The National Lacrosse League has announced three finalists for 2016 NLL Head Coach of the Year (The Les Bartley Award). The New England Black Wolves’ Glenn Clark, Buffalo Bandits’ Troy Cordingley and Saskatchewan Rush’s Derek Keenan were the top three vote-getters for their head-coaching roles with their respective teams.
Clark led New England to a second-place finish in the East Division and playoff berth with a 10-8 record in his first season, marking the league’s fourth-best record and biggest turnaround from 2015 after the Black Wolves finished 4-14 last year. The team posted a 6-3 home record, went 8-5 against the East, ranked third in the NLL in goals allowed (212) and scored the fourth-most goals (229) as the franchise made the postseason for the first time since 2013. Clark coached two of the league’s top 12 scorers and oversaw one of the top netminders in save percentage and wins as the Black Wolves had the NLL’s third-best goal differential (+17). The 46-year-old played nine seasons in the NLL from 1998 to 2006 and served as head coach of the Toronto Rock from 2007 to 2009.
Cordingley helped Buffalo to the league’s top overall seed with a 13-5 record atop the East Division, including an 8-1 mark at home, 9-4 record against East teams and 4-1 versus the West in his third season. The Bandits set a franchise record for wins (13), scored a league-high 251 goals and allowed 214 goals, the fourth-fewest in the NLL, and finished the regular season with a 9-1 record down the stretch. He coached the league’s top overall scorer and helped direct the top penalty kill unit (60.2%) in the NLL while finishing with the second-best goal differential (+37). Cordingley played nine seasons in the league, winning two titles with the Buffalo Bandits in 1993 and 1996, before retiring as a player in 2001. The 49-year-old won The Les Bartley Award twice, with the Calgary Roughnecks in 2009 and Toronto Rock in 2013.
Keenan directed Saskatchewan to the top spot in the West Division for a third-straight year with a 13-5 record, which included going 7-2 at home while posting an 8-3 record against the West and 5-2 mark versus the East. The Rush allowed the fewest goals (190) and shots (784) in the NLL, registered the most shots (984), sported the second-best penalty kill (51.9%) and second-fewest penalty minutes (257) in the league. Keenan coached a top-six forward in scoring and netminder with the league’s best goals against average as the Rush led the NLL in goal differential (+43). Keenan, who also serves as the Rush’s general manager, won his second-straight Champion’s Cup in 2016. Keenan is the only person in league history to win NLL Head Coach of the Year three times (2006, 2010 & 2014). The 54-year-old, who played three seasons in the league (1992-1993 & 1999), has been head coach of the Rush since 2009.
The NLL Head Coach of the Year award is named in honor of the late Les Bartley, whose contribution to his teams, the National Lacrosse League, and the game of lacrosse is immeasurable. Bartley, who passed away in May 2005 after battling cancer, left behind an illustrious coaching legacy. He won seven championship rings in his 12-year coaching career and tallied an astonishing 93-38 (.710) regular season record behind the bench.
The 2016 NLL Season Awards are determined by a vote of the league’s Board of Governors, General Managers and Head Coaches at the end of the regular season. The winners will be announced at the NLL Season Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 27 in Toronto, Ont.
Schedule of finalist announcement for the remaining NLL Season Awards:
Tuesday, June 28: General Manager of the Year award finalists
Wednesday, June 29: Rookie of the Year award finalists
Thursday, June 30: Most Valuable Player award finalists
Tuesday, July 5: Teammate of the Year award finalists
Wednesday, July 6: Air Canada Wingman of the Year award finalists
Thursday, July 7: Executive of the Year award finalists
Monday, July 11: Media Person of the Year (The Tom Borrelli Award) winner
Tuesday, September 27: 2016 NLL Season Awards Ceremony