Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/17/12
Lehigh’s Kevin Cassese and Florida’s Amanda O’Leary (Spring-Foprd, Temple) have been named as nominations for LaxMagazine.com’s Best Coach of the Year honors.
Readers can vote for the winners. Five coaches for men’s teams and give for women’s teams (all levels of lacrosse) were nominated. Click here to vote for the Best Men’s Coach and click here for the Best Women’s Coach.
Nominees for Best Men’s Coach
Jim Berkman, Salisbury
The all-time winningest NCAA men’s lacrosse coach was at it again in 2012, despite suffering a mild heart attack in March. The Seagulls went 23-0 and won their 10th championship, defeating Cortland 14-10.
Kevin Cassese, Lehigh
Cassese and the Mountain Hawks had a historic season, earning a program-best 14 wins, their first Patriot League championship, and their first NCAA tournament berth. Cassese, a former player for the U.S. national team, was also named as an assistant to Team USA in February.
Dave Cottle, Bayhawks
In his first year as the Bayhawks’ head coach, Cottle led the team to its second MLL title in three years. He favored a team-oriented approach and raced to a 10-4 overall record and a 16-6 rout of Denver in the championship game.
Alex Smith, Colorado State
The Rams won a record-setting fifth MCLA national championship this year, but it was the first with Smith at the helm. The team went 17-2 and set an all-time tournament mark for the fewest goals allowed (3.75).
Charley Toomey, Loyola
Toomey led his alma mater to its first Division I championship in any sport and guided the team to a program-best 18 wins. The Greyhounds, low-profile in the preseason, finished the season with a top 10 offense (12.05), a top 5 defense (7.21) and an NCAA trophy.
Kelly Amonte Hiller, Northwestern
Amonte Hiller won her seventh NCAA championship in six years, and earned her fifth IWLCA Division I Coach of the Year nod. The Wildcats’ 2012 run made her the winningest coach in NCAA tournament history, with a 32-2 record (.938) in the postseason.
Gary Gait, Syracuse
Gait brought his alma mater within two goals of knocking off the defending champs. The Orange’s 19-2 record was a program best, and under his tutelage, the offense scored 14.57 goals per game and Michelle Tumolo became Syracuse’s first IWLCA Attacker of the Year. He was named the IWCLA Northeast Regional Coach of the Year.
Nominees for Best Wommen’s Coach
Jen Larsen-Beck, Oregon
Larsen-Beck has been in Eugene for eight years as the Ducks’ first and only coach, but 2012 was her breakout season. The Ducks won their first MPSF title and took Patriot League champ Navy to overtime in the NCAA play-in game. Oregon’s wins (14) and losses (5) were program bests.
Kate Livesay, Trinity (Conn.)
Livesay’s Bantams won Trinity’s first NCAA Division III championship in any sport, going 21-1 and edging Salisbury 8-7 in the title game. Livesay was named the NESCAC Coach of the Year for the fourth time, and the IWLCA Division III Coach of the Year for the first time.
Mandee O’Leary, Florida
The Gators broke through to their first final four in 2012, and junior midifielder Brittany Dashiell became Florida’s first Tewaaraton finalist. O’Leary led Florida to the ALC regular-season and conference titles. She was named the IWCLA South Regional Coach of the Year.