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Bill Tierney
Position: Head Coach
Alma Mater: Cortland State
Graduating Year: 1973
Experience: 4 Years
Phone: 303-871-3531
Email: william.tierney@du.edu
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Tierney Photos
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Tierney Videos
Bill Tierney
Courtesy: Denver Athletics
Release: 06/16/2009

One of collegiate lacrosse’s legendary coaches, Bill Tierney took over the reins of the University of Denver men’s lacrosse program in July 2009 after serving as the head coach at Princeton since the 1988 season. Since his arrival, Tierney has amassed an impressive 50-20 overall record (.714) and an even more impressive 22-4 conference mark.

In his first season, Tierney surprised many by guiding the Pioneers to a 12-5 overall record, a record-setting nine-game winning streak and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. After helping the Pioneers to a perfect 7-0 mark in the Eastern College Athletic Conference and winning the ECAC Championship, Tierney was chosen as the league’s Coach of the Year.

In his second season at the helm, Tierney didn’t waste any time taking the program to even greater heights. The Pioneers finished the season with their best record in program history (15-3) and remaining undefeated in conference action (6-0). Tierney led the Pioneers to their second-straight ECAC Regular Season Title and helped to guide them to the first-ever ECAC Tournament Championship.

Tierney didn’t stop there. He then helped Denver secure its first NCAA Tournament victory with a 13-10 win over Villanova in the first-ever NCAA Tournament game west of the Mississippi River. The Pioneers’ success under Tierney continued as they topped Johns Hopkins 14-9 in the semifinals to earn a trip to the Final Four.

Although the Pioneers dropped a 14-8 decision to eventual NCAA Champion Virginia, Denver still had reason to celebrate. The team finished the season with its highest-ever ranking of No. 4 in the nation according to the last Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll. Denver also finished second in the nation in with an 83.3 winning percentage and fourth in the nation in scoring offense (12.44), scoring margin (3.78) and assists per game (6.83).

To be the best, one must beat the best and in his third season as head coach Tierney planned to prepare his team by putting together the second-most difficult schedule in the country, which included three 2012 Final Four teams (Loyola (Md.), Duke, Notre Dame). Tierney led DU to a 9-7 overall record in 2012, ending the season to top-seeded Loyola in the NCAA Quarterfinals after falling one-goal short of a return trip to the Final Four.

With his first freshman class becoming seniors, Tierney and his coaching staff took the Pioneers’ to new highest once again in his fourth season. After starting the year with a stunning 14-12 come-from-behind win over the No. 6 Duke Blue Devils, the Pioneers embarked on a memorable and historical season that included their first No. 1 national ranking and a thrilling roller coaster ride to their second semifinal appearance in three seasons in the NCAA Tournament. Despite falling to Syracuse in the semifinals, coach Tierney and the Pioneers put together a 14-5 overall record, a 6-1 mark in league action and secured its third ECAC Regular Season Title.

Tierney’s impact on the student-athletes at Denver has already resulted in once USILA First Team All-American (program’s first), three USILA Second Team All-American, one USILA Third Team All-American, nine USILA All-America Honorable Mention selections, five USILA Scholar All-Americans, one ECAC Offensive Player of the Year, two ECAC Rookie of the Year award winners, one ECAC Defensive Player of the Year and Specialist of the Year, 12 All-ECAC First Team selections and 11 All-ECAC Second Team selections. Tierney has also been renowned as one of the country’s best evaluators of talent, as he has had a remarkable impact on his newcomers, with four freshman earning ECAC All-Rookie Team honors during his time at Denver.

Tierney has also been named the ECAC Coach of the Year twice. Prior to the start of the season, Tierney was honored as US Lacrosse Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2009.

In his 28 years of coaching, Tierney has amassed a resume that includes six NCAA Championships, eight NCAA championship final appearances, 12 NCAA Final Four appearances, 19 quarterfinal appearances, 14 Ivy League Championships and two ECAC Championships and three ECAC Regular Season Titles. He compiled a career record of 238-86 at Princeton and has a career collegiate record of 322-113 for an impressive .740 winning percentage.

THE PRINCETON YEARS        

In the 20 years prior to his arrival, Princeton did not win an Ivy League championship, did not play in an NCAA tournament and did not have a first-team All-America. His impact on the student-athletes at Princeton has resulted in 26 first-team All-Americans, 73 first-team All-Ivy League selections, seven Ivy League Players of the Year, six Ivy League Rookies of the Year and over 20 USILA Scholar All-Americas. He has recruited and coached two winners of the Lt. Raymond J. Enners Award as the national player of the year (David Morrow in 1993 and Scott Bacigalupo in 1994).

Tierney’s ability to win close games in the NCAA tournament is legendary. He is 30-12 all-time in NCAA Division I tournament games, including 14-4 in one-goal NCAA games. Four of his six NCAA championship games wins have been in overtime. Princeton was 12-46 in the four years prior to Tierney’s arrival, and his first team, in 1988, went 2-13. His first recruiting class, the Class of 1992, arrived the following fall.

The 1989 season saw Princeton improve to 6-8, and the Tigers broke though in 1990, reaching the NCAA tournament for the first time ever and defeating Johns Hopkins before losing to Yale in the quarterfinals. The 1991 season ended in heartbreaking style, as the Tigers lost 14-13 to Towson in the quarterfinals in three overtimes.

Princeton defeated Syracuse 10-9 in double overtime to win the 1992 national title, and the Tigers gave Tierney his second championship on Memorial Day 1994 with a 9-8 overtime win over Virginia. The Tigers again defeated Virginia in overtime in 1996 and then tied the largest victory margin in the championship game in 1997’s 19-7 win over Maryland. Title No. 5 was a 15-5 win over Maryland in 1998. Tierney then led Princeton to the NCAA championship game each year from 2000 to 2002, each time against Syracuse, including title No. 6 with a 10-9 overtime win in 2001.

 

THE EARLY YEARS

After helping Cortland State to the USILA college division championship as a senior in 1973, Tierney began his head coaching career at Great Neck South High on Long Island in 1976. He moved to Levittown High in 1980, and he went from there to his first college stop, Rochester Institute of Technology. Tierney won 10, 12 and 15 games at RIT, taking the school to its first two NCAA tournaments in 1983 and 1984. His next stop was Baltimore, where he served as an assistant at Johns Hopkins for three years. Tierney helped Hopkins to the national title in 1985 and 1987 and the national semifinals in 1986. He also coached the Blue Jay’s men’s soccer team, guiding the team to the 1986 NCAA Division III tournament for its first NCAA bid in 11 years.

HONORS AND AWARDS

Tierney won the Morris Touchstone Award as the Division I Coach of the Year in 1992 while at Princeton. He also was named the 1983 Division III Coach of the Year while at RIT, and he earned Nassau County Coach of the Year honors at both high schools. He was elected to the Long Island Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1995 and the New Jersey Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2009, Tierney was named US Lacrosse Magazine’s Person of the Year and then followed that with back-to-back ECAC Coach of the Year honors.

Tierney has recruited and coached two winners of the Lt. Raymond J. Enners Award as the national player of the year (David Morrow in 1993 and Scott Bacigalupo in 1994). Outside of his collegiate coaching honors, Tierney has coached the United States to the World Championship in 1998, and was inducted into the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame as part of the 2002 class.

THE TIERNEY FAMILY

Tierney and his wife Helen have four children. Trevor Tierney was a first-team All-America and the national goalie of the year before graduating from Princeton in 2001 with two NCAA championship rings. He won championships with the U.S. team at the 2002 World Championships and with the Baltimore Bayhawks of Major League Lacrosse, and he was also a member of the 2006 U.S. national team.

Brendan Tierney, who graduated in 2002, was an attackman/middie for the Tigers who scored the game-winning goal in Princeton’s 12-11 win over Virginia in the 2000 NCAA semifinals. He earned an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke and now works for Nike in Portland.  Courtney Tierney played basketball at Franklin & Marshall and now is the head girls’ basketball coach at Pennington Prep in Central New Jersey.  Brianne Tierney, who played lacrosse at Colgate, joined the Pioneers’ staff in August of 2012 as the Director of Lacrosse Operations and also serves as the head women’s lacrosse coach and assistant field hockey coach at Cherry Creek High School.

MULTIMEDIA LINKS

4-9-10 - Coach Tierney on KUSA Overtime

4-20-10 - ESPNU Lacrosse with Quint Kessenich

5-3-10 - Inside Lacrosse Podcast 

5-2-10 - Coach Tierney and Dillon Roy on KUSA Overtime

5-9-10 - Coach Tierney on KUSA Overtime

2-15-11 - ESPNU Lacrosse with Quint Kessenich

4-12-11 - ESPNU Lacrosse with Quint Kessenich

3-15-12 - ESPNU Lacrosse with Quint Kessenich

Year W-L-T Pct.  Conf. Pct.
2010 12-4 .750 7-0 1.000
2011 15-3 .833 6-0 1.000
2012 9-7 .563 3-3 .500
 2013 14-5  .737   6-1 .857 
Total 50-20 .714 22-4 .846
Back  Denver Men's Lacrosse


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