Five Coaches on the Hot Seat in 2019

Photo Courtesy of Robert Willett/News & Observer

In college lacrosse we see coaching movements every year but we don't see as many firings as we do guys just moving for a better opportunity. The only three schools that have really hit the panic button and fired a coach for performance this decade are Maryland, Virginia, and Michigan. Then we have seen situations like Air Force, Cornell, and Quinnipiac where there is a scandal, if you want to call it that, involved. 

Even though college coaches don't get fired solely based off performance, mostly due to the fact that lacrosse only actually makes money at maybe two or three school, there are always a few coaches that are sitting on the hot seat every year. Just like usual there a few legitimate hot seat cases coming into the season and then there are guys that could be on the hot seat by the end of the year for sure.

1. Jim Nagle - Stony Brook

This is a situation that sort of mixes the scandal or internal trouble with results. There have been a few rumblings out of Stony Brook about things going on in the program, and players, alumni, and parents not being happy with Nagle. According to sources, this is more talk than not at the moment but we could see Nagle out by the end of the 2019 season. 

Getting into the results side Stony Brook has taken a pretty big dip over the past few years. Nagle took over the reigns of the Seawolves in 2012 where he led them to a 7-10 record, America East Championship, and NCAA tournament bid. Since that 2012 season Nagle has led the Seawolves to six America East tournament appearances and three America East championship appearances. 

The Seawolves have been one of the top teams in the America East since Nagle arrived on campus at Stony Brook. The one area they have failed in is the post season and consistency, which is difficult for a majority of teams. The Seawolves haven't had double digit wins since 2016 and had a losing record (7-8) last season. 

From beating and almost beating ranked teams like Rutgers and Brown in 2016 to losing to Sacred Heart and getting blown out by Hofstra in 2018, that is a pretty big dip. The only constant is that Stony Brook has been good in a conference that has been dominated by Albany since the Thompson era. If Stony Brook doesn't see improvement in 2019 and some of the things I have heard are true than it is likely Jim Nagle won't be coaching at Stony Brook past this season.

2. Jason Miller - St. John's 

This is a program that I have always said has a ton of upside. St. John's has a strategic location for recruiting and I really think they have a ceiling as high as their basketball program once did when the Big East was in it's glory days. The truth is that despite some progressions and great years St. John's lacrosse has been pretty bad. 

Jason Miller took over the program in 2007 and led the Red Storm to a less than mediocre 5-8 record. In 2012 Miller would lead the Red Storm to their first winning record (8-7) as head coach. 2013 was a historic year as the Red Storm went 9-4 overall and upset #2 Notre Dame. St. John's hasn't gotten over that .500 mark since 2013. 

The Red Storm have taken a big dip since that 2013 season as we have seen them have a few 1,2, and 3 win seasons over the past couple of years. In 2018 we saw progress as they went 6-8 and competed very heavily with teams like North Carolina and Rutgers. They even beat Saint Joseph's and High Point who had good teams as well. They then fell off in Big East play as they finished the year with a six game losing streak. If changes aren't made in 2019 and we don't see St. John's win a conference game or stay consistent throughout the season we may just as well see a head coaching opening in Queens next summer. 

3. Seth Tierney - Hofstra

Has Seth Tierney had success at Hofstra? Yes. Has he had success since 2011? Define success.

The Tierney era at Hofstra has been a bumpy one for sure. Since being hired in 2006 Tierney has led the Pride to one CAA championship, three CAA regular season titles, and four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances (2008,2009,2010,2011). 

Since 2011 the Pride have only finished above the .500 mark three times. Of the years since 2011, 2014,2016, and 2017 were by far their best as they reached the CAA tournament and the CAA championship game in 2014 where they lost to Drexel. The Pride really do seem to blow it every time they have a chance to turn things back around and get back to the NCAA tournament. They couldn't even get it done with Josh Byrne for crying out loud. 

Last season was one of the Pride's worst under Tierney. Hofstra went 6-8 overall and 2-3 in the CAA. They got blown out by Villanova after a season opening loss to Ohio State. They would then get some good wins as they blew out North Carolina and Stony Brook. They would take some bad losses both in and out of conference. Hofstra would make it to the CAA tournament where they lost to the eventual champions UMass in the semifinals. 

Hofstra's 2019 schedule is similar to last year's and they need to get some more of those good wins, especially in conference. This year's Hofstra squad can't fall apart in CAA play like we have seen in the past and then still get into the CAA tournament, only to lose in the semifinals. If we see another season like last year's Tierney may be out searching for a new job next summer. 

4. Joe Breschi - North Carolina

The North Carolina Tar Heels are just two season removed from a National Championship. It is hard to believe how far they have fallen since that miracle of a season that 2016 was. Honestly, nobody thought the Tar Heels would make the tournament at the beginning of the year, but they turned it around and took home the hardware. That ended that long championship drought in Chapel Hill.

Since that 2016 season the Tar Heels have been just at .500 each season and even missed the NCAA tournament one year. In 2017 North Carolina went 8-8 won the ACC championship and then lost in the first round to Albany. 2018 was maybe even worse as the Tar Heels went 8-8 and missed the NCAA tournament. They struggled early in the season against teams they shouldn't even be struggling with, but somehow pulled out wins. Then they went on a seven game losing streak and beat Notre Dame to end the season with at least one ACC win. 

Last year was a bad one for the Tar Heels and you could see the season just slip away week by week. Coach Breschi is one of the best coaches in all of college lacrosse but he is going to have to find a way to get this ship back on track. If the Tar Heels blow it in ACC play or don't make it to the NCAA tournament we could very likely see a situation like we saw at Virginia when they fired Dom Starsia. 

5. Mike Murphy - Penn

Philadelphia likes winners and Mike Murphy has proven that he can do that at Penn, sometimes. Each year when people preview the Ivy League Penn is always the one team that comes up as the team getting slept on or disrespected. This is true to an extent. Coach Murphy and the Quakers haven't exactly backed up that hype the past few years. 

The Quakers haven't won the Ivy League or been to the NCAA tournament since 2014 when they beat Harvard in the Ivy League championship game. In 2015 they went 6-7 after that great 2014 season. 2016 was a little bit better as they went 8-7 and made it to the Ivy League tournament. In 2017 the Quakers went 7-6 while they went 7-8 in 2018. It's safe to say that it's been a mediocre ride for the Quakers these last few years.

While Coach Murphy has had success at Penn, he hasn't had a ton in the past few seasons. Mediocre performances year in and year out after all the preseason hype just looks bad for any team. In 2019 the Quakers have got to get back to at least the Ivy League Championship where they will most likely face Yale. If they can't even get that far or have a winning record I wouldn't be surprised to see a coaching change be made at Penn. 

Other Coaches Potentially on the Hot Seat

Ryan Martin - Hartford
Drew Kelleher - Manhattan
John Desko - Syracuse
Dave Pietramala - Johns Hopkins
Jon Torpey - Furman
Andy Copeland - Fairfield 


  1. You should ad Andy Copeland at Fairfield as well, 3 wins in 2 years and 9 players quit the team during Fall Ball

  2. lol Petro is not remotely on the hot seat. give it a rest

  3. Petro and Desko....Hot seat? Laughable at best. Those guys are no where near any seat that is remotely warm much less hot.


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