Puck Swami’s Rapid Reaction: DU Extends Coaching Legend Bill Tierney’s Contract through 2024

DU lacrosse coaching legend Bill Tierney is now signed through 2024. Photo: DU

University of Denver men’s lacrosse head coach Bill Tierney has signed a contract extension to keep him DU through the 2024 season, DU Vice Chancellor for Athletics, Recreation and Ritchie Center Operations Karlton Creech announced in a press release on Wednesday, Dec. 4.

“We are very excited to announce this extension to keep one of the sport’s top head coaches on our campus,” Creech said. “Bill is a tremendous leader and developer of young men, preparing our student-athletes for not only each week of the lacrosse season but for life after college. Under his leadership, the lacrosse program has not only extended the University’s brand to the east coast, but has helped grow the game in our city, in our state, in the western United States and beyond. We look forward to watching Coach Tierney’s program pursue a second National Championship.”

While Creech calls Tierney “one of the sports top coaches,” I will go further and call Tierney the greatest coach in the history of the sport. No one has won more NCAA titles (He’s won SEVEN – one at DU and six at Princeton before DU). He also has earned 404 lifetime wins, nine NCAA Championship Game appearances, 15 Championship Weekend appearances (Final 4), 23 National Quarterfinal appearances and 29 NCAA Tournament appearances in 35 seasons. As NCAA lacrosse is the still the highest level of lacrosse (at least in my eyes, given that NCAA teams practice every day, unlike professional lacrosse, which part-time players practice less often), he’s earned the “greatest ever” designation. 

“I’m very excited to accept this contract extension,” Tierney said. “I’d like to thank Peg Bradley-Doppes and former Chancellor Dan Ritchie for bringing me out here over a decade ago, and the current administration led by Chancellor Jeremy Haefner and Vice Chancellor for Athletics Karlton Creech for their continued support towards what our program is trying to accomplish. Having a chance to continue what Matt Brown and I have been able to build here, while also sprinkling in new members of our staff is going to continue to be very exciting over the next several years. I’m thrilled for the opportunity to continue to lead this program with Matt by my side.”

All of us here at Let’sGoDU applaud this decision – and we feel very lucky to have the sport’s greatest ever-coach in charge of the DU program. Since DU doesn’t disclose contract amounts in public, we know from DU’s 2016 Form 990 that Tierney was earning about $340,000 per year in total compensation at DU four years ago, so we’re confident in estimating this extension as likely worth at least $1.5 to $2 million in total base salary.

With DU Associate Head Coach Matt Brown patiently waiting in the wings for many years to become the head coach when Tierney leaves, we also hope DU has also made Brown financially happy during the long waiting period. Brown has been designated by Tierney as DU’s “next coach” many times over the last 10 years, and had also earned his shot whenever it comes.

Tierney’s last contract, signed in October of 2015, was set to expire in 2022, prior to this new 2020 extension through 2024 being signed this week.  Given Tierney’s age and long career, we expect the 2024 season will likely be his last season at DU.

Let’s hope there is another DU NCAA title for DU before he rides into the sunset, but even if there isn’t, we can all feel proud that the best ever is still wearing Crimson and Gold.

Puck Swami is a longtime Denver Pioneer fan and alumnus. He shares his views periodically here at LetsGODU.


6 thoughts on “Puck Swami’s Rapid Reaction: DU Extends Coaching Legend Bill Tierney’s Contract through 2024”

  1. Who ever thought Bill would sign on for 15 years. I’m optimistic that we can win at least 1 additional NC during his tenure.

  2. Great news! Always going to appreciate having the best ever at DU. That said, he and Brown are due to elevate the program. Having one national title is awesome. But I feel like there should be at least two by now (maybe three), given the talent, coaching, and momentum of the program…and the many opportunities, with so many tournament and final four appearances. Plus, we had the best face off man in history for four years. Sounds spoiled, I know, but I think it’s true.

    1. You are probably right that DU should have a lax title or two more than they have by talent and coaching. However, if I’ve learned anything in my many years of watching college sports, it’s that 18-24 year old athletes are just not as predictable on a given day the way the pros are. That’s a big part of what makes college sports so compelling for me…

      Great programs, guided by great coaches with great players, get themselves to the big dance by virtue of excellence. Once there, though, anything is possible, — that margin for error is tiny, and the performance needs to be great on the day it needs to be to win a championship.

      I guess what I’m saying is that now that I’m getting old, I really appreciate having a program that’s a playoff team in most years, whether they win a trophy (wonderful) or not (still great).

  3. Great perspective, Swami, good to keep that in mind. I think that the hockey team starting off (since 2004) with 2 titles in 2 FF appearances (then 3 out of 4…now 3 out of 5) has spoiled me a bit. Lacrosse is weird, too, in that some prominent programs have endured super long title droughts.

  4. The big change is the shot clock and improved defensive play. It is just not as easy to score. I think players that can ‘create’ with time running out are going to be a premium. Brown needs to refocus on the top Canadian box players to give us some dynamic scorers. The margin is so slim now between teams. Love Coach T but we need to rethink our offensive scheme…

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