Monday Morning Massacre
Swarm Coaching Staff Swept out of Swarmville
May 4, 2015
Swarm fans don't get much time to luxuriate in reliving the memory of Jason Noble's spectacular overtime game winner last Saturday at Ho-Chunk Nation Field at The Hive to finish the 2015 season.
John Arlotta, Minnesota Swarm Owner & General Manager, announced this morning that the entire Swarm coaching staff will not be returning for the 2016 season which includes Head Coach and Assistant General Manager Joe Sullivan and his assistants Aime Caines and Rory McDade. Snap, Crackle and Pop goes more people taking the blame for the stewardship of the Good Swarm Ship Arlotta the last couple of seasons.
Arlotta said the search for a new Head Coach started this morning and will presumably take most of the summer as he will search through every sweaty, unconditioned concrete rink north of the 49th parallel from Nanaimo to Halifax including all stops between. He will be trying to find a person who can relate to and maximize the ability of the young players currently on the team now and the even younger players to replace those young players in the probable very near future.
My hunch is by the beginning of August, a replacement for Sullivan will be found to give the new guy or gal about a month and half of time to practice carrying the jersey of the player that Arlotta picks onto the stage at the beginning of the 2015 NLL Entry Draft. That jersey will have the name of the player who will be the first overall pick in this year's draft (from New England in the Kevin Ross trade). That player's name will be divined solely by Arlotta and that name will be or damn well should be Lyle Thompson, the soon to be two-time Tewaraaton Trophy winner and brother of Miles Thompson.
Sullivan joined the Swarm as an assistant to Mike Lines for the 2010 after spending the two previous years as an assistant in Chicago and Toronto. He replaced Lines as head coach on February 22, 2012 after the Swarm started that season 3-3. The Swarm finished that year 9-7 and the team advanced to their first ever Division Finals losing against Edmonton at The Hive. He was named the NLL coach of the Year in 2012. After a slow start in 2013, the team was able to finish 7-9 which was last in the West but due to the crossover rule in effect for from 2012 - 2013, they were slotted in the East playoffs ahead of Buffalo due to a better record. The team had their greatest playoff victory, 20-11, in Toronto before falling in the East Division Finals, 12-10, in Rochester.
The last two seasons, the Swarm finished out of the playoffs with a franchise worst 4-14 in 2014 and this year's 6-12. These last two seasons apppear to have cost Sullivan and his assistants their weekend jobs. Even before the 2014 season, key players like Ryan Benesch, Andrew Watt, Nik Bilic and Evan Kirk were traded with very little in return. The draft prior to that year was used to try to replenish with Logan Schuss and Noble but it didn't seem enough as the team faltered especially on offense. More trades prior to and during 2015 hindered the team's progress as well. In both years, the offense finished last in the league just barely averaging ten goals a game. Uncertainity in net which would see the quick hook often made the defense uncertain. Not winning at home in front of the fans during the last two years going 5-13, also had to have an effect.
Sullivan has had a tough time this year with coaching jobs as he was let go by the Peterborough Lakers in the MSL after being the head coach for the 2014 year. Maybe Sullivan gets a chance to interview for the opening in New England that is another young struggling team. Caines joined the Swarm as an assistant in 2010 along with Sullivan under Lines and has now made the Twin Cities his home and is well respected figure in the local lacrosse scene. Will he stay in Minnesota or maybe even get a chance to join the new staff, we shall wait and see. McDade, a former Swarm player from 2006 - 2009, joined the staff this year but with a couple years already as head coach of the Burnaby Lakers of the WLA is a rising star in the coaching ranks and should most undoubtedly get another shot in the NLL. Earlier in the year, the Swarm released fellow assistant Bobby Keast.
Sullivan finished his career with the Swarm 21-38 in the regular season and 2-2 in the playoffs during a time in Swarm history that saw them get as close to Champions Cup glory then at any other time and also to the most bottom of the barrel at any other time in team history. Unfortunately for Sullivan, Caines and McDade, the team right now is closer to the bottom of the barrel ergo the search is on for the new head coach and his staff.