Bay­hawks part with Reese as coach

Chesapeake in pur­suit of full-time coach with plans to ex­pand prod­uct in re­gion

Baltimore Sun - - MAJOR LEAGUE LACROSSE - By Bill Wag­ner bwag­ner@capgaznews.com twit­ter.com/BWag­n­er_CapGaz

President Mark Bur­dett thinks the Chesapeake Bay­hawks need a full-time head coach to take the next step for­ward.

Brian Reese was un­able to make that type of com­mit­ment.

As a re­sult, Reese and the Bay­hawks have am­i­ca­bly parted ways, the team an­nounced Thurs­day.

“We made a de­ter­mi­na­tion as an or­ga­ni­za­tion that we need a full-time head coach. We need some­body 100 per­cent com­mit­ted to what the Bay­hawks are work­ing on for the fu­ture,” Bur­dett said. “Can­didly, Brian just can’t fit that bill be­cause of his com­mit­ments. Frankly, those com­mit­ments are more im­por­tant and we un­der­stand that.”

Bur­dett said the search for a full-time coach would be­gin im­me­di­ately and de­clined to spec­u­late on pos­si­ble can­di­dates.

Reese com­piled a 15-13 record in two sea­sons as Chesapeake’s coach. The Bay­hawks fin­ished in a seven-way tie for first place with an 8-6 record in his first sea­son but missed the play­offs by tiebreaker. This past sea­son, Chesapeake went 7-7 and again nar­rowly missed the play­offs for the third straight sea­son.

Bur­dett said he spoke to Reese about tak­ing the coach­ing job on a full-time ba­sis, but that was not pos­si­ble be­cause he works as a teacher and coach at Glenelg Coun­try and also has four chil­dren. His wife, Cathy Reese, is head coach of women’s lacrosse at Mary­land.

“We rec­og­nized the head coach­ing po­si­tion as we en­vi­sion it mov­ing for­ward was not go­ing to fit into Brian’s sched­ule so we just de­cided it was in ev­ery­one’s best in­ter­ests to move on,” Bur­dett said. “Brian isn’t happy, which is un­der­stand­able. He wants an­other shot at lead­ing the Bay­hawks to a cham­pi­onship and we get that.”

Reese played for the Bay­hawks when they were based in Bal­ti­more and also served as an as­sis­tant for the fran­chise. He served as gen­eral man­ager of the Den­ver Out­laws from 2005 through 2010, dou­bling as coach for part of that time.

“I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the op­por­tu­nity I was given by the Bay­hawks. It’s a great or­ga­ni­za­tion to work with in terms of the owner, the president and the gen­eral man­ager,” Reese said. “I got a chance to coach a lot of great play­ers and be part of a fab­u­lous locker room.” Chesapeake tran­si­tioned from a vet­eran club into a much younger one un­der Reese, a St. Paul’s grad­u­ate and stand­out de­fense­man at Mary­land. He in­te­grated nu­mer­ous rook­ies this sea­son and was look­ing for­ward to watch­ing the young squad de­velop.

“I think the team is poised for big things. I wish I had been able to see this through be­cause I think it’s on the brink of some­thing spe­cial,” Reese said. “I un­der­stand what the Bay­hawks want and I have to re­spect their de­ci­sion.”

Bur­dett said the Bay­hawks are look­ing to take the or­ga­ni­za­tion to an­other level with de­vel­op­ment of a new sta­dium com­plex. Chesapeake owner Bren­dan Kelly wants to build the first sta­dium de­signed specif­i­cally for Ma­jor League Lacrosse in the Brian Reese Crownsville area.

Bur­dett said he and Kelly are sched­uled to meet with Anne Arun­del County Ex­ec­u­tive Steve Schuh on Mon­day and be­lieves the MLL fran­chise is on the verge of “green­light­ing phase one of our sta­dium.”

“We are close to putting a shovel in the ground,” he said.

Bur­dett in­di­cated the sta­dium pro­ject and other ini­tia­tives the Bay­hawks want to pur­sue re­quire hav­ing a full-time coach.

“When you look at the size, scope and di­men­sion of what we’re on the verge of ac­com­plish­ing … we just have to move into a full-time en­vi­ron­ment,” he said.

Bur­dett said he and Kelly want the coach rep­re­sent­ing the Bay­hawks at civic events and other im­por­tant com­mu­nity func­tions.

“The Bay­hawks as a busi­ness and a brand must win in the com­mu­nity. Our head coach is the face of the team in that en­vi­ron­ment,” Bur­dett said. “There is one per­son that should be speak­ing on be­half of the or­ga­ni­za­tion on a full-time ba­sis and that’s the head coach.”

Chesapeake would be­come the first MLL fran­chise to hire a full-time head coach.

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