Men’s lacrosse coach Chris Bates was disappointed with his team’s 8–5 loss to Notre Dame, the eventual national runner-up, in the first round of the NCAA playoffs May 16, but he did see one bright spot in the end of season: There would be no more questions about replacing the legendary Bill Tierney, who moved to the University of Denver last June after 22 years as Princeton’s coach.

“I joke that we survived it from the standpoint of all the attention and all the story lines of being a new coaching staff,” Bates said of a year in which Princeton finished 11–5. “We won some big games, and we won the first Ivy League tournament. But you want to be playing on the big stage on Memorial Day,” the day of the NCAA championship game.  

Taking over a new team is a significant adjustment for any coach, Bates said. “The first meeting in September with my team was the first time I’d met many of those guys,” he said. For next year, he added, “I’m excited to hit the ground running instead of evaluating. I have such a greater knowledge of the institution, the team, and the calendar.”

He also will have a talented lineup. The Tigers graduate only three starters, and second-team All-American goalie Tyler Fiorito ’12, defenseman Chad Wiedmaier ’12, midfielder Mike Chanenchuk ’13, and honorable-mention All-American attackman Jack McBride ’11 all return. New additions include three of the nation’s top recruits: midfielder Thomas Schreiber ’14 and attackman Will Himmler ’14, both from Long Island, and defenseman Robert Posniewski ’14, from Bethesda, Md.  

“We have some pretty heralded guys who join the ranks, and we don’t graduate a great deal,” Bates said. “We can’t wait to get going.”