University of Denver men’s lacrosse coach Bill Tierney garnered a lot of attention last year when he left Princeton University to help build up the DU program. People expected success, but perhaps not this quickly: Tierney has led DU to the national tournament after the 16th-ranked Pioneers knocked off sixth-ranked Loyola yesterday at Invesco Field at Mile High.

According to The Denver Post, the Pioneers jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and withstood a barrage of Loyola attacks to finish the game 12-4. “It’s absolutely unbelievable, especially in light of all the accolades and press I’ve received through the move to the West,” Tierney tells the Post before saying the players are the ones who deserve all the credit.

Lacrosse Magazine notes that it named Tierney its 2009 Person of the Year for good reason, and its faith in the coach has paid off. LaxPower takes it one step further, likening Tierney to Star Trek’s Captain James T. Kirk, as the coach is conquering the West—the final frontier of lacrosse.

The Post’s Mark Kiszla says DU is lucky to have lured Tierney from Princeton, where he coached for 22 years, winning six national titles and developing 26 first-team All-America players. Kiszla also holds up Tierney—who is in the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame—as an example of what teams should be about, saying that Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels or Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony should look to Tierney and the solidarity of the Pioneers as a model for how to get it done.

For all his accomplishments, though, Tierney says the players are the ones who got it done. “They’re (the players) the ones who’ve had to put up with sacrifice and changes,” Tierney tells the Post. “All we’ve done is come in and convinced them to be as good as they can be.”