This article has been updated to include comments from Rich Lisk’s virtual press conference on June 3, 2020.
Today, the New York Riptide announced that they were moving on from first-year head coach and general manager Regy Thorpe and their entire coaching staff and lacrosse operations team.
“I would like to thank Regy and the whole staff for helping set the foundation for the Riptide in their inaugural season,” Executive Vice President of GF Sports Rich Lisk said. “While this was not a hasty or easy decision, I felt after evaluating our lacrosse operations department that this move was needed for the best interest of the organization. I look forward to putting together a staff that will help us become the premier team in the NLL on and off the field.”
Thorpe was hired on February 16, 2019 and served as the first head coach in New York Riptide history. Prior to coaching, Thorpe spent 15 seasons playing in the NLL with the Rochester Knighthawks and won two NLL Championships during his career.
“I’d like to thank GF Sports for the opportunity and respect their decision,” Thorpe said. “I’d also like thank my staff who worked tirelessly around the clock to put the work in to get a team off the ground. I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead this group of men and wish them continued success.”
The news comes during the National Lacrosse League’s hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with plans to resume play looking less likely each day. Even if the NLL does resume play with the 2020 playoffs, it would presumably be without the New York Riptide, who finished at the bottom of the standings with a 1-12 record following the NLL’s announcement that the remainder of the 2019-20 regular season was cancelled.
“I have a lot of respect for what Regy and his staff did…coming in here and starting a team from scratch and building the foundation for us to build on,” Lisk said during a virtual press conference. “But it was my recommendation moving forward as an organization that this was the best path to take.”
Lisk said he consulted players when making the decision and will continue to do so while the team searchers for a replacement at head coach and general manager. Lisk added that he hopes to hire replacements by the end of July and said he is open to filling the vacancy at head coach and general manager with either one person or two different candidates. He also said that he has not ruled out the possibility of becoming the team’s general manager himself, a position he held with the Philadelphia Wings/New Englad Black Wolves before joining GF Sports.
“This is the step for us to build this organization for the next 10-15 years. I’m painstakingly making sure we find the right people for that job, starting with the head job,” Lisk stated. “I’m not closing the door on anything. I came from a GM background, but if I find the right candidate that can be a GM and head coach, then I’ll look in that direction… there’s not pathway where I’m saying this is the only way we’re going to look for something.”
Lisk also elaborated that he is open to all candidates, both seasoned coaches with NLL experience and those who have coaching experience at other levels.
“We’re going to keep everything open, because I believe that gives us the best opportunity to find the best candidate for this organization.”
The new coaching staff will have its work cut out for it as it tries to build on a one-win season. The team will also presumably hold the top draft pick in the 2020 NLL Entry Draft, barring the addition of the NLL’s rumored 14th franchise.
Who do you think should replace Regy Thorpe as the new head coach and GM of the New York Riptide? Let us know in the comments or on social media.