Bandits legends Tavares and Kilgour named co-head coaches

Troy Cordingley has been re-assigned to be the assistant general manager and a scouting role

Dave Buchanan
September 20, 2018 - 3:20 pm

Photo: Buffalo Bandits / Bill Wippert


Two Buffalo Bandits legends are remaining behind the team's bench for this season, but with new roles and new titles.

The team announced on Thursday that Rich Kilgour and John Tavares will both take over as head coach for the 2018-19 season. 

Kilgour and Tavares were promoted from their assistant coaching positions, which they held under former head coach Troy Cordingley. Cordingley has been re-assigned to the role of assistant general manager / director of scouting. Cordingley served as the Bandits' bench boss for five seasons with a 46-44 regular season record, including finishing 8-10 last year. He led the Bandits to the 2016 NLL Finals, but failed to make the playoffs in the last two seasons.

"Any time you look at making a change in an organization it's tough, it's even tougher when you take the personal aspect of being friends with everyone involved," said Bandits general manager Steve Dietrich, "Troy, Scott (Loffler, Director of Lacrosse Operations) and I met and spoke many times throughout the summer, and in the end we just thought it was in the best interest of this team to move in another direction."

The announcement comes very late in the National Lacrosse League offseason with less than two months until the start of training camps, and the NLL Draft being held next week in Philadelphia. Part of the reason for the lengthy process was the fact that the Bandits first had to evaluate and decide on the future of Dietrich as general manager. Once they decided on their direction in the front office, they then went to work on reorganizing the coaching staff.

"It was a lengthy and drawn out process because this was a tough decision and we wanted to make sure we were making the right decision and analyze every option that we had," said Dietrich, "and we just felt this was the best avenue to go in."

Kilgour and Tavares will have similar duties as head coaches as they did as assistants with Kilgour concentrating on the defensive game plan and Tavares focusing on the offense. The pair will work together to decide the team's lineup and general strategy. 

Both coaches have spent their entire NLL careers with the Bandits as players and coaches. Kilgour played with the Bandits from their inaugural season in 1992 until his retirement in 2009. Since then, he has spent eight seasons as an assistant coach with the club. He is also a head coach of the Six Nations Chiefs of Major Series Lacrosse, which plays during the summer months.

Tavares is the NLL's all-time leading scorer, and played 24 seasons with Buffalo before spending the last two as an assistant under Cordingley. 

The team also promoted Rusty Kruger to an assistant coaching position after previously working with the team as a scout. 

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