year’s team brought out the best in me,” Tierney said. “This team allowed me to laugh during practice and not have it carry over to fooling around. It made for the coach being taught and the players being teachers.”
The 57-year-old Tierney cited several reasons for the move to Denver, a lacrosse hotbed that will provide him with a recruiting base and allow him to promote the sport’s westward expansion. He and his wife, Helen, had long contemplated retiring to Colorado, and their son Trevor ’01 will be his father’s top assistant at Denver. Metzbower played that role for 20 years at Princeton, but he said in a press release announcing his resignation that he had put the demands of his job ahead of his family for too long.
Tierney went 2–13 in 1988, his first season at Old Nassau. Two years later, he led the Tigers to an 11–5 record, their first NCAA tournament bid, and a playoff win over Johns Hopkins. He also landed a blockbuster recruiting class that in 1992 helped lead Princeton to its first Ivy championship in a quarter-century and its first NCAA title.