NATIONALS NAME HUNTLEY HEAD COACH
1/11/13 4:23 PM
The Hamilton Nationals announced today that the Major League Lacrosse team has hired Dave Huntley as their head coach for the 2013 season. Huntley returns to the team, where he was the franchise’s inaugural head coach.
“You rarely get the chance to come back to a team you coached before,” he said. “It was an easy decision after seeing what Curt (Styres) has done with the Knighthawks and the direction he wants to take the Nationals. You couldn’t ask to work for a better guy. It feels like I never left.”
Huntley replaces Regy Thorpe, who has decided to not return to the Hamilton Nationals. Instead, Thorpe – who coaches at Syracuse University – will focus on bringing his alma mater its first women’s Division I National Championship. Thorpe leaves the head coaching position after two seasons on the sidelines. In 2011, he guided the Nationals to a second-place finish and a berth in the playoffs. Hamilton advanced to the championship game, falling by one goal to the Boston Cannons.
Assistant coaches Jason Johnson and Brian Hobart will remain with the team. In four seasons with the Nationals, Johnson has been to two Major League Lacrosse Championship Games, and was a member of the 2009 MLL championship team. Hobart is back for his third season with the Nationals organization.
Huntley rejoins the Nationals for the first time since the 2010 season. He will begin his role immediately, tracking tonight’s 2013 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft. The draft will take place in Philadelphia as part of the 2013 US Lacrosse National Convention, presented by Champion. The draft, which begins at 8:30 p.m. in the Liberty Ballroom of the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, is free and open to the public. The MLL’s 13th Collegiate Draft will be streamed LIVE via MLL's YouTube Channel.
Huntley had a 12-14 record in two seasons as head coach of the Nationals. In 2009, the Toronto native led the team to the Major League Lacrosse Championship in their inaugural season. Toronto was 7-5 during the 2009 regular season before defeating Long Island and Denver at the MLL’s Championship Weekend.
Huntley is a well-decorated Canadian lacrosse player, head coach and general manager. During his playing career (1976-79), he won two NCAA Division I National Championships at Johns Hopkins University. In 1979, he won the McLaughlin Award as the nation's most outstanding college midfielder. At Hopkins, he was a two-time First Team All-American and was eventually enshrined in the Johns Hopkins Sports Hall of Fame. In 1978, Huntley also suited up for Team Canada and was on the inaugural gold medal winning World Lacrosse Championship team.
He broke into coaching in 1987 with Philadelphia Wings, serving as the team’s general manager and coach. He has also held various positions with the Baltimore Thunder, Pittsburgh Crossefire, Washington Power and Colorado Mammoth. Additionally, he has worked as an assistant coach at Loyola College and with the Baltimore Bayhawks, where he won his first MLL title in 2005.
On the international scene, he has held assistant coaching positions with Team Canada at four World Lacrosse Championships, which included the 2006 gold medal winning Canadian team. He has the distinction of winning both field lacrosse gold medals with Team Canada (1978, 2006). Both teams earned induction into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame. In 2011, Huntley earned the sole distinction as he was named to the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
Huntley returned to the professional head coaching ranks in 2008 with the National Lacrosse League’s Philadelphia Wings. He served as the team’s head coach for three seasons and led the Wings to a playoff berth in his first season back in Philadelphia. Now he returns to the Nationals, where he hopes to recapture the success he experienced with the team in 2009.
“It doesn’t take long to retool in this league with the college guys coming out in the draft,” said Huntley. “We have enough talent. We just need to get all the players on the same page.”