PCS Q&A: Maryland Coach John Tillman

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In March, coach John Tillman will bring his defending national champion Maryland Terrapins to Southern California for the Pacific Coast Shootout, the program’s third time playing in the event.

Tickets are available now for the fifth annual Pacific Coast Shootout, which will feature the Terps against 2016 national champion North Carolina (Saturday, March 24, 7 p.m., at Orange Coast College).

Fans purchasing tickets can receive a 20 percent discount by entering the promo code MAXLAX in the “Group/Team Promo Code” box during checkout (code is case-sensitive).

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In seven seasons as Maryland’s head coach, Tillman has led the team to a 96-29 overall record, six Final Four appearances and five appearances in the national title game. The first four times the Terps reach the final, they came up short, including an overtime loss to North Carolina in 2016.

Last season, though, Maryland broke through, capping a 16-3 season and Big Ten championship with a 9-6 win over Ohio State in the national championship game, the program’s first national title since 1975.

The Terrapins enter the 2018 season ranked No. 1 in the USILA coaches poll and No. 2 behind Duke in the Inside Lacrosse media poll. Maryland scrimmages at Virginia on Saturday, then opens its regular season Saturday, Feb. 10, at home against Navy.

Coach Tillman took time out from his preparations to answer a few questions from MaxLax about the trip to California in March.

How does a mid-season, cross-country trip like this benefit your team?

Tillman: “Traveling together allows us to bond and spend time together. That is always important for a team that is as close as ours. We truly have a family atmosphere. Trips like these create memories that last a lifetime. We want our players to have experiences like this.”

Is there any concern playing such an important non-conference game so far from home and so late in the season (Game 8 of 13)?

Tillman: “We have always played the best, and that will never change at Maryland. North Carolina is a great program. Terp Nation and our alums are located everywhere throughout the country, so we want to make sure we travel so our fans can come see us play. We have a strong presence in Southern California, so we are excited to get back there.”

The SoCal lacrosse community is loaded with former Terps; have you felt that support in your past visits to the Shootout?

Tillman: “Absolutely. It is a big reason why we continue to come back.”

Since your first appearance here in 2015, what have you seen in the growth of lacrosse or the quality of players in Southern California?

Tillman: “Lacrosse continues to improve, and the number of players who play continues to increase in the West. We hope we can, even in a small way, help support that. Lacrosse is a special game, and we hope the exposure to lacrosse gets young athletes excited to pick up a stick”