It's now official: Dave Cottle has decided to resign as Maryland's lacrosse coach following another NCAA Tournament loss, this time in the quarterfinals to Notre Dame. Cottle, whose contract was up following this season, decided to take matters into his own hands and resign before he could be informed that the program was moving in a different direction.
Cottle discussed his resignation with D1Scourse's Patrick Stevens yesterday.
"The thing you're going to miss most is the kids," Cottle said. "These kids are special, especially the group we have together, it's an unbelievable group of people. That's the thing you're going to miss most."
Cottle added that his only regret was not winning a championship at Maryland. This was a common source of criticism among Maryland lacrosse fans, since the Terps haven't won a title in 36 years. SB Nation's Terps blog Testudo Times spelled out this criticism here.
Basically, it boils down to whether or not he's done a good enough job to be extended; it's a much simpler decision, in my mind, than a decision to fire or extend a coach's current contract. Either he's succeeded or failed; there's no economic factors, no worries about buyouts.
In a sport when there are only four playoff games and a handful of truly competitive teams, the only real goal is to win the NCAA championship. The sport isn't big enough to warrant a big, tradition-filled school in the sport's most-popular hub to slot anything less than the finals and eventually a championship as a true goal. And Cottle hasn't provided either.
In response, Stevens talked to Virginia coach Dom Starsia about the expectation of winning a championship.
"I'm not sure people fully appreciate how hard it is to win," Virginia coach Dom Starsia said after the Cavaliers' 10-9 defeat of Stony Brook in today's NCAA quarterfinals. "You're staring out there at a game against Stony Brook, it's the quarterfinals and we have our hands full. Two, three and four aren't playing next weekend, and that's never happened in our sport before. It's not getting easier. Dave Cottle is one of the finest coaches that I've come across in all my career, and we also go into this profession understanding there's a bottom line involved. I feel for him. I feel for him a great deal. In my mind, if Dave wants to continue coaching, someone would be crazy not to be jumping on the opportunity to hire him. He's one of the really bright guys in our profession."
Starsia's right that Cottle should land on his feet somewhere, considering his track record.
As for Maryland, they now will begin looking for a replacement. Testudo Times discusses several possibilities here.