You'd have to think the Bandits are closing in on a coaching decision as they decide who will replace Darris Kilgour. There's no great hurry, since life in the National Lacrosse League is pretty quiet from the end of the playoffs until the time near the draft. Still, it would be good to get the matter settled in the near future.
If I were doing the hiring, I'd probably get out the clipboard and start making up lists of good points and bad points of possible candidates. The names that are making the rounds the most these days as finalists are Troy Cordingley, Rich Kilgour and Ed Comeau. I'm not prepared to say those are the last candidates standing - a couple of other names have popped up - but let's take a look at the three of them.
As one league source put it, all three are good lacrosse people. They all would be more than acceptable and rational picks to coach the Bandits.
Troy Cordingley - He's the current coach of the year, and won a championship with the Toronto Rock. Cordingley once played for the Bandits and served as an assistant coach. He also has a strong relationship with Buffalo GM Steve Dietrich through their time together in Toronto. The biggest catch might be that he has a similar coaching style to Darris Kilgour, one that might have exhausted the players in Toronto and led to his departure. A different approach for coaching the Bandits might be a good idea after several years of "intense."
Rich Kilgour - You want a guy with connections to the Bandits? This is your man, since he's more or less been part of the franchise since Day One. Kilgour is a head coach in Ontario in the summer, and knows the game. He's also a warm person. If you wouldn't run through the boards for him as a player, something's wrong with you. Rich's biggest drawback might be that he's part of the old coaching staff, and thus wouldn't exactly be a clean break from the past. Would it be odd for a sports team to hire the younger brother of the coach it just fired? The Washington Capitals once fired Bryan Murray and hired Terry Murray, so anything's possible.
Ed Comeau - The veteran coach's only tie to Buffalo is that he was an assistant in Ontario under former Bandits' coach Les Bartley. He was a head coach in Rochester and New York/Orlando, and has been a part of five championship teams. Comeau lives just up the road in Hamilton, and did a good job keeping the Titans competitive during what was must have been a difficult situation because of the financial problems that eventually led to the team's collapse. Currently an assistant in Colorado, the chance to come back East as a head coach would have to be attractive. The lack of a Buffalo pedigree might hurt his chances, particularly when it comes to the reaction of the fan base.
Cordingley still is considered the favorite by most, simply because of his track record and of his connection to Buffalo. We'll just have to see who wins.
P.S. Since this was written, I've heard that Comeau is not the winner. Hmmm.
--- Budd Bailey