Rock shakeup: Clark out, Batley in

GREG DAVIS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

PETERBOROUGH -- Less than a month ago, Jamie Batley made some bold predictions for the National Lacrosse League.

"I told the guys I thought Minnesota would win the West Division and Toronto would win the East," Batley said. "I've got witnesses to my claim."

Now, as the new head coach of the Toronto Rock, Batley has the opportunity to fulfill his prophecy.

Just three games into the 2009 NLL season, the Toronto Rock yesterday fired head coach Glenn Clark, co-coach Jim Veltman and assistant Terry Bullen after a 1-2 start. They have been replaced by the entire Peterborough Lakers coaching staff: Batley will be behind the bench alongside his assistant coaches, Jim Milligan and Bob Keast while Barry Larock will serve as a video coach and Joe Sullivan as an analyst.

Batley also had Milligan and Keast on the bench with him in Chicago and Sullivan as an offensive co-ordinator. He says having them on the Rock roster should translate into a smooth transition in Toronto.

'GOOD COMBINATION'

"It's a good combination and it's great we're able to bring them in as a whole," Batley said.

"We know each other well and we're very cohesive. It will make things easier to teach our systems rather than trying to work with someone already there."

Batley had a 26-13 coaching record with the NLL's Colorado Mammoth from 2003 to 2005, which included three consecutive playoff berths and two regular-season division titles. In 2006 he was named GM and coach of the new Chicago Shamrox franchise, which suspended operations on Dec. 12, just 15 days before the opening night of the NLL season.

"After the moves we had made, we thought Chicago had a great chance to make the playoffs this year," said Batley. "We were anticipating a great year ahead."

Batley now assumes a team which he says has a strong nucleus of veterans.

"The Rock are a veteran team who have been together for a while," Batley said. "I followed them a couple of weekends this season and the opportunities are endless for them. This team has potential. We just have to get everyone on the same page and work hard."

Mike Kloepfer, the Rock's director of lacrosse operations, stated that Batley's experience both in the NLL and Major Series Lacrosse (with Mann Cups as coach and GM in 2004, '06 and '07 with the Lakers since 2003) should help the Rock rebound.

"Our ownership and management believe that our team has the ability to contend for a championship and trust Jamie and his group will move the team forward in this direction," Kloepfer said in a release.


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