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Thiel retires as head coach for Penn State men; coached many Philly gads

Thursday, 6th May 2010

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 5/6/10
From Press Releases and Staff Reports

Long-time Penn State Nittany Lion men’s lacrosse mentor Glenn Thiel has announced his retirement, effective June 30, 2010.

Thiel, who recently completed his 33rd year as head coach of the Nittany Lion lacrosse team, has been a collegiate head coach for 43 years and coached a number of Philly grads. This year the Lions had 17 Philly products on the roster, including top scorer Matt Mackrides (36 goals) of Malvern Prep.

“This was not an easy decision, but it is one that I felt was right to make,” Thiel said. “I have had the honor of coaching hundreds of outstanding young men during my time here and now it is time for me to focus on other areas of life, like my children and grandchildren.

“Penn State will always be a part of me and I look forward to seeing this lacrosse program flourish in our new conference and gain strength nationally. As this sport continues to grow here in the Centre Region, I look forward to being involved with Centre Lacrosse, helping the youth of this area in any way I can.”

This year’s Nittany Lions struggled through a 2-11 seaso, his worst.

A 1966 Penn State graduate, Thiel played from 1964 to 1966 under then head coach Dick Pencek, whom Thiel succeeded as coach, serving as co-captain his senior campaign. He received the Pittenger Award as the squad’s most valuable senior and was selected to play in the North/South All-Star Classic after scoring 27 goals with six assists in 1966. After receiving his master’s degree from Massachusetts in 1970, Thiel was named head coach at the University of Virginia, laying the foundation for one of the nation’s elite programs.

Thiel logged a record of 63-30 in eight seasons as head coach at Virginia from 1970-77. His 1972 squad won the NCAA Championship title with a 13-12 victory over Johns Hopkins. In 1970, the Cavaliers tied for the USILA national title. In guiding Virginia to three Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, Thiel coached 12 first team All-Americans. He twice coached the South to victory in the North/South All-Star Classic (1973, ’94). In the fall of 1996, Thiel was among the second class of inductees into the Virginia Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

In 1977, after eight highly successful years at Virginia, Thiel returned to his alma mater as the Nittany Lions’ head coach, following in the footsteps of his late father, Glenn “Nick” Thiel, who guided Penn State’s lacrosse teams from 1935 until 1956.

In 33 years at Penn State, Thiel led Penn State to the NCAA tournament, numerous top 20 national rankings and conference regular season crowns. He leaves Penn State with a 313-222 career record in 43 years, including a 236-186 mark at Penn State. During his time as head coach of the Nittany Lions, Thiel led Penn State to its first ever trips to the NCAA Championships in 2003 and 2005, earning ECAC Coach of the Year honors in ’05.

Thiel was also very active in developing and promoting lacrosse. He was a former member of the executive board of the USILA and served on the organization’s All-American and National Rankings Committees. Thiel is a past member of the United States Lacrosse Coaches Association executive board and was involved in the selection of the 1982, 1986 and 1990 U.S. World teams.

Thiel was integral into Penn State’s move to the Colonial Athletic Association, which has energized the program heading into next year and includes a chance to play in a post-season conference tournament for the Nittany Lions for the first time ever.

“Glenn Thiel is Penn State lacrosse and while his retirement leaves a hole in our coaching ranks at Penn State, we wish him the very best as he transitions to a life outside of collegiate sports,” Director of Athletics Tim Curley said. “I have had the honor of working with Glenn for many years and he is, without question, one of the most dedicated and principled people I’ve known. He will always be a part of the Penn State family.”

A national search for Thiel’s replacement will begin immediately.


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