Tim McCormack Ready to Help Johns Hopkins Build its Own Brand of Lacrosse


Tim McCormack wasn’t necessarily looking to leave Arizona State. He and the program had only just reached national relevance, posting a combined 21-14 record over the past two seasons. The Sun Devils were considered the NCAA tournament’s biggest snub last month.

But when Johns Hopkins came knocking, McCormack couldn’t help but at least consider. He would be taking over a tradition-rich program, a stark contrast to the fledgling team he had helped build out west.

On June 7, Johns Hopkins named McCormack its first new head coach in nearly three decades, replacing women’s lacrosse icon Janine Tucker, who was hired in 1994.

McCormack grew up in Long Beach, New York, and played collegiately at UMass. His coaching career had taken him off the East Coast, first as the head coach of the men’s club team at the University of Kentucky. He was then an assistant at Northwestern before spending three seasons as the second head coach in ASU history.

His three seasons in Tempe saw Arizona State rise from an afterthought to a Pac-12 contender. His up-tempo, flashy approach to coaching the game helped the Sun Devils to wins over USC, Stanford and Rutgers in 2022.

Taking over for Tucker, though, turned to be too much of a draw. With so much already established at Hopkins, McCormack has focused his first two weeks as head coach on listening and learning about what Johns Hopkins is all about.

“Taking over something that’s been established — Janine’s been here for 29 years, and she’s established an incredible culture,” McCormack said. “My main job is to figure out what that’s all about.

“It’s incredible. She has been such an amazing advocate for the sport for so many years. She’s mentored so many young women and positioned them to be incredible leaders. She’s been so helpful in the past few days. I’ve already felt that support from her.”

In most instances, a new head coach comes in and the program moves on from the old regime. That couldn’t be any further from the reality at Hopkins. Promotional videos on social media that introduced McCormack even included Tucker shaking his hand and welcoming him to Homewood Field.

Tucker is no longer the coach, but she’s definitely still around — and that’s a luxury that McCormack is certainly thankful for.

“I’m very happy that she’s still around,” McCormack said. “She has such great relationships with all of these young women. That deserves to continue on.”

But don’t think that McCormack is looking to be a carbon copy of Tucker. He’s prepared to bring his own spin to the Blue Jays, perhaps turning them into a reflection of what he built at Arizona State.

The plan is play up-tempo lacrosse. Offensively, he’s looking to implement a box-field hybrid that prioritizes ball movement and pick plays.

Defensively, don’t expect to have a settled possession. The plan is to be aggressive and push out on offenses to create havoc and spark transition opportunities.

In other words, McCormack’s brand of lacrosse is one that will most certainly get people talking.

“I’ll take an interesting and unique approach to the development model of our student-athletes,” he said. “It’ll get them playing a style of lacrosse that’ll become our brand. It’ll be something other teams have to prepare for and think about.”

Speaking from his parents’ home in Long Beach, McCormack was juggling both the early days of his new job and figuring out how to get his family to Baltimore in the least stressful way. His wife, Deanna, is in digital marketing but can work remotely. He also has two children — a son, Mats, and a daughter, Valerie.

The plan is to settle down somewhere in early July.

While his life might be stressful now, McCormack is doing his best to keep things in perspective and relish the opportunities ahead.

“You have to try to simplify it,” he said. “You have to try to take it one day at a time. It’s not daunting, but it’s going to take effort. I have to educate myself on what Hopkins lacrosse is all about.”


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