A year ago, Dave Cottle was a full-on lacrosse celebrity. The longtime University of Maryland head coach was in the middle of a stirring season for his team, with the Terps looking like prime contenders for another national title in the forthcoming NCAA tournament.
The Terps made it to the tourney, but were stunned in the national quarterfinals by eventual NCAA runner-up Notre Dame, and Cottle resigned in late May after nine years leading one of the most powerful programs in college lacrosse. And that's why, when a high school coach from Maryland asked him for advice in fall 2010, he was happy to reach out, even offering to meet him over a steak.
According to the Washington Post, as a result of that meeting, Cottle -- who has since been named as the president of Major League Lacrosse's Chesapeake Bayhawks -- has served as a sort of unpaid consultant for St. John's (Md.) School's lacrosse program in 2011, watching and analyzing some of the team's game film of the sophomore and junior-stacked team's run to a surprising 8-3 record.
"Once we pushed the plates aside, it was all lacrosse," St. John's coach Danny Phillips told the Post. "We were drawing things on napkins and just going from there.
"Some of the stuff he was telling us at times was way over our heads, but he's a really good guy, and it's great to tap into some of his experience to help us."
After watching film of a St. John's fall scrimmage, Cottle was able to provide more specific feedback, all while emphasizing a zen-like long-run approach for the program.
"Lacrosse is a little bit like golf," Cottle told the Post. "Off that first tee you can slice it, hook it or hit it straight, but there's a lot of ways to end up where you want to be."
Now, thanks to some of his advice -- and the emergence of sophomore attackman Taylor Valencia -- St. John's is exactly where it wants to be.
"[Cottle is] one of the great minds in lacrosse." Phillips told the Post. Given St. John's current success, plenty others would probably agree with that assessment.