Rock going on defensive

RYAN WOLSTAT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:16 AM ET

Following a season filled with too many failing grades, the Toronto Rock has turned to The Professor in the hopes of returning to the head of the National Lacrosse League's class.

Former Rock mainstay Glenn (The Professor) Clark has been hired to succeed Terry Sanderson as the fourth coach in the history of the NLL franchise.

Clark, a 36-year-old physical education teacher at Bayview Secondary School in Richmond Hill, won five championships while playing for the Rock, before spending the 2006 season with the Philadelphia Wings.

Clark made the all-star team last year and said the decision to move into coaching, despite still playing at a high level, was a difficult one.

"I wouldn't have retired for any other offer," Clark said.

"To me, this is the biggest and the best job in lacrosse and to have the opportunity doesn't come along very often."

Rock president Brad Watters played coy earlier in the week saying that Clark "might be a candidate."

But Watters was more forthcoming yesterday about why Clark was selected to lead the team for the next two seasons.

"Glenn is a teacher by trade, has the respect of the players and still keeps in touch with the core guys," Watters said.

"We wanted to take our lacrosse operation in a different direction."

That direction is both a closer link to the Rock's incredible run under former coach Les Bartley, and a renewed focus on the sport's fundamentals.

"You are going to see a very systematic team," Clark, a former defensive defenceman, said. "It may sound boring, but I think that sets you up for exciting lacrosse."

Watters said current captain Jim Veltman was not considered for the position, but suggested he might be there eventually.

"Jimmy is commited to playing and he is still an integral part of our team," Watters said. "For short-term purposes, it's too important to have him on the floor."

Watters said the Rock expects to have a new director of player personnel in place in the next few weeks.

GOALIE NAMED MVP

After leading the NLL in goals against average, save percentage and overall record this past season, Buffalo Bandits goaltender Steve Dietrich has been named league MVP. The Kitchener native is the first goaltender to be so honoured.


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