Tommy Pearce’s decision to give up his head coaching position with the Frostburg State men’s lacrosse program to fill a similar role at Allegheny College in northwestern Pennsylvania was a fairly well-kept secret to outside observers. It also caught the people who knew him well a little off-guard.
“I think any time a head coach leaves, it’s kind of a surprise,” said Bobcats assistant coach Kevin McDonough of Pearce, who officially left the school June 8. “But I think that was just a decision that he made with his family and everything. So I think that’s kind of part of college coaching. Everyone respects his decision. Coach Pearce has done so much for this program as far as re-starting it eight years ago and getting it to where it is today, and it’s in a great spot going forward. So I think everyone at Frostburg thanks Coach Pearce and wishes him nothing but the best at Allegheny going forward.”
In eight seasons, Pearce guided the Bobcats to an 85-62 overall record and trips to the past six Capital Athletic Conference tournaments, including a berth in the title game in 2015.
When Pearce’s decision became known, it was up to McDonough to reach out the players who are expected to return and the incoming freshmen. It was a process that took a few days.
“I just let them know that regardless of what the next step is for Frostburg lacrosse in terms of coaching, they’re in a great spot,” he said. “I think a lot of the guys are really committed to becoming really good lacrosse players here at Frostburg, and I think besides the coaching, they picked Frostburg because they enjoyed the school and they enjoyed the area. Obviously, on the first day or two, you get some texts because the guys are asking a lot of questions. But I think now, everybody is ready for the next step, and they’re going to come back ready to compete regardless of who the next coach is.”
Sometime this summer, the university will open a national search for the program’s second coach since its 30-year hiatus ended in 2011. McDonough, who recently wrapped up his third season with the Bobcats, said he would consider applying for the vacancy.
“I’ve been here for three years, so I have a pretty strong connection with the program, the guys and the alumni,” he said. “So that’s something that I would have to talk about with my family. Being an assistant coach, obviously your dream is to become a head coach, and I really enjoy it here at Frostburg. So I’m waiting until they announce that they’re going to open the search and then I’ll kind of figure out my personal stuff in regards to that.”