Cordingley has eyes on bigger prize

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

All season long, the Calgary Roughnecks have felt they didn't get enough recognition for their success.

Now they're finally getting some, and Riggers head coach Troy Cordingley doesn't really want it now.

Cordingley was given the National Lacrosse League's Les Bartley Trophy yesterday as head coach of the year, but he's staying focused for the West Division final tomorrow against the San Jose Stealth at the Saddledome.

"We have our eyes on a bigger prize," Cordingley said.

"Would I trade it for a championship? You bet.

"Obviously, it's a team award because if you don't have guys buying into the system with the things you want them to do, you won't have success."

In his second season with the Roughnecks, Cordingley steered the team to a franchise-best 12-4 record.

Under the defensive system brought in by Cordingley and assistant coach Terry Sanderson, the Riggers allowed the fewest goals in the league this season (167) and compiled an impressive 7-1 road record.

After an injury-plagued 2008 when the Riggers had a 7-9 record, the team came out strong this campaign with five straight wins to start the season. But they didn't get complacent, thanks to Cordingley. He managed to push all the right buttons to drive the team to the best record in the NLL.

"Troy is a great motivator," said star forward Josh Sanderson. "That's his speciality. He makes sure we're ready to play before every game. Between the three coaches, they've been great all year."

Cordingley said the coaching staff, which consists of Sanderson (defence) and Dave Pym (offence), also deserve recognition.

"I feel bad because I get the glory and those two guys have done just as much work as I have," said Cordingley.

"I'm honoured to win an award that has Les Bartley's name on it. I played for the man for five years and I know what he meant to the game.

"It is great to get nominated by your peers, that's for sure."

Last summer, Cordingley coached the Brampton Excelsior to the Mann Cup, the national senior A championship.

Stealth captain Colin Doyle, who plays for Brampton in the summer, said Cordingley's passion for the game rubs off on everyone around him.

"Deserving award," Doyle said.

"He pours his heart and soul into the teams he coaches. He is a fiery guy. He wears his emotions on his sleeve.

"He isn't that far removed from playing himself. That passion rubbed off on the team in Calgary.

"Everybody saw against Colorado (in a 15-8 first-round win), they were ready to go. That's the emotions of playing for a championship and they will do the same (tomorrow)."

As a elementary school teacher and father of four, it takes a good amount of time management for Cordingley to coach in Calgary.

He teaches all week, then leaves the family at home to join a different clan.

This honour is a reward for that sacrifice.

"Pretty much every coach does a great job in this league," Cordingley said.

"It's a huge commitment to be away from your family. It takes a commitment to working a day job and doing this.

"I spend all day at school and then come home and get involved in my kids' activities. When they go to bed, I start watching video and try to get prepared for the next game.

"I know a lot of coaches are in the same boat."


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