Friday, July 18, 2008

It's Official: Spencer Retires

Just received this press release from the desk of Jack Jones, director of Sports Information department at Fairfield University:

"FAIRFIELD, Conn. -Coach Ted Spencer has decided to retire after serving 13 seasons as Fairfield University's head men's lacrosse coach, and has accepted an administrative position as Associate Director of Athletics at the school. The change will allow Spencer to remain at the
University while he continues to regain his health from his battle with cancer.

"I am pleased that Ted will remain part of the Fairfield athletics family by accepting the associate director of athletics position," Director of Athletics Gene Doris said. "I am grateful for his hard work and dedication that built our men's lacrosse program into a competitive and respected program both regionally and nationally. Ted's decision to retire from coaching was a difficult one, but I am sure he will bring the same vigor to his new position that has made him
successful in everything he has done. This position has been in our athletics strategic plan and it became obvious that Ted is the right person to fill it. He will continue to have our support in his fight against cancer and will take some well earned time for himself before transitioning into his new role."

"This was a difficult choice for me, but in the end, I had to do what was best for me and my family," Spencer said. "I feel a strong commitment to the student athletes who I recruited this past spring and who will return for the 2009 season. In speaking with the team, I know that I have their support in making this change and I am thankful to have been associated with such a group of fine young men."

Spencer completed his 13th season at the helm of the Fairfield University lacrosse program in 2008 and owned a 93-90 overall record at the school. He coached the team during the spring despite undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments for cancer. The team finished the
campaign with a 4-9 overall record and a 1-5 mark in its third season as a member of the ECAC Lacrosse League.

With Spencer at the helm, the Stags competed in two NCAA tournaments (2005 and 2002), as well as to two Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) titles. He was named the GWLL Coach of the Year in both of those seasons.

Before joining the GWLL, Spencer led the program to three Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) championships (1996-98). The program qualified for four straight ECAC tournament appearances from 1996-99, and captured the tourney title in 1998 and 1999. He was named the MAAC Coach of the Year in 1996.

Players have flourished under his guidance and three have earned All-American Honorable Mention honors. Seven continued their playing careers in Major League Lacrosse, including Greg Downing, Mike Bocklet, and Nate Bauers in 2007.

Spencer's new duties as associate director of athletics will include general athletic administrative oversight responsibilities and support of the athletic department's external relations including the support of student-athlete recruitment programs, representing the Director of Athletics at external functions, and working with the University's Advancement Division on development activities in support of Fairfield Athletics.

Doris said that the University will immediately begin a national search for the head men's lacrosse position."


A month ago, I would've said that this would have been an absolute shock to me. Spencer was the face of the Fairfield lacrosse program, and it seemed as if his recent bout with cancer was a triumph that would lead him to dozens of more seasons behind the bench.

The past month's events, though, led me to believe that this new course is the one the school would take. I talked to a family friend a few weeks ago with a son who was being recruited by Fairfield who said the program had already "moved on" and that Spencer was out at head coach.

One week later, despite not being able to get in contact with Spencer and receiving denials from SID, the ECAC was completely restructured. To me, a clear sign of change was coming.

Much, much more on the way - including a possible interview with Spencer, fallout from players, and the search for a new coach.

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