Friday, 31 August 2012 00:00
Major League Lacrosse, the premier professional outdoor lacrosse league, announced Wednesday that Long Island Lizards Coach Joe Spallina has been named as the 2012 Brine MLL Coach of the Year, according to MLL Commissioner David Gross. The award was based on the votes submitted by the head coaches and general manager of each of the League’s eight teams.
“It’s a tremendous honor. This is the highest level of the sport that we all love, so I’m tremendously humbled. Our team dealt with a different kind of hand and dealt with adversity and guys deciding not to play or being injured, but that’s a tribute to the character of guys we have who share the same vision that I had of restructuring and getting to the top level,” said Spallina.
“We have a good group and the right mix of veterans and a very young team. A large part of our success has to do with rookies hitting the ground running and the way our veterans welcomed those guys in and made them feel part of it,” the coach added.
In his first season as the Lizards’ leader, Spallina led the Lizards to an 8-6 record and the fourth seed in the 2012 MLL Championship Weekend presented by Warrior. After opening the season with back-to-back losses, the Lizards recovered to win five straight games, including four victories away from James M. Shuart Stadium.
With Spallina at the helm, the Lizards led the MLL by allowing just eight two-point goals while ranking fourth in the MLL by scoring 165 goals.
The Lizards also had two of the top-scoring rookies in the MLL this season. While attackman Matt Gibson led all rookies with 31 points, rookie attackman Tommy Palasek led all MLL rookies with 22 goals and ranked fifth on the team with 27 points.
Spallina, who took over for longtime Coach Jim Mulé, joined the Lizards after a four-year stint as the head women’s lacrosse coach at Adelphi University. He posted a 73-2 record with Adelphi and guided the Panthers to three consecutive NCAA Division II championships.
“Like Brine, Coach Spallina blends innovation with hard work, integrity, leadership and teamwork to create a leading lacrosse product,” said Dave Dixon, Brine Chief Marketing Officer. “Brine congratulates Coach Spallina and the Long Island Lizards on an outstanding season and wishes them the best of luck in the playoffs.”