Aug. 6, 2006
By BILL WAGNER, Staff Writer (Courtesy of the Annapolis Capital)
Athletic director Chet Gladchuk said he would give the Naval Academy's fledgling women's lacrosse program all the resources necessary to compete at the highest level of the sport.
Gladchuk took a major step toward fulfilling that promise by hiring the most successful head coach in the history of Division I women's lacrosse.
Navy formally named Cindy Timchal as its inaugural head coach of varsity women's lacrosse yesterday morning. The Capital first reported the impending hire in yesterday's edition.
Timchal is the winningest coach in NCAA Division I history with a 336-86 career record in 25 seasons. She led Maryland to eight national championships, most of any program at the Division I level.
"We set our sights on seeking out the best candidates in the country for this position and we ended up with the finest coach in the history of the game," Gladchuk said in a press release.
"Cindy's accomplishments are unparalleled and are a benchmark for any coach at any division of competition. Having her accept this historic opportunity clearly illustrates our institutional commitment to succeeding in the fastest growing sport for women in the country."
Timchal compiled a phenomenal record of 260-45 in 16 seasons at Maryland.
She led the Terps to seven straight national titles at one point - posting undefeated campaigns in 1995 (17-0), 1996 (19-0), 1999 (21-0) and 2001 (23-0).
"Cindy is a fantastic coach and an unbelievable person. Her enthusiasm and energy are contagious," Gladchuk said. "Obviously, Cindy's stellar reputation proceeds her. We could not have found a better head coach to jump-start our program. She is the perfect fit for what we were looking for."
Gladchuk initially talked to Timchal while doing background research on another potential candidate. During the course of the conversation, Timchal began asking questions about the job.
"At this point in Cindy's career, the thought of a new challenge really intrigued her," Gladchuk said. "I made it clear the Naval Academy had made an institutional commitment to field a highly-competitive program and that further piqued her interest."
Gladchuk received permission from Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow to formally interview Timchal, who is a a five-time Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year and two-time
Division I National Coach of the Year.
Sources told The Capital that Navy lured Timchal away from Maryland with an impressive compensation package that included a slight salary increase and other benefits. Timchal, who was believed to be the highest paid women's lacrosse coach in the United States with a base salary in the range of $90,000, had four years remaining on her current contract in College Park.
"I don't know exactly what Cindy's salary was at Maryland, but I'm sure she didn't come to Navy for a reduction," Gladchuk said. "I would assume she received some sort of increase in pay."
There were no indications that Maryland made a counter offer in an effort to keep Timchal. Athletic director Debbie A. Yow praised the veteran coach in a release issued by Maryland yesterday.
"Cindy is a marvelous teacher, coach and person," Yow said. "It has been a pleasure to have her on staff as one of our most accomplished coaches. She will always be welcome at Maryland, and we wish her the very best in her new and exciting professional challenge."
Associate athletics director Randy Eaton, Maryland's sport supervisor for women's lacrosse, said a national search would begin immediately for Timchal's successor.
"We want to thank Cindy for 16 wonderful seasons and an unprecedented eight NCAA titles," said Eaton. "She set the bar to a level that may never be equaled in this sport. We are committed to continuing the tradition of success established by Cindy and will work hard to attract and hire a top-quality coach for our student-athletes and our program at Maryland."
Maryland qualified for the NCAA Tournament every year of Timchal's tenure and reached the national championship game in 11 of 14 seasons. However, the Terrapins were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round each of the past two seasons.
This past season was the least successful of Timchal's tenure. The Terrapins finished 12-8 after losing to Atlantic Coast Conference rival North Carolina in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
Navy is the first of the three major service academies to elevate women's lacrosse to varsity status. The Midshipmen will play a full club schedule this spring, including games against a number of varsity programs. In the spring of 2008, the program will assume varsity status and become a full member of the Patriot League, which holds an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
"I'm excited about coming to Navy and it's truly an historic moment to be named the head coach of the first Division I women's lacrosse program at a service academy," Timchal said. "Navy is making a huge commitment to women's lacrosse. Chet assured he would provide me with all the resources it takes to be successful."
Timchal has previous experience directing a start-up program. She was the inaugural head coach at Northwestern in 1982 and compiled a 76-40 record with five NCAA Tournament appearances during a nine-year tenure.
"Obviously, recruiting is the key to building any program in any sport. I am very optimistic we can get top tier athletes interested in the Naval Academy," Timchal said. "My goal is to go out and get great lacrosse players who fit the academy mold."
Timchal, who was contacted while on vacation, confirmed there were some personal reasons involved with her decision. She welcomed the opportunity to be closer to her aging mother, who lives in Annapolis.