John Paul fired at Michigan

From University press release:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Warde Manuel, the University of Michigan’s Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics, announced Tuesdaythat men’s lacrosse head coach John Paul will not return to the program next season.


“We are extremely grateful to John for his personal and professional investment in helping to build the varsity lacrosse program,” said Manuel. “John has invested over two decades in the growth of lacrosse at the University of Michigan and we owe a debt of gratitude to John for getting the men’s lacrosse team to this point. Building a program is no easy task and, through his efforts, we are in position to take another step competitively on the national level.”


Michigan lacrosse will move into the new South Competition and Performance complex in 2018 with a dedicated lacrosse facility that will seat 2,000 spectators and include comprehensive sport performance and locker room facilities.


Michigan recently finished the 2017 season with an 8-6 overall record, 0-5 in Big Ten Conference play. The eight wins marked a program high in its sixth season as a varsity team.


Paul guided Michigan lacrosse from club level to varsity in 2012, posting a six-year varsity record of 23-61 (.274), including a 2-24 (.077) mark in conference play.


A 1994 graduate of U-M, Paul previously coached the Wolverine’s club lacrosse team for 14 seasons. He also worked in the athletic development office for five years.


A national search will begin immediately.

This is almost certainly the wrong move (which is a different question than “the move that means Michigan will win the most games next year”), but if Warde Manuel gets his coaching move advice from the LaxPower forum – which would explain why he wasn’t going to fire hockey coach Red Berenson if he couldn’t convince the veteran to retire – then so be it. Paul earned his first four years or so by earning varsity status for the program through private donations, then the last two years were when he should have started to be judged by results, and while they weren’t great results, for the first and second years of a program that was finally not saddled with newcomer status or club players, they should have been enough for a year three (after next year, a winless Big Ten season would be more than fair grounds for firing).

I would imagine part of the reason for the move is that Paul was not necessarily in approval, but certainly accepting of his fate. I would guess another big part is that there’s a strong likelihood the Wolverines bring in a big-name, proven success (or have one lined up after the federally-mandated 14-day waiting period), but that remains to be seen.

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One Response to John Paul fired at Michigan

  1. DCLaxFan says:

    Tim: I think UM lax fans are still wondering why Manuel felt it necessary to fire JP this year. For sure JP’s first few few years should be considered mulligans as he was using essentially a club team. So he should be judged on the past two years. I admit up front that I am extremely grateful for all that JP had done for the program over the past 20 years, and that may cloud my judgment on the team’s progress. Nevertheless, despite the huge uptick in the team’s talent this year, it is clear that there is still a talent gap between UM and the elite teams. That’s why UM beat all the weak and mediocre teams it faced this year, and got slammed by the top teams. But in the games I saw in person or on tv/internet, it wasn’t the coaching schemes that caused the losses, but mainly the talent gap. That gap continues to close as UM has brought in a good class for 2018 and the highly-regarded 2017 class gains experience. I would have liked to have seen JP get one more year to show what he could do with improved talent. I would bet heavy money that most UM lax alums wanted JP to have another year to prove himself. So I’m left pondering what drove Manuel to fire JP now. I’m bummed out big time by the move even if UM brings in a “big-name” hire.

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