A program in turmoil last season, Denver had dismissed three players (including two starters) in mid-season and head coach Jamie Munro resigned at year's end.
So the athletic department wooed away Princeton's Bill Tierney, a disciplinarian and the architect of six national championships with the Tigers. Eight months later, Tierney said the players have been receptive to his philosophies and coaching style.
"We're not trying to stifle individual talent," he said. "We're trying to make it a 'we' team. The guys are buying into the defensive philosophy, and offensively, we're asking guys not to be selfish."
Tierney is encouraged by the Pioneers' experience in six returning starters, an addition in Cornell transfer and senior defenseman Nick Gradinger and potential firepower in an attack of sophomores Mark Matthews and Alex Demopoulos and junior Todd Baxter.
About the only concern nagging Tierney is the seven cross-country flights the team will undertake this season. That's four more than Tierney has ever traveled with a lacrosse team in his 23-year career.
"These guys are used to it, but it can take a toll," Tierney said. "That's another thing that's going to new to me. ... It is what it is. Just have to handle it."