By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/20/15
Bill Tierney had a simple message to nearly 200 hungry lacrosse players at tonight’s Nike Philly Showcase Kickoff event: Have fun and don’t sweat the crazy recruiting scene.
“The message is about them trying to relax and enjoy the game,” said Tierney, who led Denver to its first national title in 2015 and also guided Princeton to six crowns before moving West six years ago. “We put so much pressure on 14- and 15-years olds; and sometimes the parents put pressure on them and we put pressure on the parents.”
Tierney was the keynote speaker at the Main Line Sports Center for the NXT Showcase Lacrosse Philly Showcase Weekend. The lacrosse world is focused on Philly with two major recruiting events: the Nike Freshman Showcase at United Sports in Downingtown and the Nike Boys Philly Showcase (2017s, 2018s) at Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square.
Tonight over 200 players registered for the event and participated in position-specific clinics. After those, Tierney spoke about finding the right fit for a college choice, focusing on getting good grades and staying away from drugs and alcohol and making good choices in this new age dominated by social media.
He also said players must stop stressing so much about finding the right Division I college and find a place that suits them in all areas and will allow them to most enjoy the experience of playing in college – no matter the level.
“Remember there are only 10 or 12 spots on each team,” he said. “What I hope doesn’t happen through the madness of recruiting is (that) we run kids out of the game – and I hate that because they need to know there are so many great places for them to play and great things for them to do. Once they decide what they are going to do, their parents will put that colored jackets on, whether they play MCLA or at Denver.”
Tierney gave many great pieces of advice; one was “The key to success in lacrosse and life is to work your tail off when no one is watching.”
He also spoke about the dangers of social media.
“The whole social media thing is so new, they don’t realize how it can affect them,” he said.
Director of Showcase Lacrosse Brett Manney said Tierney’s speech was moving to all, noting that dozens of parents also heard the message.
“He (Tierney) is The Man and I think the amount of respect people have for him is clear,” said Manney. “He wants kids to learn and when he speaks to young men going through the recruiting process it is spot on with what everyone wants to hear.
“To have him in the first year as a keynote speaker for 300 to 400 people is such a positive message.”
The players agreed.
Michael Wilson, a 2017 attackman from Lakeland Regional (N.J.) and the NJ Riot, is excited to compete and yet wanted to make sure he enjoyed the experience.
“I came to hopefully get recruited because everyone knows it’s the top event in the fall, but listening to what coach Tierney said I want to enjoy being here and try to take a lot of the stress off myself,” Wilson said.
Wilson said getting situated and going through some drills helped ease the nerves.
“It was nice going through a couple stickwork and shooting drills,” he said. “It gets a lot of the nerves out. Coming here I was a little nervous, but going through this and practice tomorrow will help a lot.”
Hunter Mason, a 2017 defenseman from Eastport-South Manor (N.Y.) and the LI Sharks, said Tierney’s message wwas clear.
“I learned to live life with lacrosse and not take everything for granted,” he said. “I like to think of how he said that you just need one college to pick you; you don’t need every college to like you. I plan to give it my all, go out and get some good groundballs and play some good defense.”