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Thursday, April 07, 2016

Princeton Men's Lacrosse Coach Fired After On-Field Incident

The national Division 1 championships eclipsed this story, but it's hard to believe.  The story is that Princeton's men's lacrosse coach Chris Bates elbowed a Brown player who was coming off the field during Brown's 19-8 route of the Tigers.  Princeton first put Bates on administrative leave and then terminated him today.

The Tigers are 2-6 this year and at the bottom of the Ivies.  Bates replaced the legendary Bill Tierney, who after winning six titles in 20 seasons opted to go to the University of Denver to build a top program (they won the national championship last year) and be closer to his grown children.  Bates, a Dartmouth alum, had been the coach at Drexel. 

It's unclear, unless you know the congnoscenti of Princeton lacrosse, whether Bates's job was in jeopardy because he hasn't kept the Tigers in the national championship picture and also because of the sub-par record this season.  While Bates might have been feeling all sorts of pressure, it's sad to see that it manifest in his doing what he did.  People are human, and he should be forgiven.  He made a mistake.  The question is the depth of forgiveness and whether Bates will be afforded the opportunity to return to the coaching ranks again. 

The Tigers will begin a national search for a replacement.  That's what they always do.  But if I were athletic director Mollie Marcoux, I would call Bill Tierney and ask him for a few recommendations.  That would be the wise thing to do. 


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