Toronto, ON – Toronto Rock Head Coach John Lovell has announced his coaching staff for the 2014 season with the naming of Blaine Manning and Dan Ladouceur as his assistant coaches. Matt Sawyer (Video) and Pat Campbell (Goaltending) will also return as assistant coaches this season.
Both Manning and Ladouceur enjoyed tremendous success in their playing days with the Rock and each spent their entire NLL careers with Toronto. This will be the first stab at coaching in the NLL for each of the former Rock greats.
Both assistant coaches have gained some valuable experience in recent years as Manning served as an assistant coach with the Oakville Rock of the Ontario Lacrosse Association’s Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) while Ladouceur has been on the bench with the Whitby Junior A Warriors.
“Blaine and Dan both understand this is a big step,” Lovell said of adding two assistants without previous pro coaching experience. “They are both respectful of the challenges and learning that will be a part of this process for everyone. You never stop learning when you are a coach. There will be a lot of hard work put in by everyone on this staff to find the answers to make us successful.”
Manning announced his retirement from the NLL earlier this week after a professional career that saw him win four championships over his 12-year journey with the Rock.
“He has been in the trenches for 12 years living an offence,” said Lovell of Manning. “Blaine understands the game and why things work and why things don’t work as well as anybody. We had some great candidates with far more experience than Blaine but when we assessed at the end of the day, he was my number one choice.”
Ladouceur was a pivotal part of five Champion’s Cup titles in Toronto over his 11-year career and was one of the most feared defenders in the league. His size, physical play and competitiveness made him a player teams did not want to play against.
“Dan has a presence as a former player and that is going to help him,” said Lovell. “He’s developed and gained a lot of experience in Junior A in Whitby working with good people like (Edmonton Rush Head Coach) Derek Keenan. Dan is a guy that is going to have a number of defensive systems and not just one. He knows a lot, he makes adjustments quickly and he can get a message across in a variety of ways. He’s a very positive person.”
Returning to the coaching staff from a year ago are assistant coaches Matt Sawyer and Pat Campbell. Sawyer will continue in his role as video coach and Campbell will once again work with the goaltenders.
“Matt is going to be a very valuable resource for Blaine and I really respect and value his opion,” said Lovell who also notes Sawyer is an important part of the staff when it comes to the NLL Draft as he’s been the head coach of the Orangeville Junior A Northmen for the past nine seasons winning three Minto Cups.
“I see Pat continuing to grow in the role of goaltending coach and building on what he started in the position last season. He brings a lot to the table.”
With the entire Rock coaching staff now in place, the club will continue preparations for the upcoming NLL Draft in mid-September.