Tim McCormack Named Pac-12 Coach of the Year
SAN FRANCISCO – Sun Devil Lacrosse Head Coach Tim McCormack was selected as the Pac-12 Coach of the Year, the conference announced as part of their postseason awards.
The award is voted on by the other coaches in the league, with McCormack's turnaround effort impressing his peers. He becomes the first Arizona State Head Coach to win the award this academic year. McCormack joins a list of the best coaches to ever call Tempe home, as the 77th Sun Devil since 1979 to earn conference coach of the year honors. He is the first to do it since Sun Devil Wrestling Head Coach Zeke Jones was named the 2020 Pac-12 Coach of the Year.
McCormack has been the architect of a massive improvement over the past two seasons, culminating in a 10-6 campaign in 2021. The program accomplished many firsts in only his second season in charge, including its first victory over a Top-20 team, first ranking in a major national Top-25 poll, and the first 10-win season.
Under Coach McCormack's tutelage, attackers Carley Adams and Emily Glagolev along with defender Bella Gaspar were named to the All-Conference First Team, becoming the first Sun Devils to accomplish the feat. Goalkeeper Berkeley Bonneau, attacker Kerri Clayton, and midfielder/draw specialist Maura Cissel earned a spot on the second team. Of the 24 players to earn a spot, six of them were from Arizona State, a reflection of the strength of the roster.
As voted on by the coaches of the Pac-12, the Sun Devils tied Pac-12 Regular Season and Tournament Champion Stanford for most selections in the conference. In the previous two seasons of the All-Conference Team prior to Coach McCormack's arrival, Arizona State only had a total of three selections.
Of the possible 20 recipients of a Pac-12 Player of the Week award in 2021, ten were Sun Devils. ASU has earned six offensive and four defensive player of the week selections, an indication of the balance of the team. Arizona State has now had 13 individuals receive the top weekly conference honor in Head Coach Tim McCormack's two seasons, after previously only winning the award three times in the two prior seasons.
The ten wins were the most in a single-season, as Coach McCormack moved to 15-9 as the Head Coach. Arizona State was 12-24 in the previous two seasons under the previous coaching staff. The Sun Devils finished fourth in the Pac-12 standings for the first time, with a 5-4 record. In the previous three seasons, they had a combined four conference wins. Coach McCormack led the program to its first Pac-12 Tournament victory, defeating No. 5 seed Cal in the opening round to earn a berth in the conference semifinals.
The Maroon & Gold rank in the Top-10 nationally in assists/game (2nd), scoring offense (8th), and draw controls/game (9th). In the 24 games of Coach McCormack's tenure, Arizona State has scored 15+ goals in 16 games and 20+ goals in eight contests. His team enjoyed a five-game win streak earlier in the season, the longest in school history (previous long was 3). They outscored opponents 94-51 during that span.
McCormack had the Sun Devils in contention for an at-large tournament bid, with the team finishing at No. 34 in the RPI. They had no bad losses on their resume and challenged themselves with a road non-conference matchup against tournament participant No. 12 Denver.
The program picked up its first-ever victories over Colorado and USC in Coach McCormack's first matchup with the Pac-12 powers. ASU had previously been outscored by the Buffaloes 62-15 in four all-time matchups and USC had an 83-25 advantage in five previous meetings under the previous staff. The Sun Devils also earned a season sweep of Cal, the second time that ASU has swept a conference opponent (previous was Oregon in 2019). It was the first time they had beaten a team three times in one season.
Fans at Sun Devil Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium have been treated to brilliant lacrosse, as ASU finished 6-2 at home in 2021, outscoring opponents by a total score of 144-92. They could get it done on the road as well, snapping USC's eight-game home winning streak with a 20-11 win on March 19th.
The 11-goal victory USC's largest margin of defeat to a Pac-12 opponent. The 20 goals matched the most that USC had allowed in a game ever, a total reached by No. 2-ranked Boston College in the 2017 NCAA Quarterfinals.
The loss to Arizona State was the first time USC lost to an unranked opponent since an 18-11 loss to Oregon (April 8, 2018) but that was on the road – it was the first time USC fell to an unranked foe at home since April 18, 2014 (a 10-8 loss to Oregon) when USC was also unranked. Meaning the Maroon & Gold became the first unranked team to beat a ranked Trojans' squad at home.
The Sun Devils forced a running clock midway through the second half in the two sides first meeting of 2021, only the second time that an opponent had accomplished that feat against the Trojans at McAlister Field. The only other team to achieve a double-digit lead in a road matchup with USC was Northwestern way back in the Trojans' first game as a program in 2013.USC has had running clock on it only two other times in the history of the program: Apr. 8, 2018 – at Oregon and Feb. 23, 2021 – at Stony Brook.
Coach McCormack's team excels on the field and in the classroom, with the team boasting a record 3.64 Fall semester G.P.A. Several Sun Devils are candidate for Pac-12 Honor Roll selection. A total of 17 members of the program graduated in the Spring with some in the midst of earning graduate degrees.
He also signed a loaded 2021 signing class made up of several highly-skilled prospects from all around the continent, continuing to prove there are no limits to where they can find talent. The class is made up of six versatile midfielders, three dangerous attackers, a promising goalkeeper, and a tough defender. Freshman have made an immediate impact under Coach McCormack, with Bella and Gigi Gaspar starting every game on defense for the Sun Devils. With Tim McCormack at the helm the future of Sun Devil Lacrosse is in good hands.
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