Editor's note: This is part two of an interview with Maryland lacrosse head coach John Tillman. Click here for the first part.
It's been a busy offseason for the Maryland lacrosse program. In addition to offensive coordinator Ryan Moran's departure for the same position at Loyola Maryland, the Terps lost rising sophomore attackman Connor Cannizzaro to Denver. This spring, Cannizzaro tied for fourth on the team in goals with 26 and tied for second in assists with eight en route to being named the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year.
The departures of Moran and Cannizzaro can be perceived as a significant blow to a program that advanced to the NCAA tournament semifinals in three of the last four years. But rising sophomore attackman Dylan Maltz has agreed to transfer from Syracuse, and head coach John Tillman said Tuesday that he is content to bide his time to fill what should be an appealing vacancy among the coaching ranks.
Here is part two of a discussion with Tillman regarding Cannizzarro’s departure, Maltz’s arrival and Maryland’s stability in an ever-changing lacrosse landscape.
Were you surprised by Cannizzaro’s decision to transfer to the Pioneers?
We had heard about the potential of Denver during the year. So that was something that we had heard. For Connor, we just want Connor to be happy. We think the world of him, and we’re thankful for the year that we spent with him. I think he’ll do great things on and off the field, and I wish he and his family the best.
Can Maltz replace Cannizzaro?
We recruited Dylan the first time and thought the world of him and his family. But he’s got to get in here and get acclimated to Maryland and get a sense of what we do and how we do it. We’ve always been impressed with his character, his work ethic, and his potential. We really haven’t seen a lot of him playing since high school. Like anybody else, we never promise anything. We always feel like you’ve got to come in and you’ve got to earn what you get. But my gut says that he’ll come in here and work very hard to compete for a spot.
With the losses of Moran and Cannizzaro, has this been a tough summer for Maryland?
There’s a lot of change going on in college lacrosse, and there’s a lot of movement – more than there has ever been – and our place is reflective of that. I think we’ve had a lot of change in the last four years. In 2010, there was a coaching change here and we came on board with two new coaches. Two years later, two coaches leave here with Coach [Brian] Phipps going from a volunteer to a paid assistant position [at Georgetown], and Coach [Kevin] Warne goes [to the Hoyas also]. And Coach [Jon] Stainbrook, our volunteer coach, left after the first year. I think we have to be pretty flattered that people are interested in the people that are in our organization. To have a guy like [Loyola head coach] Charley [Toomey] want to talk to Ryan, that's flattering for us, that he thinks we’ve got people in this organization. I think it speaks to the Maryland brand and some of the people here and what they’ve been able to accomplish here.
When we talk about the success of the team, it’s always the players, the coaches and the administration. It’s not one person, but a collection of people that are making a lot of sacrifices and working hard and when people are asking to talk to your guys, maybe it means that they’ve been impressed with what you’ve done and what the group has done as a whole.
What are your thoughts on adding a game against Loyola on April 8 to the 2015 schedule?
It’s a great game for Maryland because Loyola is such a quality program. They have done so well, and Charley and his staff and the kids deserve a lot of credit for that. So it’s going to be a heck of a challenge for us because we know how good they are. It makes our schedule stronger, and we know they’re going to be a tough team to play.