I played lacrosse all through high school. Our program was in its infancy. We went from being knocked out in the first round of a tournament my freshman year to being a legitimate contender for the state title by the time I was a senior. That transition did not come easily and it was definitely slow going. Coaches were interchanged like a pin on a weight stack. I was exposed to multiple styles of coaching, but most noticeable were the “we” coaches and the “you” coaches.

I noticed a trend with our performance: when a coach left our success up to us, team cohesiveness flourished. Even when games didn’t go quite as expected, we would desire team improvement as a whole. However, when coaches focused on nourishing a couple gifted individuals, neglected the rest of us, and demanded performance from the whole team, we fell apart. The “we” coaches were successful; the “you” coaches were destructive.

After guiding the Denver Pioneers to their first national lacrosse championship, Tierney’s post-win actions made clear what kind of coach he really is.  Dana O’ Neil recounts this event:

PHILADELPHIA -- In an epic moment for his sport, for his program and for his own career, Denver lacrosse coach Bill Tierney did not make like Jim Valvano, seeking out someone to hug. He didn't, in fact, really move.

Instead as the final seconds counted down on the Pioneers' 10-5 win over Maryland and first lacrosse national championship, Tierney simply unfurled himself from his customary sideline crouch as his assistant coaches swept him up in a euphoric hug.

And then, as his Denver players spent the next 40 minutes dancing around the Lincoln Financial Field, giddily celebrating the Pioneers' pioneering title, Tierney deflected more shots than his stand-on-his-head goalkeeper, Ryan LaPlante.

When photographers asked him to pose with the national championship trophy, he called over a player to pose alongside him.

When someone handed him a pair of scissors to clip the net out of the cage, he quickly passed them off to his co-captains, instructing them to get the job started.

When the team gathered on the dais to pose for a picture, he reluctantly joined in only after his players called him over, sneaking in on the side as if he were an assistant towel boy.

And when one of his players embraced him in a bear hug, whispering, 'Love you, Coach. You did it,' Tierney quickly corrected him.

"No, we did it."

Read the whole article here.

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