Rush starts for coach Day

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:03 AM ET

Of the 28 resumes the Edmonton Rush received for the position of head coach, one stood out from the start.

Other applicants were considered, but the Rush wanted Paul Day.

Fresh off resigning his post with the Rochester Knighthawks at the end of the 2005 season, he mulled over a few offers but talked to no one besides the Rush about their opening.

Day, as first detailed in Tuesday's Sun, officially became the head coach and GM of the expansion National Lacrosse League team yesterday. While no details of the contract were available, NLL coach/GMs make in the neighbourhood of $40,000 US per season and most sign one-year contracts.

VERY COMFORTABLE

"The more we talked I felt very comfortable that we were on the same page as far as our team philosophies," said Day of his interviews with A.J. Jomha, the Rush's director of lacrosse operations. "As a coach and GM you want to surround yourself with good people. The more we met, it was pretty clear that Edmonton was the only place I could see myself going."

Day will continue to live in southern Ontario and work as a detective for the Niagara Regional Police in St. Catharines.

The 37-year-old was the NLL's Coach of the Year in 2004 and guided teams in the 1999 and 2005 NLL all-star games - winning both in overtime.

Day, who took the additional role of assistant GM the past three seasons in Rochester, has racked up the second-most wins of any coach in NLL history with a record of 75-39, and took three Knighthawks teams to the Champions Cup final.

Day's teams in Rochester never missed the playoffs over eight seasons and four times those clubs had at least 10 wins during the regular season.

Day will now begin the search to find players to suit up for the Rush with the first instalment of roster fillers coming from the two drafts scheduled for mid-July. Edmonton has first pick in the dispersal draft of players from the suspended Anaheim Storm team and then second choice in the expansion draft behind the new entry in Portland. Existing teams have until June 29 to submit their player protected lists to the league and the free-agent signing period begins Aug. 2.

"I think defence is very important. The defensive players in this league are the heartbeat of the teams," explained Day. "It will be tough to find (quality) goaltenders and defencemen. We'll be looking for the best athletes. We want guys who are good on the floor and off.

ATHLETICISM

"The first thing we'll look for is talent and athleticism but then we'll be looking at character and how good they'll fit into the community, because that is hugely important when you're starting a new franchise."

The Rush has also made finding high-calibre local talent a priority.

"It's very important to have that local flavour," he said. "Over the last 10 years there's been some very good players come from Edmonton and the Alberta area. Blaine Manning (of the Toronto Rock) is an outstanding player and we'd always welcome him back home."


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