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Navy continues pursuit of Maryland lacrosse coach John Tillman

Navy continues to be interested in Maryland men's lacrosse coach John Tillman — a flirtation confirmed when the academy asked permission over the weekend to speak to Tillman about its coaching vacancy, sources close to Maryland athletics said Monday.

Maryland did not decline the request, which came Saturday and was considered more of a "heads up" — a courtesy call between athletic directors — than an actual inquiry.

But Maryland has indicated that it will seek to retain Tillman, a longtime former Navy assistant who led the Terps to the NCAA title game in his first season.

The price for Tillman would be steep. He makes about $150,000 per year and has a seven-year contract and a large buyout clause — believed to be about $500,000.

The Sun reported last Wednesday that Navy had indicated interest in Tillman. Maryland officials said Thursday that they hoped and expected Tillman would remain in College Park. Tillman did not respond directly when asked about his plans.

Asked to confirm a Washington Post report on Thursday that he was remaining with the Terrapins, Tillman texted The Sun: "I was never contacted by anyone so I'm just doing my job as I always do like any other day."

Tillman has not replied to text or voice messages since then on whether he would talk to Navy if approached.

Tillman, 41, was a Navy assistant for 12 seasons — the latter six as head assistant coach. He was then Harvard's coach for three seasons before being hired by Maryland a year ago. Under Tillman, the Terps won the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. They lost 9-7 to Virginia in the NCAA championship game at M&T Bank Stadium.

Navy is searching for a successor to Richie Meade, who left the program last month after 17 seasons.

Navy said it won't talk about Tillman or discuss details of the search until it is completed. Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson could not immediately be reached for comment.

jeff.barker@baltsun.com

twitter.com/sunjeffbarker

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