Friday, August 29, 2008

In other news, field hockey!

With all apologies to those that subscribe to the whole 'The Mirror' hates field hockey theory, here is an update (and some upsetting news for my MAAC field hockey pool) from last night: the field hockey team dropped a heartbreaker to Virginia Commonwealth in overtime, 2-1. The Stags, according to reports, dominated the entire game (outshot VCU 8-1 in the first half), but were done in by a late goal in regulation.

That's 0-2 for the Stags in fall sports thus far, for those of you keeping score at home.

Field Hockey returns to action against Holy Cross this coming Saturday.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Q&A with Andy Copelan

Here are the highlights of my talk with Andy Copelan:

What are you initial feelings right now? Has it sunk in that Fairfield is your program now?
Copelan: It is, although it hasn't really sunk in completely. Right now I'm trying to just get acclimated to the situation and the place, get used to a lot of the day-to-day things that I'll be taking care of. We had a few of the boys stop by yesterday, which was good. But so far I've been very pleased. So far, so good.

Thoughts on Fairfield coming in - your knowledge of the program and the team?
Copelan: There is a lot of talent here - no question. I haven't really seen the team or seen film yet, so I'll hold off judgement on that part. I'll wait for that to formulate my own opinions. But this is a somewhat familiar place for me, plenty of friends and family in the area. Basically, my goal is just to hit the ground running with this thing.

What is your relationship with Ted Spencer? Any contact with him yet?
Copelan: Actually, to be completely honest, I've had no contact with him thus far. But we coached together at Blue Chip (Lacrosse Camp) and I think an awful lot of him. It really is sad to see him go, but it's good to know he'll still be a part of the administration.

Is there any pressure following Spencer, given he was the backbone of the program for so long?
Copelan: There's always pressure; that's just the nature of this job. That's the profession I chose. I understand that there is a winning tradition is here, but I'm certainly excited to put my own stamp on the program. Hopefully we can get that started as soon as possible.

You've spent the last three seasons at UMD as an assistant, but does a year at Marist as the head coach help going into this job?
Copelan: It is helpful. It really is. The most important thing, really, is to combine all of the experiences you have had as a coach and use that to your advantage. A year as the head of the program (at Marist) was a good experience, and then my years under (Dave) Cottle at Maryland was huge. Moving forward, I think all of it will be an asset. It's put me in a pretty good position.

Have you talked to any of the players yet? What has been your message?
Copelan: I have, yeah. That was one of the first things I took care of when this happened. First, I called all of the Maryland boys - those were hard phone calls. Then, next day, I called all of the Fairifeld kids to introduce myself, give them so background on me. Some even dropped by the office these last few days to meet me and sit down for a few (minutes). We'll probably hold a team meeting at some point next week when they get settled in. My message was simple: let's hit the ground running. I know it'll be a little bit different this year. But I just told them to come ready to work.

Lombardi: Fairfield Lax a "Sleeping Giant"

For some more perspective on the Andy Copelan hiring, here is a link to Joe Lombardi's Lax to the Max blog.

Lombardi is a columinst for Westchester's Journal News and a friend of Mirror Sports - we talked to him a few weeks back about his thoughts on Ted Spencer's retirement. He was formerly a CBS Sportsline writer covering Division-I men's lacrosse.

My favorite quote: "Located in between lacrosse recruiting hotbeds Long Island and the Hudson Valley — and surrounded by such traditional high school powers as Darien, Wilton and Greenwich — Fairfield University appears to be a sleeping giant in the world of Division I college lax."

Strong words, sir.

Copelan Interview @ 1pm

If anyone is interested, I'm scheduled to interview new men's lacrosse head coach Andy Copelan at 1pm. I'll have the text (and maybe the audio") up shortly thereafter, with a trend story for 'The Mirror' coming out later on this afternoon.

I tried to get into contact with former coach Ted Spencer, but he is currently on a well-deserved vacation and is taking some time off to recharge his batteries. Can't say he wasn't due for one of those.

More to come.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Copelan another Doris' home run

Fairfield's hiring of Andrew Copelan intrigued me. A lot.

Mike Pressler may have been swayed from Bryant for the right offer; it's doubtful he even got a call. It's possible Scott Marr of Albany was thinking of taking up a new challenge. It never came to that point.
A.D. Gene Doris and Co. could have opted for an older, more veteran option to lead a program that has established itself as a national presence. Instead, Fairfield opted for a young, energetic coach to become the fresh face of a program that desperately needs a renewed desire in order to take the next step in the ECAC.

And, even though I've never spoken with Copelan (that comes tomorrow), I love the move. It feeds off of the success that Doris has had in recent years selecting coaches from off the beaten path (Joe Frager). He avoided retreads and washed-up rejects of bigger programs. Would Yale coach Andy Shay, who has only finished above .500 twice in his career, really have been an upgrade?

Copelan screams of the same enthusiasm and fire that Fairfield was seeking when it hired an assistant from a big name ACC basketball program to lead our Stags three years ago.

It's a bold, new direction, and now that direction has its leader.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Streaming Stags' Soccer Live

This from Fairfield's Sports Information Department:

"The Fairfield University Department of Athletics announced its 12-game fall slate to be video streamed live on the internet via the B2 Network. This marks the second year of the agreement between Fairfield and B2 in bringing Stags athletics to fans around the world. The Stags field hockey, men’s soccer, volleyball and women’s soccer teams are each scheduled for three appearances in the package.

We are excited to be able to present to fans an expanded number of events in a broad spectrum of sports,” said Director of Athletics, Eugene P. Doris. “We had great success with B2 broadcasts during the winter and spring sports’ seasons last year and are looking forward to extending coverage to our fall sports.”

The fall schedule kicks off with the Stags’ first home contest of the year, Friday, August 29, when the field hockey team hosts Virginia Commonwealth at noon from University Field. The men’s soccer team makes it B2 debut on September 12, hosting Harvard on Lessing Field at 7 p.m. The first women’s soccer contest to air will come on September 21, when it hosts UConn at 1 p.m. The volleyball squad will play its first streamed contests on September 28, from Alumni Hall when it hosts Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) foe Iona at 2 p.m."


According to the release, fans can purchase an "All-Access" Stag pass, which allows them to watch any and every Fairfield game through the B2 Internet streaming Network.

The cost? $150. Fans can even opt to purchase a discounted men's and women's basketball package, but that is unfortunately limited to home games.

In other news, supposedly there was a hiring yesterday. More on that very soon.

Monday, August 25, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Doris tabs Copelan for Men's Lax

Just received word via e-mail and voicemail with Chris O'Connor. Here is the official press release from the university:

"Fairfield University Director of Athletics Eugene P. Doris today named Andrew Copelan the Stags new head men’s lacrosse coach. Copelan becomes the Stags third head coach in the program’s varsity history.

“Andrew is one of the bright young coaches in the game today,” said Doris, “and I am excited to have him leading our program. He has shown the ability to win big games and recruit the top student-athletes in the nation, and I am confident that with Andrew our program is in good hands. I would also like to thank the search committee for the fantastic job they did in conducting this national search of highly-qualified candidates.”

Copelan has served as an assistant coach to Dave Cottle at the University of Maryland, for the past three seasons. In each of those campaigns the Terrapins qualified for the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the Final Four in 2006.

“I am extremely excited and honored to be given the opportunity to be the head coach of the lacrosse program at Fairfield,” said Copelan. “There is a strong tradition of winning at Fairfield and I look forward to the challenge of taking the Stags to the next level.”

For the past two seasons Copelan has been the Terps’ offensive coordinator, leading one of the top ranked offenses in the nation."


Much, much, much more to come on this big development. In the coming days we will have a story on Copelan, reaction to the hiring, some commentary, and I'm working hard to get a one-on-one with Copelan (and hopefully Ted Spencer)

Stay tuned.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Men's Lax Coaching Update

Well, if you want to call this an update.

Associate director of Sports and Information (and good Mirror pal) Chris O'Connor told me a couple of days ago that Fairfield is "in the process of having candidates on campus". Supposedly, the stronger candidates may have been brought back once or twice at this point.

As for the names and faces, he offered no comment. Several forums and sources early in August said that current Yale coach Andy Shay was seen on campus a few weeks ago. Its doubtful that he is the department's first choice, but there may be some mutual interest. A source on forum all but confirmed that Dartmouth assistant Andy Towers was brought in at least once.

Big names? Finalists? You're guess is as good as mine.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Patsos goes dancin' (sort of)

Picked up this note from old pal/boss Ben Doody and his college basketball blog for the Trentonian: Jimmy Patsos and Loyola (Md.) are representing the MAAC in the Preseason NIT field, which was announced earlier this morning.

The Greyhounds stay in the northeast and play Boston College at Chestnut Hill on November 17th.

Cooley must be enthralled with this one.

But let's give credit where credit is due. Patsos turned literally built the Loyola program out of nothing, and has now received preseason props in back-to-back years (remember that Sports Illustrated Patsos as a mid-major coach to keep an eye on). All this without a berth in the Big Dance.

Deuce's are wild

Fall sports raked in some preseason accolades in the annual MAAC coaches' polls, which were released earlier this week.

Both men's soccer and women's volleyball were ranked second overall in the conference. Tom Clements '09 and Matt Uy '11 were preseason All-MAAC selections. For volleyball, Katie Mann '10 was an obvious choice for the all-MAAC team. Somewhere Coach Pittenger is smiling; not a bad team to inherit.

In other news, women's soccer opens its season tomorrow against St. John's in Queens. "We are excited to get the season under way," said head coach Jim O'Brien. "I am happy with where we are at as we head into this opener."


As noted by one of our watchful readers, the Stags have cancelled the team's pending out-of-conference game with Western Michigan. I'd think its a bit of a backlash to Rick Carter's surprising jump off ship. Thanks for the note, though. (P.S. To take WMU's place, the Stags are taking a trip to West Point to play Army.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fairfield/SHU Set for Nov. 18

Get your tickets ready now: the Fairfield/Sacred Heart men's basketball game has officially been announced for Tuesday, November 18th at the Arena at Harbor Yard.

The game was originally scheduled for November 23rd, but the Stags requested a date change due to the team's impending tournament in Puerto Rico. Cooley has said that the team will literally take the first flight out to PR the morning on the 19th.

Surprisingly (at least to Chris Elsberry), the Fairfield/SHU women's game was not changed and will be a sole act on the 23rd at Harbor Yard. Should be interesting to see the crowd turnout for that game.

This adjustment means that the men's out-of-conference schedule is set:

Friday, Nov. 14 - @ Memphis
Tuesday, Nov. 18 - vs. Sacred Heart
Thursday, Nov 20 – Puerto Rico Tip-off Tournament (Va. Tech)
Friday, Nov 21 – Puerto Rico Tip-off Tournament (likely Xavier)
Sunday, Nov 23 – Puerto Rico Tip-off Tournament (likely Tenn-Chattanooga)
Wednesday, Nov. 26 – Western Michigan
Monday, Dec. 1 - @ Holy Cross
Wednesday, Dec. 10 - @ Fordham
Monday, Dec. 15 - Drexel
Saturday, Dec. 27 - @ UConn
Feb 2009 - Bracket Buster
TBD: St. Francis (NY), American

Monday, August 18, 2008

If you can't beat 'em, hire 'em

The Connecticut Post's Chris Elsberry is reporting that Fairfield has hired former Siena director of basketball operations Carmen Maciariello to fill the void left by Rick Carter, who bolted Fairfield two weeks ago for a similar spot at Western Kentucky.

Macriairello was the director of basketball operations for the Saints in 2005-06. As for his New England ties, he played for Siena and the University of New Hampshire back in his collegiate days.

That's Carter and Fuller out; Brian Blaney and Maciariello in. The trend? Both come from a traditional MAAC (and Northeastern) background. Maciariello's ties to the Capital Region will most certainly boost recruiting and steal some thunder from Siena.

Oh, and his "familiarity" with Mr. McCaffrey and Co. doesn't hurt either.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Morning Links

G'morning Stags' fans. Sorry for the lack of updates lately, but swim season is finally over (my little kids held their own this year) and I'm back to updates before we hit September.

Here are a few links for you this morning, coming live from my lake townhouse in Lake George, N.Y., just a stones throw away from Siena Saints country: came out with its annual MAAC preview a few days ago. Siena, obviously, is a steep favorite heading in. The diagnosis on Fairfield is the need for a scoring guard to emerge for them to take "the next step". Duh. Andy Katz also has some interesting comments about the MAAC's out-of-conference procedures and some words about Mohegan Sun as a MAAC destination?

Assistant coach Rick Carter has left the team, instead opting for a similar position at Western Michigan. For those of you keeping score, that's two Cooley assistants in less than a full offseason. This one sort of blindsided me, and it seems as if I'm not alone; head coach Ed Cooley canceled the team's 1-and-1 games scheduled with WMU for this coming year and '10. I'm guessing he was a little... disappointed.

More to come, including some thoughts about Andy Katz' MAAC preview.