After a long career with Michigan at both the club and Division 1 level Coach John Paul has been let go. A lot of us have a lot to say on this topic but I won’t get too into it. While the success on the field never met expectations JP still leaves behind a great legacy. I think a number of former players (even those who had differences with him) were sad to see him go. But now it’s time to look forward to the next chapter.
The word on the street is that Michigan is looking to hire a Big Time Coach. Some of the internet sources out there claim that this is now one of the marquis coaching positions in the country. Some have gone so far to say that Michigan is willing to throw so much money at the job that basically any and every coach in the country is a potential candidate (I disagree and don't know how true this is). But let’s take a look at who might be the next coach to lead Michigan to the Promised Land.
Top Tier Division I Coaches and Legends
Since apparently every coach in the country is potentially on the table, I figured I might as well give you a briefing on the best ones in the game (even though most of them are not really an option).
Dom Starsia - former Virginia coach, probably the odds-on favorite for his career credentials and name recognition. By far the biggest name available coach out there even though he was squeezed out after some bad years. He’s retired right now but has hinted he wants to get back into it. There were heavy rumors last year that he would take the helm at Utah if they added a D-1 program. His UVA teams had under-the-surface discipline problems, however.
Dave Pietramala - Petro’s name always comes up around the Michigan job and word is he really wants it. Hopkins is always formidable but the Jays have been slipping the last few years.
Bill Tierney - probably the all-time greatest, turned Princeton and Denver into powerhouse championship factories. But, he’s at the end of his career and probably won’t be moving unless he wants to add more to his legacy.
John Danowski - the John Beilein of lacrosse - he’s the best pure coach in the game. But probably won’t leave for a rebuilding job at a different program.
John Tillman - superb all-around coach and the youngest of this group. Doubt he would leave Maryland though.
John Desko - Syracuse is Syracuse and I’m not sure how much he has to do with their success. I played with a guy years ago who said the team basically runs itself.
Kevin Corrigan - Ditto for Corrigan - the program seems to succeed despite him (I also never heard good things about him). He’s basically the JP of ND lacrosse: he's been the coach from the start and his dad is a former Irish AD. So he’s very unlikely to move anyway. Plus, Michigan doesn’t need to hire an ND guy.
Other top coaches, but unlikely to move: Jeff Tambroni (Penn State), Lars Tiffany (UVA), Charlie Toomey (Loyola).
These are mostly younger guys who will be the next generation of great coaches. They're likely to be the target candidates for the job.
Scott Marr - Albany is legit now all thanks to Marr. He’s been the program’s only coach at the Division 1 level and not only are they good, but they are also the most exciting team to watch in the country. Marr also brings a recruiting pipeline to New York State and Iroquois Nation which are freaking talent goldmines. Somehow he has yet to be poached by prestigious blue blood programs. But for some reason this seems like the time. I think this would be the best hire Michigan could make.
Joe Amplo - Dude is young and has proved to be a great hire for Marquette which has had success in its first years in D-1 and he's already taken the Golden Eagles to the tournament. He’s a Long Island boy so he can get those players to campus. Most importantly he can coach defense. Wonder what he could do with more resources.
Andy Shay - another solid young(ish) coach who has Yale at the precipice of being a national power. Can recruit smart kids who can get into a competitive university which is a plus.
Other guys in this category: Joe Alberici (Army), Shawn Nadelen (Towson), Dan Chemotti (Richmond), Ryan Polley (BU).
Outside the Box Hires
These are some left-field candidates (basically my wild ideas).
Jim Berkman - this guy has won 11 national titles at D-III Salisbury State. That’s pretty good. Over the years, there have been a number guys to come up to D-1 from the lower divisions and make an impact. I’m curious if Berkman could do the same for Michigan. Would give Michigan major recruiting connections in the state of Maryland.
Gary Gait - on-the-field Syracuse legend who currently coaches the Orange women’s team and was named ACC Women’s Coach of the Year for 2017. It’s a different game but I wonder how well he would do coaching men. Michigan would become an immediate destination for the best talent from Canada and upstate NY. Probably not a serious option but might at least be worth a call and friendly chat, purely for his legend status.
Matt Danowski - one of the best college players of all-time and has a built-in mentor in his father he can call for advice (he’s currently a Duke asst). Could be risky because youth and inexperience are major issues. But if he has the same talents as his dad, Michigan is looking at a 25+ year generational hire and likely multiple national championships.
Kevin Conry - like Danowski, would be a major gamble because he’s so young and has no head coaching experience. But he played under Petro and has coached for Tillman for years and ranks among the game’s best assistants. He’s a good recruiter and he coaches Maryland’s defense which is always one of the top units in the country.
Others: Ben DeLuca (asst, Harvard), (+ Mgoblogger Kevin Holt)
Anyway, thought some people might be interested in seeing some potential candidates. Of course it could be anyone outside of this group as well. But if I had to pick three guys who should absolutely get calls they would be Marr, Amplo and John Danowski (although Matt may be the more realistic option). I think my biases shine through a little but in any event this should be a really interesting hiring campaign. Hopefully Michigan lands someone who brings the program a lot of success. GO BLUE!!!