Cambridge, Mass.--Nichols Family Director of Athletics Bob Scalise has announced that John Tillman--who has served as an assistant coach at the United States Naval Academy since 1995--has been named the head coach of men's lacrosse at Harvard.
"I am thrilled to undertake this new challenge at an institution the caliber of Harvard University," said Tillman. "My educational and athletic backgrounds have given me a tremendous respect for the Ivy League experience. We are going to recruit outstanding student-athletes and I look forward to positively impacting Harvard."
"We are thrilled to have John Tillman as our lacrosse coach at Harvard," said Scalise. "To have a coach, an educator, a leader of his magnitude in placer makes everyone associated with our program extremely proud. His familiarity with the Ivy League through his years at Cornell and his association with Navy lacrosse, one of the premier programs in the country, bode well for Harvard. We're committed in our pursuit of excellence in the sport of lacrosse here and look forward to a bright future under John."
Tillman comes to Harvard after six years as Navy's head assistant coach. Unprecedented success quickly followed his arrival in Annapolis, Md. The Midshipmen were one of just five programs nationally to appear in every NCAA tournament from 2004 to 2007 with Cornell, John's Hopkins, Maryland and Georgetown being the others. En route to a berth in the 2004 national title game, Navy defeated Penn, Cornell and Princeton along the way. The trip to the final game marked Navy's first since 1975 for a program that has claimed 17 national titles.
"I am extremely thankful to the U.S. Naval Academy for the opportunity provided me over 12 wonderful years," said Tillman. "I was blessed to cultivate meaningful relationships with coaches, administrators, officers and players alike. I am truly lucky to have had this experience. The core values of the U.S. Naval Academy will always be part of who I am as a person, coach and mentor. It is tough to move on from Annapolis, but after meeting with the people at Harvard it quickly became evident that the prospect of being its next head coach for men's lacrosse was something I could not pass by. I am honored to be here and thankful for the opportunity afforded me by Bob (Scalise) and the Crimson community."
The Midshipmen's offense flourished over the last four seasons under Tillman, who coordinated the team's offensive game plan en route to four consecutive trips to the NCAA Championship Tournament as well as four straight Patriot League regular season and conference tournament championships. In 2006, Tillman helped develop one of the highest scoring offenses in the country, ranking 10th nationally at 11.0 goals per game with 19 different players scoring goals and seven producing 10 or more markers. The Mids, who also ranked third nationally in offense during the 2004 season, reached double digits in the scoring column in eight contests a year ago, including 19 against fifth-ranked North Carolina in early March.
Tillman has helped develop All-Americans at each phase of his coaching stops with 41 selections in all including seven during the 2004 season. In 2005, Navy's entire starting midfield garnered All-America recognition, including brothers Billy and Steve Looney. In all, Tillman has helped guide 11 offensive All-America selections and one World Team Member. His efforts in recruiting and game management were noticed by the Maryland State Lacrosse Coaches Association who named Tillman the 2004 and 2006 collegiate Lacrosse Assistant coach of the Year.
Since 2004, Navy ranked second in Division I for total wins with 49 and third in winning percentage with a .766 success rate (49-15). Navy's senior class of 2007 established school records for wins in a career with three victories over Maryland and four over North Carolina.
Tillman was previously commissioned into the U.S. Navy as a fleet support officer and was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal. During his time at Navy, he also served as a member of the Physical Education Department at the Academy.
A 1991 graduate of Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration, Tillman played for legendary coach Richie Moran and was a member of the school's 1989 team that advanced to the NCAA Championship Tournament. He began his playing career as a goalie but eventually played every position except attack before the end of his career in which he was a three-year member of the Dean's List.
A native of Corning, N.Y., Tillman played professionally for three years for the Baltimore Thunder of the National Lacrosse League, and one year for the Washington Power. During that time, Tillman established himself as a team leader, playing in 38-of-39 contests and was one of the league leaders in loose balls. Tillman also played for the Toyota Lacrosse Club, who won five-consecutive Southern Division Championships and made four appearances in the finals, including a world championship in 2000.
Following graduation, Tillman spent four years as an assistant coach at Ithaca College while pursuing his Master of Science degree in physical education. During his time at Ithaca, program experienced strong growth and success, including an appearance in the 1992 Division III National Semifinals.
John Tillman's Coaching Career
Year School (Position) Record Postseason
1992? Ithaca (Assistant Coach)????? 12-2??? NCAA Semifinals
1993? Ithaca (Assistant Coach)?????? 9-5??? ECAC Upstate N.Y. Champion
1994? Ithaca (Assistant Coach)?????? 5-5
1995? Ithaca (Assistant Coach)?????? 5-5
???????? Ithaca Total:????????????? 31-17
1996? Navy (Assistant Coach)???????? 4-8
1997? Navy (Assistant Coach)???????? 6-6
1998? Navy (Assistant Coach)???????? 7-6
1999? Navy (Assistant Coach)???????? 7-7??? NCAA First Round
2000? Navy (Assistant Coach)???????? 9-4???
2001? Navy (Assistant Coach)???????? 8-5???
2002? Navy (Head Assistant Coach)??? 8-5???
2003? Navy (Head Assistant Coach)??? 6-7???
2004? Navy (Head Assistant Coach)?? 15-3??? NCAA Finalist
2005? Navy (Head Assistant Coach)?? 12-4??? NCAA Quarterfinals
2006? Navy (Head Assistant Coach)?? 11-4??? NCAA First Round
2007? Navy (Head Assistant Coach)?? 11-4??? NCAA First Round
???????? Navy Total:?????????????? 104-63
???????? All School Total????????? 135-80
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