(Duluth, GA) – The National Lacrosse League today announced that Georgia Swarm head coach Ed Comeau has been named the recipient of the 2017 NLL Head Coach of the Year Award (Les Bartley Award). This is Comeau’s second Les Bartley Award; he first won the award when he led the Rochester Knighthawks to a Champion’s Cup victory in 2007.
“First and foremost, as we say with all individual awards, individual awards in a team sport are not truly individual awards,” Comeau said. “They’re team awards, and winning an award like that is a function of the success of the team. Secondly, I like to say this is a coaching staff award. I think that’s our proof of the excellent job (assistant coach) Sean Ferris continues to do for us and (assistant coach) Dan Ladouceur coming into the staff this year was huge. Both of those guys are a huge part of our success.”
“First, congratulations to Coach Comeau on behalf of the entire Swarm organization,” Swarm Owner and General Manager John Arlotta said. “Anyone who has worked with him since he became our Head Coach knows that he has worked hard not only to put a winning team on the floor, but also to help develop the Swarm brand and business in the Georgia market. As one of the most successful coaches in the NLL, Ed obviously has a winning set of core principles. However, what stands out the most to me after watching him for two years is his ability to engage and empower his players and coaches to help tweak his principles in a way that maximizes their potential. This flexibility was obviously a key to our success in 2017.”
Comeau’s second season as the Swarm head coach saw his team improve from an 8-10 record and a first-round postseason defeat in 2016 to the best record in the NLL in 2017 at 13-5 and a postseason sweep of the Toronto Rock in the East Division Finals and the two-time defending champion Saskatchewan Rush in the Champion’s Cup Final.
With the addition of Ladouceur in the offseason, Georgia’s offense set a new NLL record for most team goals scored in a single season with 266. MVP Lyle Thompson became the first Swarm player in franchise history to reach and surpass the 100-point mark, and seven different players finished the season with 50 points or more, another NLL record.
Under the continued leadership of Ferris and veterans Mike Poulin, John Ranagan, and 2017 Defensive Player of the Year Jason Noble, Georgia’s defense improved greatly. In 2016, the defense allowed the second-most goals in the league with 240. This year, the team allowed only 213 goals against, fourth-best in the league.
Comeau won his first Les Bartley Award back in 2007 with the Champion’s Cup-winning Rochester Knighthawks who went 14-2 in its regular season on the way to its own postseason sweep.
He also won four Champion’s Cups (’99-’00, ’02-’03) with the Toronto Rock as an assistant coach under the legendary Les Bartley. The honor of winning an award named after Bartley is not lost upon Comeau.
“I certainly have a lot of respect for the man that the award is named after, someone that I worked with for a lot of years,” Comeau said. “To be mentioned in the same breath as Les, winning his award is a great honor, and I have a lot of respect for what Les did. You can ask a lot of coaches around the league that were coached by Les or worked with Les. His legacy continues on in how we prepare, how we treat people, the strategy of the game. It’s a great honor, but as I said, it’s not an honor that’s just an individual honor. I really look at it as a Georgia Swarm award, and we’re grateful that we were able to win it.”
Comeau also received the GM of the Year Award in 2009 when he coached and managed the New York Titans. With the Georgia Swarm, Comeau has a 25-15 record (63% winning percentage) as head coach, including the postseason.
Derek Keenan (Saskatchewan) and Jamie Batley (Vancouver) were also nominated for the Les Bartley Award.
In addition to Comeau’s Les Bartley Award, the Georgia Swarm has also won Defensive Player of the Year (Jason Noble), Teammate of the Year (Mike Poulin), the Sportsmanship Award (Jordan Hall), and MVP (Lyle Thompson).
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