The Denver Outlaws made significant changes to their sideline Jan. 18, as General Manager and head coach Brian Reese removed himself from coaching responsibilities. Replacing Reese as head coach will be former Associate Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Tom Slate.
“At this time, I think it’s most beneficial to the organization to split the head coaching and general manager duties,” Reese, the 2009 MLL Coach of the Year, said in a statement on DenverOutlaws.com. “This will allow me to take a step back and concentrate more on other duties besides the on-field coaching.”
The Outlaws experienced significant success under Reese, as the team never missed the playoffs under the new GM and made the MLL Championship game twice. Slate does not lack coaching experience, as he helped guide the 2006 and 2007 Philadelphia Barrage to back-to-back championships.
Slate was most recently the head coach of the San Francisco Dragons in 2007 before the franchise’s collapse.
“I’m excited to take the next step with the Denver Outlaws and accept the position of Head Coach,” Slate said on DenverOutlaws.com. “The bar has been set pretty high in Denver. It’s great to be part of a professional organization like the Outlaws and I’m grateful for the opportunity to help lead this team.”
Slate inherits one of the most talented teams in the MLL but has to make some decisions before the season rolls around. The Outlaws finished with the second-best record last season, as they fell out of the playoffs in the first round and short of the team’s championship goal.
Controversy about who the starting goalie should be for the Outlaws come opening weekend has been stirred up, as 2010 back-up Goalie Adam Fullerton has had an impressive offseason after being named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2011 Champion Challenge Jan. 30 for Team USA. Fullerton was also named to the 2010 Team USA FIL Lacrosse World Championships roster over starting Outlaws Goalie Jesse Schwartzman. Team USA went on to win the world championships over Canada.
Through it all though, Reese said in a release that he has confidence in Slate and his abilities.
“Tom will do an excellent job as Head Coach,” Reese said in a statement on DenverOutlaws.com. “We share many of the same philosophies and work well together. Our goal, like every year, is to win a MLL championship. This structure will help get us there.”
The Outlaws open their season May 14 at INVESCO Field at Mile High against the Hamilton Nationals (formerly the Toronto Nationals). Click here to view entire 2011 Outlaws schedule.