Atmosphere

The Pioneer

The greatest coach you've never heard of comes to Denver.

February 2010

Name: Bill Tierney, 58
Occupation: Head men's lacrosse coach, University of Denver
On his resumé: Inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2002

With the Avalanche, Broncos, and Rockies each replacing their coaches in the past year, you can be forgiven for overlooking DU's hiring of Bill Tierney to helm the men's lacrosse team. But Tierney, who won six national championships while coaching at Princeton University, offers one of the most transformative on-field coaching changes in Colorado athletic history.

Tierney coming to Denver would be akin to Mike Krzyzewski leaving Duke University to coach hoops at Colorado State University. Which is to say: It's huge. The man's already in the lacrosse hall of fame, and his arrival at DU promises that the traditionally East Coast sport has a strong future west of the Mississippi. His reputation for recruiting the best high school players nationwide—not to mention his revival of the once-moribund Princeton program—will help put the Pioneers lacrosse program on the map.

The New York native, who has vacationed regularly with his wife in the Rocky Mountains, and whose eldest son played professionally for the Denver Outlaws, says the Mile High City "was always one of those places I figured would be nice to retire." But instead of spending his afternoons carving turns at Vail, Tierney will build the 10-year-old Division I program into a national brand—one that he says will soon compete with perennial powerhouses like Johns Hopkins University and Princeton for a championship. "I was looking for a reason to say no [to the job], but I couldn't," Tierney says. "Lacrosse has given me so much that I wanted to pay it back. I want to help grow this sport."