Men’s Lacrosse: Corrigan reloads staff with 2 new assistant coaches
Tim Dougherty | Tuesday, September 5, 2006
Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan’s summer recruiting effort may have been his most important yet. Amid the search for next season’s high school seniors, he had a more pressing mission – to find a coaching staff.
After losing both of his assistants – Kevin Anderson and Dave Cornell – by the middle of the summer, Corrigan announced last week the hiring of former Rutgers assistant Brian Fisher, who will join former Saint Anselm College head man Gerry Byrne for his second coaching stint at Notre Dame.
Fisher spent five years with the Scarlet Knights working for Rutgers head coach and Corrigan’s good friend Jim Stagnitta – the same man from whom Corrigan hired departing assistant Kevin Anderson in 1997 when Stagnitta and Anderson were at Washington and Lee.
“[Fisher is] a guy I knew coming from the background he came from-he was in a program very similar to [Notre Dame],” Corrigan said. “[He] is very thorough – a hard worker, very conscientious and fits the bill for exactly what we wanted in that position.”
The former Rutgers midfielder and face-off man has been on the Scarlet Knight coaching staff since graduating in 2001. Fisher is also assistant director of MVP Lacrosse Camps.
With five years of experience, according to und.com, Fisher believes his youth will be an asset to a program that found its NCAA tournament rhythm after a four-year hiatus.
“I think I relate well with the student-athletes,” Fisher said in a statement released by the Notre Dame athletic department. “Only being 27 myself and not too far removed from Division I lacrosse, I can relate pretty well with what they are going through.”
Byrne returns to Notre Dame after serving as Corrigan’s first-ever Irish assistant from 1989-91. In 1989, the Irish defensive coordinator was Corrigan’s lone sidekick before spending the next two years as one of three MBA graduate assistants, where he helped the Irish to their first ever Great Lakes Conference title and NCAA tournament berth.
“The opportunity to work with Kevin Corrigan again was an extremely attractive opportunity,” Byrne said in a statement released by the athletic department. “Notre Dame is a symbol of athletic excellence and I know we have the student-athletes, coaches and facilities to get back to the Final Four.”
After leaving Notre Dame, Byrne continued playing lacrosse for several professional teams throughout the 90s, before entering the business side of the game. He was a marketing executive for Brine lacrosse equipment and two other sports marketing firms – while running two lacrosse camps – before scratching at his coaching itch.
Byrne won the 2001 New Hampshire Coach of the Year award after taking the reigns at Souhegan High School. He parlayed that success into the head position the last three years at Saint Anselm in Manchester, NH, where the 1986 Magna Cum Laude UMass graduate also taught courses.
“I know [Byrne is] a very smart and very creative guy,” Corrigan said of his long-time acquaintance. “He’s extremely hard working and he has a great passion for the game of lacrosse and teaching.
“He’s a little bit different in that he hasn’t just been coaching for the last 18 years. I think all those experiences make him an even better coach and I’m really excited to have him back.”
The additions were prompted by the summer departures of assistants Anderson and Cornell.
Cornell, who had been with the Irish since late 2004, left in the middle of the summer to take the head position at Connecticut College – replacing former Irish assistant Dave Cambell who became the head coach at his alma mater, Middlebury College in Vermont.
Anderson decided to leave coaching altogether after 10 years at Notre Dame to pursue business interests, according to Corrigan.
“[Connecticut] is a good opportunity for Dave Cornell,” Corrigan said. “And Kevin Anderson is doing what he thinks is best for his family.”
Though Corrigan said Anderson helped run Irish camps this summer, the coaching vacancies forced Corrigan to lead a solo Irish recruiting effort. Despite the extra work on the recruiting trail, Corrigan – who believes this year’s freshman class his best yet – is pleased with the end result.
“It was hard because I was doing all three jobs,” he said. “We spend the whole summer recruiting every year, but this year I was the only one doing the evaluations from about mid-July on but also the only one calling recruits. This just meant everything was on me, but I worked things out with the guys I wanted for the two positions.”