Darris Kilgour Leads Pool of Potential NLL Coaching Candidates


Darris Kilgour spent time coaching the Buffalo Bandits, winning NLL Coach of the Year in 2003.

Note to new NLL teams pondering who to hire as head coach: Darris Kilgour is available.

Rich Kilgour, Jeff McComb, Rob Williams, Bob Heyes, Bruce Codd and Pat Merrill come to mind, too, although some have young families and/or weekday work commitments that might preclude accepting an offer.

Darris’s brother Rich Kilgour is assistant coach of the Buffalo Bandits and is head coach during his summers of the Six Nations Chiefs, who have won Canadian Mann Cup championships under his watch.

McComb is an assistant coach with the Saskatchewan Rush largely responsible for the two-time champions’ finely-tuned offense.

Williams is an assistant coach with the Calgary Roughnecks and head coach of the Maple Ridge Burrards during his summers in British Columbia.

Heyes also coaches on the West Coast and has led his Victoria Shamrocks to a Mann Cup title.

Codd is an assistant coach with the Toronto Rock and has been head coach of the Orangeville, Ontario, team that has won two consecutive Canadian Jr. B titles.

Merrill is a Rock defenseman who has coached the Six Nations Arrows to two consecutive Canadian Jr. A championships. His Hill Academy youth teams have built a winning reputation, too.

Any one of them would do a good job as an NLL head coach. But the one with the most complete lacrosse resume is Darris Kilgour.

He was a standout defenseman for 10 years, helping the Bandits win three championships. When he packed it in, he became the first player in the league to have his number retired. He was immediately hired as an indoor pro head coach and was behind the Washington Power bench in 2001 and 2002, after which he returned to Buffalo to coach the Bandits. He was NLL coach of the year in 2003.

He was inducted into the NLL Hall of Fame in 2007 and in 2008 the Bandits won the Champion’s Cup. After 10 years as head coach, his contract was not renewed after a losing 2013 season. He was the winningest coach in NLL history at the time.

He has continued coaching in minor lacrosse and is head coach of the Seneca WarChiefs of the First Nations Jr. B Lacrosse League playing out of the Cattaraugus Community Centre in Salamanca, N.Y. He teaches the basics, which has been invigorating.

“If anything, I’ve improved tremendously,” he said of staying in touch with the latest developments in coaching. “I’ve been coaching 25 to 30 years so it’s nice to go back to the basics.”

He has had his personal problems. He says they are in the past.

Will the NLL be in his future?

“I’d love another shot at it,” he said.

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