posted 05.03.2011 at 3.15 p.m. by Corey McLaughlin

Bill Tierney: Denver a Final Four Contender

It's rare that a college lacrosse team is the subject of an Associated Press article — the significance being the story can be picked up by websites and newspapers across the country and worldwide for a larger, or possibly more mainstream, audience to read. But I have a hankering this was the type of attention and success Bill Tierney had in mind when he left Princeton for Denver in the summer of 2009.

Last week, before Denver beat Fairfield Saturday to improve to 11-2, an AP reporter sat down with Tierney at his office in Colorado. It was a good time for it. The sixth-ranked Pioneers are now preparing to host the inaugural ECAC tournament that begins Thursday, as the tournament's top seed. They are the favorite to grab the automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament that would come with the conference tournament win. And the Pioneers are in the running to host a first-round tournament game in the 16-team NCAA postseason.

Among the highlights from the story, titled "Led by Hall of Fame coach Bill Tierney, Denver becoming rising power in lacrosse," are:

  • Tierney said Denver is a final four contender right now. "It is," he said when asked if the team was. "We've proven we can play with some big boys," Tierney is quoted as saying later. "We feel like we're in that category."
  • The coach played the underdog card. "I get it. I get why. We're just Denver," he said. "But we know we're good and as long as we know that, if no one else cares, so be it. We'll keep surprising people."
  • The quick success Denver has enjoyed in just year two of the Tierney Era, most notably a win over Duke, has rejuvenated the 58-year-old coach. According to the story, Tierney is thinking about coaching for as many as 10 more years. "With coaching in the twilight of your career, you just want to have fun," he said.

Read the full story here. The link is from The Canadian Press version. Close observers will notice the word 'defence' instead of defense.

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