The Buffalo Bandits announced significant changes to their front office and coaching staff today. Former head coach Troy Cordingley has been assigned to be the director of scouting and assistant general manager while former assistant coaches John Tavares and Rich Kilgour have been promoted to head coaching positions. The team also decided to retain Steve Dietrich as general manager.
After a disappointing finish to the 2017-2018 season in which the Bandits missed the playoffs for the second straight season, it took some time to decide what changes would be made for the staff and front office.
“This was such a lengthy process because this was a tough decision. Changes are tough especially when there is the personal aspect of friends involved,” said Dietrich. “First, Scott Loffler and management had to decide whether to bring me [Dietrich] back. Then Troy, Scott and I met to talk about what to do. It was a tough summer.”
Tavares and Kilgour are no strangers to the Bandits organization or being behind the bench, so the front office has confidence in their abilities.
“We’re so excited to have ‘JT’ and Rich as our coaches. They are obviously legends of the game, but their lacrosse knowledge is outstanding,” said Dietrich. “They understand how important it is to win in this market.”
Tavares will continue to focus on the offense while Kilgour will continue to focus on the defense, but they will coordinate strategies, systems and line changes as a team.
“We talked at the combine about how we both played offense and defense,” noted Kilgour. “We see things a lot in the same light. I’ll listen to his advice about the defense and he’ll listen to mine about the offense.”
Perhaps the biggest change made is the new role for Cordingley. He’ll no longer be involved in coaching at all and will primarily focus on scouting the teams in the East Division. The team employs Rob Buchan to scout the West.
”Troy won’t have a say in the game plan, game night lineup or roster,” said Dietrich. “He’ll be assisting me. He’ll attend a lot of games in Toronto. He’s very good at breaking down other players and teams.”
Co-existing as two head coaches doesn’t seem to concern Tavares or Kilgour. They’re even prepared for how they’ll handle practices.
“Practice plays traditionally come from one head coach, but now we’ll have two coaches putting a practice together and two heads are better than one,” said Tavares. “We’ll call each other and plan ahead of time.”
”We’re on the same page,” added Kilgour.
“It’s an honor to be promoted to head coach,” noted Kilgour. “After 18 years as a player and eight years as a coach for this premier organization, I was waiting for my number to be called.”
The announcement came five days before the NLL entry draft that will take place on September 25th in Philadelphia, PA. The Bandits kick off their season on December 1st when they host the Toronto Rock at KeyBank Center.