Maryland Coach John Tillman Not Celebrating Rout Over Navy
During the post-game scene that followed No. 5 Maryland's 10-4 rout over unranked Navy on Friday night at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, the long hug exchanged by Terrapins coach John Tillman and Navy coach Richie Meade spoke volumes.
For Tillman, win or lose, the night would not be a cause for celebration. Not after having spent his formative coaching years, 12 of them, as an assistant at Navy.
Maryland's first-year coach could hardly crack a smile after his superior Terps turned this spirited rivalry into a laugher by scoring six of the game's first seven goals. Maryland never led by fewer than four goals after that.
It was only the third time Maryland has beaten the Midshipmen in the last eight meetings between the schools, but this one carried special weight. On this night, although no one would talk about it openly, Tillman essentially administered one more blow to the 17-year coaching reign of his friend and mentor.
Navy (4-7) is basically on post-season life support, and appears likely to miss its second NCAA tournament in a row by recording its second losing record in a row. Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk, who watched the rainy blowout from the press box, is said to be thinking about bringing new blood into the program.
Meade took the Mids from mediocrity in the 1990s to just shy of the pinnacle of Division I. In 2004, Navy went toe-to-toe with Syracuse in the NCAA title game before losing, 14-13, but never made it past the quarterfinals round of the national tournament over the next five years.
Tillman clearly was conflicted about doing more damage to the coaching future of a key man in his life, and spoke about his awkward feelings in the game's aftermath.
It marked a poignant ending to a cold, dreary night -- especially for the Mids and their endangered leader.