The Washington Times - August 25, 2008, 05:38PM

Talked with Maryland lacrosse coach Dave Cottle today about losing an assistant coach (Andrew Copelan took the Fairfield job) and asked about the sport’s willingness to go the young assistant coach route.

Copelan is the fifth Division I head coach – out of less than 60 – to have a program even though he graduated from college this decade. The others include Lehigh’s Kevin Cassese, Vermont’s Ryan Curtis, Ohio State’s Nick Myers and VMI’s Jeff Shirk.

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That’s a good percentage, but Cottle (as he often does) had a different and insightful take.

“The final four gets you jobs,” Cottle said. “They’ll take a head coach who gets to the final four, but they’ll also like taking an assistant who has been to the final four. If you look at the last couple hires, there’s been a final four theme to it. … I think everybody likes that final four or NCAA playoff thing.”

Copelan (Maryland in 2006) isn’t the first to benefit from that trend. Harvard’s John Tillman (Navy in 2004), Hofstra’s Seth Tierney (plenty at Hopkins), Jason Miller of St. John’s (Massachusetts in 2006) and Cassese (Duke in 2007) were all assistants on final four teams. Myers was elevated after Ohio State reached the quarterfinals for the first time in school history this spring.

So with that in mind, take a good look at the staffs of this year’s final four – Syracuse, Hopkins, Duke and Virginia. Given the trend, one of next year’s new coaches could come from one of those schools.

Patrick Stevens