Sunday, May 26, 2013

Larry Puzan Has Earned The Niagara Job

An opinion piece in which I go out onto a limb....

I didn't want to write about the Niagara coaching situation during the season, for various reasons. Ellie Chan had been hired as the Purple Eagles' coach last summer; the move was praised by this blog and others, including a prominent former Niagara player who had once played under Chan. The move turned out to be an utter disaster.

Today, the Buffalo News wrote of the situation:
Read Here

Ellie Chan has stated recently that she has retired from coaching. That's surely for the best, and I would hope softball coaches everywhere, at every level, would take careful note of what happened at Niagara University this season. It never has to be that way. You'll note that a Purple Eagle states that she has no problem with "hard coaching"; I believe most top level players thrive on it. The situation there had nothing to do with coaching.

But the Niagara story took an amazing twist, as MAAC softball followers know. Long time pitching coach Larry Puzan took over the program, on an interim basis, and led the team on an amazing run from the worst record in the conference, to an appearance in the MAAC tournament, and the winner's bracket game. Coach Puzan has been at Niagara for quite a while; he's greatly respected there, and is respected by his colleagues across the MAAC. He has been a great pitching coach also; personally responsible for getting Jen Sansano to transfer to Niagara, and helping her become the 2013 MAAC Pitcher Of The Year. Jen struggled at her previous school, without the aid of a pitching coach. That all changed under Puzan's guidance.

I was told recently, by someone close to the situation, that Larry Puzan would not even get the courtesy of an interview for the Niagara job. The article today in the News seemed to mitigate that somewhat. I think Niagara has their coach already in place. You saw how the players responded to him. He has a great deal of experience, and is an athletic director at a local high school. Former Niagara coach Al Dirschberger, now an assistant at Canisius, recommended him glowingly. He won in the most trying of situations, digging his team out of the ditch.

It would be a crucial mistake, in my opinion, if Niagara failed to hire him as their permanent coach.


Anonymous said...

I don't understand why they just don't hire him as a part time head coach and then hire a full time asst like Marist and Siena. Seems to work for them just fine

Anonymous said...

Larry is the best man for the job. His expertise and vast knowledge of the the sport makes him the front runner . He has for years help develop young athletes to improve their games. Larry's got my vote.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree that Larry Puzan is the best person to coach the Purple Eagles! He has proven that he can get the very best effort from his players. The players respect him & he respects the players.

He lives in the community,has dedicated over 16 years to the program & there will be no transition necessary for the players. The players definitely do not need anymore uncertainty & a third coach in less than a year.

I believe that any coach that is willing to relocate to Niagara (maybe with their family) will only be using the program as a stepping stone & will be gone in 2-3 years.

If the AD Mr. Crowley, feels a search is needed he has every right to conduct a search. He would be hard pressed to find a better fit for the Niagara Softball puzzle.

Sometimes you don't appreciate what you have until it's gone.

Winning at the D1 level is important & Coach Puzan has done that under very trying circumstances. Being a leader & role model on & off the field is more important!

All that being said..... I hope the search leads them back to Larry Puzan.

Go Purp!!