By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
EVERETT — Washington Stealth head coach Chris Hall will be back on the bench for the 2013 season after re-signing with the team Thursday.
Hall, who also serves as the Stealth’s vice president of lacrosse operations, missed portions of training camp and the first six games of the 2012 season while undergoing treatment for throat cancer. In Hall’s absence, the Stealth got off to a 1-5 start. Though the team’s play improved upon his return, the Stealth finished 4-12, the worst record in the National Lacrosse League.
“Obviously, last season was incredibly difficult,” Hall said. “It was hard not to be there and I feel bad that I put our players, coaches and organization in a disjointed situation. It was a long struggle to get back, but having stability going into 2013 will allow us to have a sort of fresh start and we expect to get back to championship form.”
Hall led the Stealth to their first NLL championship in 2010 — their first year in Everett after relocating from San Jose, Calif. In 2011, he guided the team back to the title game, where the Stealth lost to the Toronto Rock. Since taking over as the Stealth’s head coach during the 2009 season, Hall has compiled a 36-24 record and reached the Western Division finals three times.
“Chris is an integral part of the Stealth organization on and off the floor and having him back for a full season is a huge step forward for the 2013 season,” Stealth general manager Doug Locker said.
Hall ranks fourth on the NLL’s all-time regular-season win list with 72 victories. He is one of just three coaches in league history to win a championship with two different franchises (Calgary 2004, Washington 2010).
For Hall, the challenge in 2013 will be to restore the success the team enjoyed in its first two seasons in the Northwest.
“We still have a very strong roster that’s pretty young,” he said. “But there is always improvements to be made and we are preparing to do that through the draft and in free agency. Last year was a wakeup call for our guys and proof that there is not much separating first from worst in our league. There will be no signs of complacency for us this year, that’s for sure.”
Aaron Lommers covers the Washington Stealth for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.