BREAKING: Denver Men’s Lacrosse Names Matt Brown its Next Head Coach

It was only a matter of time until the University of Denver was going to make this move and three months after legendary head coach Bill Tierney announced his retirement from lacrosse, the Pioneers have finally made the obvious move official in an announcement today: current offensive coordinator and associate head coach Matt Brown will be the program’s next head coach of DU men’s lacrosse.

Brown’s introductory press conference will take place at 1 p.m. MT on Thursday in the Gottesfeld Room inside the Daniel L. Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness. 

Prior to the announcement, Bill Tierney publicly supported the elevation of Matt “Brownie” Brown whenever asked about his successor. Denver lacrosse alums were vocal about their support of Brown as well to maintain the continuity and success fostered by the Tierney-Brown partnership.

After playing lacrosse for the Crimson & Gold, Brown joined the men’s lacrosse program as a volunteer assistant in 2007 before joining the staff full-time in 2009 and being named the program’s associate head coach and the first lieutenant to Tierney in 2011.

The duo relied on Bill Tierney’s shut-down defenses and Matt Brown’s offensive ingenuity to go 164-58 in the last 14 seasons. For many of those years, Brown, a Burnaby, British Columbia native, relied on that background to bring Canadian players with great creativity and offensive skill to DU. Now, the Canadian lacrosse player pipeline is highly sought after across all of US collegiate lacrosse.

In today’s announcement, Brown called the opportunity “a dream come true” on his elevation to the top spot. DU lacrosse fans will appreciate Brown’s acknowledgment of Bill Tierney’s leadership and the program’s strong culture while also leading the program in his own, unique style.  Brown said he plans “to put my vision for this program that I’ve always had in my head on paper and articulate that to the (search) committee, which I know takes the success and the future of this program very seriously.”

In the press release, Bill Tierney said it best, “The future of DU Lacrosse is in the best hands possible under Matt Brown. ”

No doubt Brown will have to manage the challenges of recruiting in today’s environment and ever-changing styles of play while managing both sides of the ball. Current DU players likely appreciate the move as the uncertainty around the open head coaching position is resolved before the end of the season.  If the decision would have taken past the end of the season, student-athletes may have taken a longer look at the transfer portal. Now, they can focus on finishing out this season without uncertainty along with a clear view of the future at Denver.

In retrospect, DU alum Brown had his sights on the Denver job all along. Following numerous head coaching open positions in college lacrosse in recent years, Brown did not throw his hat into the ring, waiting for his chance to guide Denver going forward. His perseverance, loyalty, and drive have now taken him, after this season, to the top spot in the Lacrosse Capital of the West.

Photo courtesy of Denver Athletics

2 thoughts on “BREAKING: Denver Men’s Lacrosse Names Matt Brown its Next Head Coach”

  1. Congrats to Brownie!

    Of course, the team was excited to hear that Brown would be the coach, as players will almost always choose certainty over uncertainty.

    That said, I share Brownie’s love and loyalty to DU as a special place. As a player, he played and bled for our school as a student, and for hist last 22 years in coaching, he’s been a vital link the ascension of DU into a top 20 program, a relatively regular NCAA tourney participant and a 2015 National Champion. He will certainly leverage his learning alongside (and the endorsement from) the greatest lacrosse coach who ever lived, Bill Tierney, for the benefit of the DU program.

    But I am most interested to see what future changes he will make to the DU program. While DU is still relevant in lax, has fallen somewhat behind the elite programs in the sport since 2017, the last time DU appeared in a final four.

    The most important area that needs improvement is RECRUITING. DU has fallen behind the elite schools in recruiting, as DU’s former geographic advantages in Colorado, Canada and California are now well shared with other schools. Brown needs to make the Pios appealing to top prospects, and now that Brown’s summer box lax league dreams have been built, he can focus more time into finding and attracting top talent to DU.

    With Tierney leaving, does DU’s playing philosophy change? Brown is an offensive-minded coach, and Tierney is a defensive-minded coach. Does DU get more free-flowing offensively?

    It will also interesting to see if the program’s off-field culture evolves under Brown, in ways that are different from Tierney’s leadership style. Tierney runs an old school, well-disciplined program where players are clean-cut and held to higher off-field standards than players in other programs. As a younger coach, does Brown change that philosophy?

    Exciting times are ahead…

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