August 27, 2014

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Tilley Named Coach at Eastern Conn.

from press release

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Having spent nearly a decade as a player and assistant coach at Division I University of Hartford, Brian Tilley has been selected as the fifth head coach in the 20-year history of the Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse program, it has been announced by interim director of athletics Cynthia Washburne.

The collegiate head coaching appointment is the first for Tilley, who spent the last five seasons as offensive coordinator under head coach Peter Lawrence at Hartford after beginning his collegiate coaching career in 2009 as offensive coordinator under head coach Dan Mahar at Division III SUNY College at Oneonta.

"I would like to thank Vice-President of Student Affairs Ken Bedini and Interim Athletic Director Cynthia Washburne for believing in my abilities and providing me with an opportunity to take over a program that already has a great tradition of excellence within the Little East Conference," stated Tilley. "My family and I are very excited to become Warriors. I am looking forward to working with the ECSU community to help bring the men's lacrosse team to new heights on and off the field."

Tilley replaces Justin Axel, who compiled a seven-year record of 82-42 and won three Little East Conference playoff championships before returning to his alma mater to accept a position on the men's lacrosse coaching staff of Jim Berkman at ten-time Division III national champion Salisbury University.

"We are very excited to welcome Brian to Eastern," noted Washburne. "From a strong field of applicants, he emerged as the top candidate. Brian comes to Eastern with coaching experience at both the Division I and III levels and has a deep appreciation for the balances that are required for student athletes. His persona and background impressed us all."

A native of Lake Ronkonkoma, NY, Tilley moved into the coaching ranks at Hartford after a four-year playing career at midfield and attack at Hartford, where he was named NEILA East-West All-Star Game and team MVP as a senior and to the America East All-Rookie team as a freshman. He played his final three seasons under Lawrence.

"I am so happy for Brian, but we will miss his passion for the University of Hartford," says Lawrence, beginning his tenth season at Hartford in 2015. " I am confident he will bring the same values and culture to Eastern that he has helped create here at Hartford. Brian will hold his players to a high standard, and himself to an even higher one," added Lawrence, " and in doing so, I believe Eastern's student-athletes will have great success in the classroom, on the field, and as leaders in the community."

In his second season as an assistant coach in 2011, Tilley helped the Hawks to their highest America East regular-season finish (second place) since they shared the title in 2003, and their first-ever America East playoff championships and first NCAA tournament appearance. Of the team's six regular-season losses that year, five came by two or one goal.

In both 2012 and 2013, Hartford was ranked among the national top eight in shooting percentage (third in that category in 2012), goals, assists and points per game.

In addition to his game and practice duties at Hartford, Tilley supervised the players' collaboration with the program's academic advisor and organized the team's community service program. With Tilley, the program has won the America East Academic Cup title each of the past three seasons and also received the Hartford athletic department's Community Service Award four straight years.

Eastern graduated five starters from last year's 11-6 team which reached the Little East Conference playoff final for the 13th time in the last 14 years.


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