Dave Cottle will not return as Maryland's lacrosse coach next season, a source said Sunday.
The source said athletic director Debbie Yow informed Cottle of her decision today, less than 24 hours after the Terrapins were ousted from the NCAA tournament quarterfinals against unseeded Notre Dame.
Cottle did not immediately return a message left on his cell phone. Yow did not immediately return an e-mail requesting comment.
Cottle, who was hired in September 2001, was 99-45 in nine seasons at Maryland. His teams reached eight NCAA tournaments and three final fours (2003, 2005 and 2006) while winning the ACC tournament in 2004 and 2005.
But that was not enough for many fans --- and clearly not Yow. And missing the final four for the fourth straight season (only the second time that's happened for Maryland since the NCAA tournament was established in 1971) appeared to be the final straw.
Cottle was in the final season of a two-year contract.
While Cottle --- who was a victory away from becoming the fourth coach in Division I history to win 100 games at two schools --- was bedeviled by postseason stumbles in his tenure.
The first two semifinal appearances ended in blowout losses, while unseeded Massachusetts shocked a veteran Maryland outfit in the 2006 semifinals.
That would be the last time the Terps got that far under Cottle.
A rebuilding team in 2007 earned a No. 7 seed but lost an opening round game to UMBC. A year later, the Terps were ousted by Virginia in the quarterfinals, and in 2009 eventual national champ Syracuse knocked Maryland out a game shy of the final four.
It was presumed Cottle was on shaky ground entering this season, since his contract was set to expire afterward. Yet the Terps played consistently well throughout the season, and earned the No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament, and a path to a deep run was opened when Syracuse and Princeton --- the best two teams besides Maryland on its side of the draw --- lost in the first round.
But a 7-5 loss to a Notre Dame bunch that squeaked into the field put an end to a team Cottle described Saturday as one of his favorites. It also completed Maryland's 36th straight season without a national title, a source of contention among many fans.
“We didn’t play our best game offensively and it cost us the game,” Cottle said after Saturday's loss in Princeton, N.J. “But I can tell you one thing: I’m not going to kill my team or anything like that. Those kids fought. That locker room is special from the halftime to the pregame. I’m just disappointed I couldn’t find a way to get us to where we wanted to go.”
It would seem he won't get another opportunity to try to do so again --- at least not in College Park.