Chesapeake Bayhawks general manager and former University of Maryland men's lacrosse coach Dave Cottle has spent nearly 40 years playing and coaching lacrosse in the state.
Since playing college lacrosse at Salisbury University and beginning his coaching career at the Severn School in 1980, the Baltimore native has overseen many great lacrosse programs in the area.
Cottle was inducted into the US Lacrosse Chesapeake Chapter Hall of Fame Jan. 26, alongside former St. Mary's Annapolis High School lacrosse head coach Jim Moorhead. The local chapter of the sport's national governing body represents lacrosse in Anne Arundel County.
"From Brian Wood, one of the greatest Division I lacrosse players, who was inducted into the chapter, to Buddy Beardmore, from the University of Maryland, to now Jim Moorhead, and to be associated with those names from Anne Arundel County is a sincere honor," Cottle said.
Upon receiving his local Hall of Fame recognition, Cottle reflected on his long and successful coaching career in Maryland.
"Every year was special in itself," Cottle said. "The first two years at Severn, when I was trying to figure out what I was doing, we won Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association ‘B' titles, and back then I thought it couldn't get any better than that. Then at Maryland, we went to the Final Four."
The 2008 Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year has fond memories of his time as a Division I men's lacrosse coach at Loyola (1983-2001) and Maryland (2002-10).
"Really at Loyola it was building it up from the ground and being a part of something that was bigger than me," Cottle said. "Really, the thing I cherished the most at Maryland was the players. We were very fortunate to have some tremendous teammates and competitive kids who really played hard. I always say, at Maryland, you don't make friends for four years, you make friends for life. So that was special."
The longtime head coach still follows the Terps and Division I lacrosse closely as a talent evaluator for the Bayhawks, and he has been impressed with what he has seen from the Maryland program during the past few seasons.
"I am a big John Tillman fan, and I am a big University of Maryland fan, too," Cottle said. "I am extremely proud of how they have done. They have been knocking on the door of this championship for the last couple years, and you never know what's going to be the thing that breaks you through."
Now working in the Bayhawks' front office, Cottle has turned his focus to growing Major League Lacrosse and watching the benefits the professional franchise has had in the region.
"There are only nine municipalities in all of the country that have an opportunity to watch the best players in the world play," Cottle said. "I think having professional lacrosse in your area really helps improve the quality of play from your youth kids on up, because they get a chance to see the best players in the world play, and they get a chance to see how hard they train, and I think they are excellent role models."
Cottle has continued to watch and participate in the cultivation of lacrosse talent in Central Maryland during the past four decades. As a coach at the youth levels all the way up to the professional ranks, Cottle has always been able to find skilled, local athletes.
Cottle, who has been with the Bayhawks in some capacity since 2010, was the head coach from 2011-2015 and led the team to back-to-back MLL titles in 2012 and 2013. During his time with the Bayhawks, he also helped coach the talented young players on the Annapolis Hawks Lacrosse club teams, who proved just as capable at winning titles as the Bayhawks' championship teams.
"The 2015 [high school graduate] team had 16 kids who played for St. Mary's, and they came back and won their first MIAA Championship," Cottle said. "We had five or six kids at South River [High School], and they won two state championships during that time. We had kids from Calverton, and they won a couple championships. I took tremendous pride in watching those kids from Anne Arundel County go to their high schools and win."
As a US Lacrosse Chesapeake Chapter Hall of Fame Inductee, Cottle has been given the opportunity to reflect on a long coaching career that has seen stops at each level of the sport and allowed him to cross paths with some of the top lacrosse players in the world.
"As a coach, you are always looking forward, and [the induction ceremony] presented an opportunity to actually look back and actually cherish the relationships with the former players and former coaches and even the parents of players, and that's what made it special," Cottle said.
Issue 230: February 2017