Maryland has a new coach. A month ago, he'd have been a mild surprise.
Penn State has a new coach. A week ago, he'd have been a big surprise.
Cornell has a new coach. All along, he seemed like the next man in line.
Harvard is looking for a new coach for the second time in a three-year span.
Here's a look at who did well, who treaded water and who wound up losing now that college lacrosse's coaching carousel is near completion.
* Penn State
Unquestionably, the school that came out furthest ahead in any of this was Penn State. The Nittany Lions have only two NCAA tournament appearances, and wound up landing Jeff Tambroni, a guy who took Cornell to three final fours in the last four seasons. Penn State went after the biggest fish it could have hoped to have landed and pulled it off. The Nits might not be relevant immediately, but they simply couldn't have done any better.
* John Tillman
In a little more than 34 months, Tillman went from the top assistant at Navy to the head coach of a second-tier Ivy League program (Harvard) to the head coach at Maryland. Not bad. He received a seven-year contract with the Terps, so chances are good his second head coaching stint will be longer than his first.
* Ben DeLuca
The Cornell grad was next in line for the last few years, though it started to seem as if Tambroni would be in Ithaca for the long haul. DeLuca was pursued last year by Princeton, and that certainly would have been a great hire. Instead, he winds up stepping up from running the Big Red's defense to running the program. DeLuca had a hand in three final four teams, and it seemed only a matter of time before he got a team of his own. That it happens to be Cornell makes it even sweeter.
* Jeff Tambroni
Tambroni told the Ithaca Journal his decision had much more to do with family --- his wife, Cornell's former field hockey coach and a Penn State grad, will have a chance to help with the Nittany Lions' field hockey program --- than anything else. That's a good overriding factor, and a nice reminder that money and prestige don't always drive decisions in non-revenue sports. Nonetheless, it is a trade of a final four team for an outfit that won two games last year. It'll be a few years --- at least --- before Tambroni has a team playing on Memorial Day weekend.
The Terrapins shouldn't be criticized for getting rebuffed by Tambroni, which is probably a tempting thing for second-guessers to do. Tillman's resume --- 20-19 over three seasons --- isn't particularly deep, but the short-term prognosis remains pretty much the same. If Maryland gets decent goalie play in 2011, it has a chance to play deep into May. The next year, with the starting attack and starting close defense wiped out by graduation, there will be a step back. That sequence was going to play out regardless of the coach. Tillman is bright and energetic, but this is still a bit of a gamble.
The Big Red lose a coach with a 109-40 record, which typically would be a pretty big deal. But elevating a capable assistant who was part of eight straight Ivy League title teams isn't a bad way to solve the problem. The Big Red will maintain continuity, and that's important for a group with so much success.
* Ivy League
Five of the Ivy's seven jobs have turned over in the last 13 months, with four coaches --- Bill Tierney (Princeton to Denver), Brian Voelker (Penn to Drexel), Tillman (Harvard to Maryland) and Tambroni (Cornell to Penn State) --- electing to leave. All of those happened for different reasons, but that's still remarkable flight from such a competitive league.
* CAA coaches other than Tambroni
Given the gaggle of competitive programs, it wouldn't have been the worst thing for the Towsons and Delawares of the world to have Penn State not taking things particularly seriously in lacrosse. Tambroni's hire ensures the Nits will be a force before long.
* Dave Cottle
He's the one guy who left a job unwillingly and didn't wind up with a new one. In any sort of coaching shuffle, that's usually going land someone on the wrong side of this sort of assessment.