June 16, 2010
COLLEGE PARK, MD. – John Tillman has been hired as the University of Maryland’s head men’s lacrosse coach, Director of Athletics Deborah A. Yow announced today, becoming the ninth coach in the 85-year history of the program. Tillman comes to College Park after three years returning Harvard lacrosse to national prominence and twelve seasons as the top assistant at Navy, during which the Midshipmen experienced some of the best years in their storied history. He has signed a seven-year contract.
“It is a great honor to take over the Maryland men’s lacrosse program,” said Tillman. “Maryland is a premier university with a rich history of success in lacrosse. I’d like to thank Dr. Yow and the search committee for extending the wonderful opportunity to be Maryland’s head coach. It will be the goal of our staff to be the kind of lacrosse program, the kind of lacrosse team that you can be proud of, that will complement the tradition that this institution has been so proud of through the years. What makes this lacrosse program special is its importance to the school and the State of Maryland. The tradition here is phenomenal. I am looking forward to this challenge.
“I would also like to thank Bob Scalise for giving me the opportunity to coach at Harvard University the last three seasons. I enjoyed working with the student-athletes there and will look back fondly on my time with the young men at Harvard.”
Widely considered one of the top young coaches in the country and a dynamic recruiter, Tillman has been the head men’s lacrosse coach at Harvard the past three seasons. His last recruiting class for the Crimson was rated No. 3 in the nation, according to Inside Lacrosse.
“We are delighted that Coach Tillman will become our leader of Maryland men’s lacrosse,” said Yow. “Senior Associate AD Michael Lipitz chaired this successful search. He and his committee identified Coach Tillman early and worked diligently to secure him for the Terps. John is a man of integrity and a tireless worker who has the ability to attract the very best student-athletes to College Park. He has a `can do’ attitude that is contagious. We look forward to this exciting new era in Maryland lacrosse.”
Tillman’s time at Harvard produced a number of the most memorable wins in the program’s history. This past season, during which Harvard climbed as high as No. 11 in the national polls, Tillman guided the Crimson to an 11-8 victory over No. 6 Princeton, which was the first time Harvard had defeated the Tigers in 20 years. In 2009, Tillman led the Crimson to a season-opening 9-6 upset victory at No. 5 Duke.
Tillman improved his teams in every aspect over the past three seasons. Prior to his arrival in Cambridge, Mass., the Crimson ranked 40th and 42nd, respectively, in total offense and defense. Tillman’s defense ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation, while his offense rose to No. 15 in the country. He also dramatically improved Harvard’s extra-man offense, from the 51st-ranked unit before he arrived, to a perennial top 15 unit.
Prior to Harvard, Tillman spent 12 seasons at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. After six seasons as an assistant coach, he was promoted to head assistant coach and offensive coordinator prior to the 2002 season. From 2004 through 2007, Tillman helped lead the Midshipmen to the some of the most successful seasons in program history, including four straight NCAA tournament berths, four consecutive Patriot League tournament titles and four straight Patriot League regular season championships.
In 2004, with Tillman at the helm of the Navy offense, the Mids made a remarkable run through the NCAA tournament, defeating three Ivy League teams (Penn, Cornell and Princeton) en route to a spot in the national championship game. Tillman’s offense was a key component of Navy’s success that season, ranking third in the nation in scoring offense. Following the Mids’ tremendous 2004 season, Tillman was awarded the first of his two Collegiate Lacrosse Assistant Coach of the Year Awards by the Maryland State Lacrosse Coaches Association.
During his 12 season at the Naval Academy, Tillman was responsible for helping develop first team All-America midfielders Graham Gill and Billy Looney and second team All-America attackman Jon Birsner. In his 12 seasons in Annapolis, the Mids compiled an overall record of 104-63.
Tillman started his coaching career as an assistant coach at Ithaca College. He spent four seasons (1992-95) with the Bombers, helping lead them to the Division III national semifinals in 1992.
In addition to his extensive coaching experience, Tillman also serves as a member of the Tewaaraton Award Men’s Selection Committee.
A 1991 graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, Tillman was a three-year member of the school’s Dean’s list. He had the opportunity to play for legendary coach Richie Moran and was a member of the 1989 squad that earned a berth in the NCAA tournament. Tillman was a goalie when he entered college, but played a number of positions for the Big Red, giving him a great appreciation and understanding for the overall game of lacrosse.
Tillman played professionally for the Baltimore Thunder and the Washington Power of the National Lacrosse League. During his final two seasons in Baltimore, he helped the Thunder reach the NLL Championship and Semifinals. Tillman also played for the Toyota Lacrosse Club, who won five-consecutive Southern Division Championships, including a world championship in 2000.
A native of Corning, N.Y., Tillman was previously commissioned into the U.S. Navy as a fleet support officer and was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal.
John Tillman Facts
Full Name: John Tillman
Hometown: Corning, N.Y.
Alma Mater: Cornell `91
Years Coaching: 19
2010- Maryland (Head Coach)
2008-10 – Harvard (Head Coach)
2002-07 – Navy (Head Assistant Coach)
1996-2001 – Navy (Assistant Coach)
1992-1995 – Ithaca College (Assistant Coach)
What Others Are Saying About John Tillman
Richie Meade, Navy, Head Coach
“I think John is one of the brightest Division I coaches out there and will do an outstanding job at Maryland. He’s an outstanding person; very dedicated with a great work ethic and will be a positive influence on the players, his coaching staff and the University.”
Dave Pietramala, Johns Hopkins, Head Coach
“I have great respect for John Tillman and the approach he brings to the game. He is a tireless worker, outstanding coach and even better human being.”
Kevin Plank, Maryland Football ’95, founder and CEO of Under Armour
“Coach Tillman brings a strong track record of success and an incredible work ethic to College Park. A tireless recruiter and an expert motivator, he maximizes his players’ talents and is poised to lead Maryland’s program to new heights.”
Dick Corrigan, Maryland Lacrosse ’59, Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame
“John will be a tremendous asset to the University of Maryland, as he is very much a class act.”
Brian Burlace, Maryland Lacrosse ’92, All-American
“I’m thrilled to have John Tillman as Maryland’s head coach. He’s had high standards for himself and his teams throughout his successful career at Harvard, Navy and Ithaca. He’ll make all lacrosse alumni proud of his selection. The future is bright for the Terps.”
Joe Walters, Maryland Lacrosse ’06, All-American & School’s All-Time Leading Scorer
“Coach Tillman is an outstanding person and a credible guy, who I believe can lead Maryland to a national championship. He is a great competitor and was always very respectful when we played against his Navy teams. Maryland is fortunate to have a guy like Coach Tillman as its next head coach. I think he’s a guy that all of the alumni can get behind and rally around as the Maryland head coach.”