As one of the most successful franchises in National Lacrosse League history, Philadelphia gets a lot of attention when it doesn't perform to expectations. Last season was the first time in 12 years that the team did not make the playoffs and its record of 8-8 is hardly what Wings fans were used to. Head coach Adam Mueller, however, is quite optimistic about next year's team. "Last year we learned a lot about our younger players", stated Mueller. "We saw which guys would step up and become a permanent fixture here". The play of rookies such as Keith Cromwell, Tony Henderson, and Andrew Martin was a bright spot insuring much confidence in the administration of the team.
Early after the sub-par season the owners of the Wings showed their confidence in the managing duo of General Manager Marty O'Neill and Mueller, recognizing the many rookies, few retirements, and key injuries to players like Jake Bergey that had limited the teams success. The contracts of both O'Neill and Mueller were renewed for next season, a move that set the coaching staff of the team at ease. "If anyone watched our games they would see that we played a lot of tough teams and statistically held those teams to under their goal average", said Adam. The two have been working together for a while on team management.
O'Neill, a native of Vancouver who grew up playing box style lacrosse, and Mueller an American more familiar with field lacrosse have a good basis to analyze young talent as they have both styles covered. Mueller says they plan to focus more on American kids because "they often get overlooked and if we can get the best American kids out there we will be very competitive".
A huge factor was the injury and absence of Jake Bergey. "He has always been a leader on this team and we missed his competitiveness", said Mueller. "He's one of those guys a lot of the younger kids look up to". Wings fans can look forward to seeing the production of offense again from the Bergey and Marachek pick and roll method. To Mueller, the on-field chemistry between Bergey and Marachek is comparable to the teamwork of Karl Malone and John Stockton in the NBA. "They both just work so well together", said Adam.
This summer Adam has been doing some college scouting with Marty O'Neill and they have said they have names in mind for the draft. He also looks forward to spending a lot of time with his family, especially fishing with his five-year-old son, Addison. Adam has two other children, Madeline and Autumn, and is currently spending his time by the beach in Avalon, NJ. Adam is also looking forward to participating in the Lake Placid Lacrosse Tournament in August along with many other retired coaches of the Wings.
For more information on other stories and news on your favorite teams and players continue to check back with the National Lacrosse League website at http://www.NLL.com over the course of the off-season for continual updates.