The University of Denver men’s lacrosse program probably doesn’t get enough attention, but that could change, at least in the lacrosse world. Lacrosse Magazine has named DU men’s lacrosse coach Bill Tierney its 2009 Person of the Year, citing his decision to leave Princeton University in June to help build lacrosse in this part of the country.

Tierney, a National Hall of Fame coach, took Princeton to eight NCAA finals, wining six titles, in his 22 years at the Ivy League school, a stint that included leading the U.S. national men’s lacrosse team to the 1998 world championship. He apparently turned down several opportunities to coach at other schools, saying Denver just felt right.

Lacrosse Magazine editor Paul Krome thinks the best part about honoring Tierney is the fact that he’s taken the award as a call to action—and the magazine admires the way he left Princeton: honest about his intentions. Tierney told Princeton alumni in a letter that he was taking the job in Denver to help make lacrosse a nationwide sport, and that as an ambassador of the game, he wants to be a part of helping the movement take root out West.

DU athletic director Peg Bradley-Doppes tells Lacrosse that Tierney has proven Denver has “the richest lacrosse community in the country” because interest in the sport spans all socioeconomic levels.