The Taking of Boulder, Easy as 1-2-3

6 - Published June 24, 2011 by in Commentary

Mercurial program.  Turbulent administration.  Precedent of upheaval.

All of these came into play in the recent heist within the MCLA.  On Thursday it was announced that John Galvin would be returning to the position of Head Coach for the Colorado Buffaloes men’s lacrosse program, which finally put the Dave Pietramala rumors to rest.  On the Out-of-left-field scale, that scored roughly a 1.5 out of 10, with 1 being completely predictable, and 10 being completely unforeseen.  And with the announcement, a Top 10 MCLA program had been snatched from the hands of new MCLA blood (and new CU blood), and returned to one of its keepers.

The players will likely be happy with this, the alumni likely are as well.  We know the administration is happy with it.  But it was a heist, let’s not get distracted.

John Galvin, coming home to Boulder

It was a perfect distraction of details, to be certain.  We had a program in CU that loved to be the oddball.  In 2010, they lost to Loyola Marymount, and then beat Michigan.  In 2011, they could beat Boston College on the road, but in a virtual home game in the tournament they needed a 5-1 fourth quarter advantage just to lose by 1 goal.  And in the middle, we had a coaching bonanza.  First we had the nice guy, Pete Stevenson:

Remember THAT video?  They seemed pretty pumped for him at the time.  But it turned out they were just rationalizing the decision, and nice guys do finish last (or at least they lose more games than expected…).  Then they popped in Mike Ryder, who did much better, relative to Stevenson.  But Colorado Lacrosse is the Arkansas Football of the MCLA: exaggerated expectations.  You’ve got alumni, parents, and players who expect every game to be a W.  Colorado has been developing lacrosse talent at the youth and high school level for over a decade.  That provides a system that Red Hot Buffs supporters believe should be generating returns even at the local MCLA colleges if it can do so at the NCAA level as well.

Well maybe that local lacrosse scene has been generating MCLA success, just down the road in Fort Collins and not in Boulder.  In the time that Colorado State has won four national titles, Colorado has been to one Final Four.  Perhaps that is what this all boils down to for the Buffaloes: a severe case of bighorn envy.

The circumstances were volatile, and the CU club sports department released Ryder and assistant coach Taylor Short for vague “administrative concerns.”  While the MCLA community reacted, fearing a new threat to coaching consistency, something didn’t pass the smell test.  In truth, the Colorado men’s lacrosse program was passed through administrative sleight of hand to one of its previous owners.

We can do the dance, we can rally around like good ole boys and pat Galvin on the back as he rides into Boulder on his white horse, surely to lead them to future success.

But here is my question for you, as an MCLA Fan: Why are we not reacting with more anger over the return of Galvin, when just two weeks ago we were up in arms over the dismissal of Ryder? People were upset that CU Club Sports Director Kris Schoech had dealt Mike Ryder a bad hand, but it turns out Schoech was just dealing the cards John Galvin (or supporters of Galvin’s return) had passed him.

I didn’t seek John Galvin or Kris Schoech for comment.  I don’t have to.  They won’t confirm what I’m saying, they’ll only deny it, as they should.  But it shouldn’t surprise them that I’m not the only one that thinks this was succession was planned for some time.  For the Buffs fans’ and players’ sake, it hopefully will lead to future successes that the program has wanted so badly to have secured already.

I wish them luck.


Paul Weiss is a new writer over at CollegeLax, and he is writing some great stuff.  Check out his views on Galvin’s re-hiring.

There was a quote from Galvin in the press release about what he’s been doing since leaving the Colorado program in 2009: “I have a business in Boulder and I have been running that business. It’s a lacrosse business and I have been trying to build local support in Boulder for the game of lacrosse and build up the sport in the State of Colorado.”  Ummmmm, ok?  How vague can you be?  It sounds like he has been running some sort of lacrosse mafia operation with a quote like that.  Couldn’t toss a company name out there?  Whatever, now it just sounds like I’m bashing the guy.

In the same forum post mentioning/announcing Ryder being fired, it was mentioned that Galvin would likely return.  Inevitability.

If you have comments on this story, or tips for future stories, email me at

UPDATE: Mike Ryder has weighed on with his thoughts on the forum.  At the very least, he has closure on his passage from the program.  Good guy.

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