The National Lacrosse League has announced three finalists for 2015 NLL Head Coach of the Year (The Les Bartley Award). The Rochester Knighthawks’ Mike Hasen, Edmonton Rush’s Derek Keenan and Toronto Rock’s John Lovell were the top three vote-getters for their head-coaching roles with their respective teams.
Hasen helped Rochester to the league’s third-best record at 12-6 in his fifth season as the team’s head coach. Second in the East Division, the Knighthawks went 7-2 at home and allowed a league-low 173 goals. From Toronto, Ont., Hasen played 13 years in the league including nine seasons with the Knighthawks. Hasen was an assistant coach with Rochester for two years before his promotion in 2011 where he won the Les Bartley Award in his first season as head coach. Hasen, who won a league-record three-straight titles from 2012-2014, was the runner up for the award last year.
Keenan led Edmonton to the top of the West Division for the second-straight year with a 13-5 record, second-best in the league. Keenan, who also serves as the Rush’s general manager, went on to win his first-ever Champion’s Cup in 2015. Keenan coached two players in the top 10 of NLL scoring while the team allowed the second-fewest goals (177) in the league. Last season, he became the first person in league history to win NLL Head Coach of the Year for a third time. The Oshawa, Ont. native played three seasons in the league and has been head coach of the Rush since 2009. Keenan had five previous years of head coaching experience following his first five seasons as an assistant coach. Keenan won the Les Bartley Award in 2006, was a co-winner in 2010, and took home the honor again in 2014.
Lovell coached Toronto to the league’s best record at 14-4 with a 7-2 record both at home and on the road. The Rock allowed the third-fewest goals (185) while scoring the third-most (230) as the team eventually advanced to the Champion’s Cup Finals as East Division champs. Toronto started the season with a 9-1 record and did not lose back-to-back games all year. The second-year head coach served as an assistant coach for the Rock for seven years before taking over head coaching duties in 2014. From Elora, Ont., Lovell has over 30 years of coaching experience spanning across all levels of lacrosse.
The NLL Head Coach of the Year award is named in honor of the late Les Bartley, whose contribution to his teams, to the NLL, and to the game of lacrosse is immeasurable. Bartley, who passed away in May 2005 after battling cancer, left behind an illustrious coaching legacy. He won seven championship rings in his 12-year coaching career and tallied an astonishing 93-38 (.710) regular season record behind the bench.
The 2015 NLL Season Awards are determined by a vote of the league’s Board of Governors, General Managers and Head Coaches at the end of the regular season. The winners will be announced at the NLL Season Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 29 in Toronto, Ont.
Schedule of finalist announcement for the remaining NLL Season Awards:
Tuesday, June 23: General Manager of the Year award finalists
Wednesday, June 24: Rookie of the Year award finalists
Thursday, June 25: Most Valuable Player award finalists
Monday, June 29: Teammate of the Year award finalists
Tuesday, June 30: Pinty’s Wingman of the Year award finalists
Monday, July 6: Media Person of the Year (The Tom Borrelli Award) winner
Tuesday, September 29: 2015 NLL Season Awards Ceremony