Delaware's Bob Shillinglaw, who has coached more games than anyone else in men's college lacrosse history and has led the Blue Hens to 16 conference championships and six NCAA tournament appearances, announced Thursday that he will retire after this season.
Shillinglaw, 64, an Annapolis native who attended Severna Park and lives in Elkton, took over at Delaware in 1979 and will start his 39th season at the school and his 42nd season overall as a head coach, when the Blue Hens host Bucknell in the season opener Saturday at 1 p.m. at Delaware Stadium.
"Anyone who knows me knows that Delaware lacrosse is my passion," Shillinglaw said in a news release. "Representing the program, the university, and the alums is an honor, and besides my wife and three daughters, it is the most important thing in my life. While at this time this is the best decision for my family, I will continue to give 150 percent this season to provide this year's team and their families with the best experience and remain committed to working hard for the future of Delaware lacrosse."
Shillinglaw has coached 639 games, 129 more than No. 2 Jack Emmer (510 in 1970-2005). Shillinglaw's 41 seasons as a head coach are tie him for second most all time, trailing only current MIT coach Walt Alessi, who begins his 43rd season in 2017. Glenn Thiel served 41 seasons from 1970 to 2010 at Virginia and Penn State. At Delaware, only the late C. Roy "Doc" Rylander, who guided the school's tennis teams for 41 years (1952-1993) served longer.
One of just seven coaches in NCAA Division I history to win 250 games or more at one school, Shillinglaw reached the mark with a win over Saint Joseph's in the 2009 season opener. He won his 300th game at Delaware in 2016 when the Blue Hens knocked off Manhattan, 6-5, on March 8, 2016.
His 327 victories, including 303 at Delaware, rank him No. 10 on the all-time win list and No. 4 among active Division I head coaches behind Duke's John Danowski, Denver's Bill Tierney and Bryant's Mike Pressler.
For their firstborn's eighth birthday party, Donna and Bruce Spencer organized a series of games such as an egg toss, a jumping contest involving a trampoli
Shillinglaw coached the Blue Hens to their first and only Final Four appearance in 2007, when Delaware lost to Johns Hopkins, 8-3, in the national semifinal at M&T Bank Stadium. The Blue Hens' last tournament appearance was in 2011.
He was named United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association National Coach of the Year in 1979 and 1999.