Aug. 28, 2006
Lars Tiffany '90 returned to his alma mater on August 9, 2006, to become the fifth head coach at Brown since 1961. In a candid interview, Lars shares his thoughts about returning to Brown, his immediate focus for the program, scheduling, and the roles of players, parents and alumni.
Q. How does it feel to be back at Brown?
My initial emotions are split between a tremendous amount of excitement and a great sense of responsibility. I am ecstatic to return to what I truly believe is the greatest school in the world. But I am also aware of the rich tradition of Brown Lacrosse and the importance of lacrosse to Brown University and its supporters.
Q. Who had the most influence on your playing and coaching careers?
Dom Starsia had the most profound impact on my choice to enter the world of collegiate coaching. As an idealistic 20-something year old, I was not sure the world needed another lacrosse coach. But Dom had played such a big role in the lives of his players at Brown, and I reveled in the thought that I could do such myself with a program of my own someday.
As for an influence on my playing career, there are so many good friends and teammates that provided instruction, guidance, encouragement, etc., but I will mention Billy McComas `88 in particular. Billy was an outstanding defenseman at Brown. He spent time with me, improving my own defensive game during my first two years here.
Q. What are your general expectations for the program in the upcoming season?
I actually try to not use the word expectations for myself or the Brown lacrosse program. I want to know that nothing is set in stone - expectations can lead us down the path of assumptions, and then to overlooking opponents and challenges. Every day we need to prove ourselves, first and foremost to ourselves and teammates. In my first season here, we will focus on developing the men individually and then placing these individuals into well-defined roles with the program.
Q. Brown has a dynamic and supportive alumni base. What role to you see alumni playing in the future success of the program?
The Alumni of Brown Lacrosse are fanatical about their program. The experience of Brown is an exceptional one, and the alumni, including myself, have always maintained a very strong bond with each other and to the program. These men want Brown to be great again, and there has been no shortage of support provided to me in my short time here. Our Friends of Brown Lacrosse organization is very successful, as it is an ideal means for the alumni to have an impact on the program not only financially, but with career counseling, mentoring, team events, etc.
Q. The Ivy League is one of the top rated lacrosse conferences in the nation. What is your philosophy on balancing your schedule and the caliber of non-league opponents?
I want to play as competitive schedule as can be arranged. It is not always easy to land a game with top tier programs, but I will do my best to create a schedule that is challenging to the program and attractive to recruits. But I must also be cognizant of what you just noted - the Ivy League is a very strong conference. Year in and year out, we will most likely have several top 10 opponents on the schedule just within the Ivy League. And the rest of the league can very well be in the top 20.
Q. What role should Brown parents play in support of the program?
We will always want the parents to be active supporters of their son's program. Parents are encouraged to join us for all of our scrimmages, games, and major events. Our Friends of Brown Lacrosse organization can provide them roles within specific areas of Communications, Social Events, and Mentoring. Where the role of parent ends is with the team strategy, schemes and playing time. Once a young man commits to Brown Lacrosse, he is committing to a program. And this program will work hard to develop him into a great lacrosse player with a specified role on the team as determined by the coaching staff.
Q. Have you evaluated the current Brown players and their roles for the future?
Not for one second. We will begin this on September 12, the first day of tryouts. I do not plan on watching old game film. September 12 is the first date of the new coaching regime on the field, and everything from that date is what makes a difference. No preferential treatment will be given: returning starters and walk-on freshmen will literally be on equal playing fields.
Q. You were only hired a short time ago. Have you been out on the recruiting trails, and what do you look for in a potential Brown lacrosse player?
No travel yet - our collegiate men's lacrosse association recently mandated the last half of August as a dead period. So the recruiting for now is only by phone and email. What are we looking for? Young men who have proven themselves to be winners in the classroom, on the field, and in all facets of life. I want the young man whom others describe as tough, competitive, and tenacious, along with exceptional athleticism.