Q&A: Former Maryland Coach Dave Cottle

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Former Maryland men's lacrosse head coach Dave Cottle is set to be inducted in to the Intercollegiate Men's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IMLCA) Friday, Dec. 8. Over the course of nine seasons from 2002-10 as head coach at Maryland, Cottle compiled a 99-45 overall record and led the Terps to eight NCAA Tournament appearances and three Final Fours.

Cottle is the third former Maryland coach to be inducted into the IMLCA Hall of Fame, joining Dick Edell (Class of 2015) and the late Bud Bearmore (Class of 2016). Also being inducted into the Hall of Fame Friday will be Richard (Dick) Szlasa, who was an all-american at Maryland in the 1950's before coaching at Navy, Towson and Washington & Lee.

Q&A: Former Head Coach Dave Cottle

What are your overall thoughts on being inducted into the IMLCA Hall of Fame?

“The IMLCA is the coaches organization, so any time you’re recognized by your coach’s body and organization, I think it’s a great honor. I’m excited about the opportunity to come back and see some guys I used to coach against, so it’s a double pleasure for me.”

At what point did you decide to make a career out of coaching lacrosse?

“I knew in high school I wanted to be a coach. The question was what sport I would coach. I went down to Salisbury and played, and then wound up in my graduate school years coaching basketball and coaching lacrosse. My first job was at Severn School, where I was the assistant football, head basketball and head lacrosse coach.”

What is the most rewarding part about coaching?

“I enjoy watching how the players come in as boys and leave as men, and watching how successful they become as husbands and fathers. To me that is the most rewarding thing by far. Nothing’s even close.”

You've played and coached in Maryland your entire life - what made you stay in-state?

“There were a couple times I was offered jobs out of state and I considered leaving. I wouldn’t have minded to leave, but it just worked out that I was fortunate enough. When Severn offered me an opportunity to coach there in Annapolis, that was my first job. And then I really thought Loyola had great potential, and that was my second job. Maryland was the state flagship University. I wanted to try a big school with football after not having one. I was very fortunate to be able to make that progression in state.”

What separates lacrosse from other sports?

“I think what sets lacrosse apart is that you need the discipline and the team comradery of football with the creativity of lacrosse. You train like football guys but there’s a little bit more freedom individually. There are a lot of different type players and you can be successful as a smaller quick guy, and you can be successful as a big strong guy, so I think lacrosse leaves an opportunity for a lot of guys with different shapes and sizes, different places for them to be successful.”

After a successful tenure at Loyola, why was Maryland so appealing to you?

“It was a big school. Small schools are clearly about people. You work with the same people for a long, long time... At (Maryland), you got to support the other coaches. The first year, Maryland basketball went to the Final Four and Coach Friedgen’s football team played in the Orange Bowl. You got to do those things and those were two things I hadn’t gotten to experience before.”

What sets apart the Maryland lacrosse community from other schools?

“I think at a lot of other universities, you make friends for four years. At the University of Maryland, you make friends for life. I think that has carried through. I used to look at the Maryland kids as a pack of wolves. When one was happy, they were all happy. When one was sad, they were all sad. That’s kind of the way the lacrosse team has been for a long time. They care about each other so much on and off the field and I think it’s something special.”

Do any particular memories stand out?

“Playing in the NCAA quarterfinals against UMass to go to the Final Four one year, that was a very cool experience. Virginia came in as the number one team in the country and we played them at Byrd Stadium and we won with Travis Reed and Ryan Young...all those guys were unbelievable that day and we beat the number one team when they were a group of freshmen. We really thought that freshman class started the reascension for us to start to be a really good team and program.”

What was going through your mind when Maryland won the National Championship last season?

“Going into it, I was concerned that we had put our hands in the fire so much that we were afraid to get burned. After we lost that game to Carolina, I thought it would be a daunting challenge for those guys. The job that coaching staff did and the collective toughness and quite honestly, the psychological stamina that that group of kids showed over the years, was very impressive to me. I think Coach Tillman had done an unbelievable job. When I look at that team, they didn’t get rattled whether they were up, whether they were down, whether teams are coming back. I think that’s a credit to John, that staff, and to that group of kids. As a person who roots for University of Maryland lacrosse, I couldn’t have been prouder, I couldn’t have been happier, and am damn glad that it finally got done."

What are your thoughts on the amount of Maryland players having success professionally?

“It’s a compliment to the University of Maryland how well the guys are doing, how well they’re trained, and how well they’re doing in the pro league right now. It’s a compliment to Coach Tillman and his staff. We (Chesapeake Bayhawks) drafted Isaiah Davis-Allen, Nick Manis and Colin Heacock, and they all played for the Bayhawks last year. Not only did we like those guys in college, we like them in the pros still.”