IT'S BEEN A GOOD YEAR FOR TIMMY MAC
By Mike Spinner
It's been a very good year for "Timmy Mac". In just the last year the man who holds the well know nickname, Manhattan College Head Coach Tim McIntee, has not only become a well known entity in the international lacrosse community, but he has emerged as one of the most respected and watched young head coaches in the nation.
But, even with a respectable appearance in the NCAA Tournament for his Jaspers last Spring and a trip to the World Games to begin a new lacrosse tradition last summer with Team Ireland, McIntee is not satisfied. His drive to improve his program was very evident at the recent Fall tournament at Yale University. He chooses not to even think about his recent successes but instead focuses on what he hopes will be an improved Manhattan squad in the Spring. "It's hard to think about the experiences of coaching in the NCAA Tournament and in the World Games when I'm not happy with what I see right now," said McIntee, an All-American midfielder at C.W. Post who played for Team USA, the New York Saints, and the Long Island/Hofstra Lacrosse Club. "It's great to be here at Yale because it's a chance to face competition better than what we see in the MAAC, but I know this team is capable of better. We have some talent here. It's a matter of getting the leadership we need to take the next step. I'm just not happy right now."
Timmy Mac in Perth
McIntee's desire to advance a team to the next level comes while all odds seem to be against his Jasper squad. Being a MAAC school, Manhattan is allowed to offer a maximum of four lacrosse scholarships (compared with an NCAA maximum of 12.6), the school does not offer men's lacrosse a locker room, and the presence of only one game field forces the team to practice off-campus at a local park.
However, overcoming tough odds to advance a program is nothing new for McIntee, who helped lead C.W. Post to the Division I NCAA Tournament in 1988 when the Pioneers competed against the "big boys" long before the days of the AQ. McIntee's first coaching stint was at Division I St. John's University in Queens, New York until St. John's dropped lacrosse in 1995 and again, McIntee sought to defy the odds. He accepted a coaching position at Syosset (New York) High School where he took over a varsity team that finished 0-15 before McIntee took over. After making key decisions such as switching (future Princeton All-American) Brian Lieberman from goalie to close defense, Syosset finished the next season 5-10.
The 2002 Manhattan Jaspers made the NCAA Tournament
After one season at Syosset, McIntee took the position with a Manhattan program that was struggling to make the transition from club to Division I varsity status. After two years of struggling, McIntee's teams have steadily improved, finishing MAAC runner-up in 1999, 2000, and 2001 and finally winning the Conference in 2002-the first year for the MAAC to earn an AQ. Manhattan not only advanced to the NCAA Tournament, but earned some respect as the Jaspers lost to powerhouse Georgetown by only a 12-7 score. Georgetown's Dave Urich confirms that McIntee is on people's radar. "I've known Timmy for a while and followed the progress of his program from afar, until last year. [In that 2002 NCAA game] their goalie, Amandola, did an outstanding job and the whole team was very well prepared. To their credit, they were not intimidated by the Hoyas and didn't play to just be in the game. They played to win."
"We're on the right track at Manhattan," McIntee said. "The MAAC is the MAAC and considering what we're up against, we're doing a good job. I think we're still the underdog team, but I think if we could put another good year or two in a row we can feel good about what we're doing. Going to the NCAA has done wonders for the program. Manhattan College lacrosse is now very public. It's a good situation for kids to come into. We're now known as a program where a top player can not only play right away but advance to the NCAA Tournament as well. I'd like to think that our visibility is 100% better than it was five years ago. I think making it also was a great reward for our seniors who stuck it out through a lot during their time here,"
Manhattan v. VMI in 2002 (Courtesey VMI Website)
McIntee's performance on the Manhattan sidelines was impressive enough to earn an invitation to work as an Assistant Coach for Richie Moran on Team Ireland at the 2002 World Games in Australia. McIntee said the experience of returning to international competition with the inauguration of Team Ireland was an "exciting experience" that he loved.
"It was a great trip to Australia and I'm proud to have been a part of the beginning for the Irish team," McIntee said. "It was a great bunch of guys and working with Coach Moran was exciting. It was great to help spread the word about lacrosse. I just wish more people would be excited about the World Games," McIntee said.
McIntee attributes his team's success to an expectation that his athletes will compete their best, regardless of skill level or opponent. He speaks openly about how above all he tries to get his players to play hard…a sentiment very much noticed by his players.
"If there is one word to describe Coach McIntee, it is 'dedication,'" said senior defenseman Anthony Antonelli. "I think the program has advanced at Manhattan during my time here because of the amount of effort and energy Coach McIntee puts in. That's been contagious. I think we took some heat last year because we were a MAAC school and everything, but I can honestly say that we're one of the hardest working teams in the NCAA and much of that is because of the efforts of our coach."
Whether McIntee likes it or not, Manhattan College is in a new role for 2003 - favorite - at least MAAC favorite. And unlike a year ago, the expansion of the NCAA Tournament field to 16 teams leaves the MAAC Champ with the task of facing the nation's top team in the First Round of the post-season as it is expected that the MAAC will earn the last spot in the 16-team field with the lowest rating of every conference. McIntee said that the prospects of facing a Syracuse or Princeton are more proof that the MAAC and Manhattan College needs to make lacrosse a bigger priority.
Manhattan v. VMI in 2002 (Courtesey VMI Website)
"I wish I knew, but I have no idea why the rules exist as they do in the MAAC Conference," said McIntee of the scholarship limitations in the Conference. "Right now, the conference is pushing soccer and other sports. I think it is unfortunate that we're restricted because if we were on-par with the rest of the country with scholarship offerings, the best MAAC teams would be fighting for national supremacy, with or without the AQ,"
McIntee, who's coaching position is coupled with the position of Intramural Director to make it a full-time job, said he also feels the way for his program to take the next step is for the school to increase its support, a factor that McIntee would consider if his stock continues to rise and if he is ever offered another opportunity.
"For a MAAC school, Manhattan College gives its lacrosse program enough support. But looking at the rest of Division I, we need more support and I think we've been very successful despite our limitations. We made the NCAA Tournament last season with a team that had a 3.1 team GPA. We're bringing in good kids and I think that speaks volumes about what we're doing here," McIntee said. "It just doesn't make sense to me that lacrosse is supported by this conference the way it is. I'd like to see the school make coaching lacrosse a full-time position. It certainly warrants full-time status," He added. "I'd be happy if that [decision] were to be reached. I'd be big-time happy and I would stay long-term. Until that happens, I'd be crazy not to look if the opportunity comes my way." And if the opportunity ever comes McIntee's way, his peers say that "Timmy Mac" has the makings of a big-time Division I Coach. Yale Assistant Coach Darryl Delia, considered one of the top first assistants in the game, said McIntee has everything it takes to be at the top of the sport.
McIntee with Lax Guru Richie Moran on the Irish Sideline
"Tim McIntee is one of the most underrated coaches in the business, perhaps the most underrated," Delia said. "The man is a genius. He knows different looks and strategies as well as anybody. A few times a year, a bunch of coaches get together for a 'skull session' where we discuss strategies and whatnot and I think I take more away from Timmy than anybody else. It's unfortunate that in the coaching game he is not automatically recognized as one of the top up-and-coming young coaches in the game, but I think he belongs,"
McIntee thinks of himself much differently.
"I think I'm snotty," McIntee joked. "I want my kids to play at my level. I want them to compete and be competitive. I'd never ask them to do anything that I didn't do and I think if I could get there, so can they,"
DID YOU SEE THOSE JERSEYS?
Carc's sporting the new REBEL/STX Uniforms!
November 1, 2002