The Nanaimo Timbermen looked within to find their new head coach.
Longtime T-men player Kaleb Toth was officially announced this morning as the coach of the city’s Western Lacrosse Association club.
“Coaching is always something that I’ve looked at getting into and this was just a perfect opportunity to start sooner than later,” said Toth.
Earl Nicholson, the team’s general manager, said Toth is a natural choice to be coach.
“Just the respect he commands, the fact he’s been here since we started … He’s well-known in the lacrosse community and respected and his playing career speaks for itself,” Nicholson said. “You could just see what he lent to the club as far as his leadership and knowing the game … You could see that coaching was right up his alley.”
Toth was an original member of the senior A Timbermen, having joined the team in its inaugural 2005 season in the expansion draft. He is one of the franchise’s all-time leading scorers with 284 points. He is best known for his NLL championship-winning goal for the Toronto Rock in 2000 and he scored 713 points with the Rock and the Calgary Roughnecks in the National Lacrosse League.
He retired from the NLL before this season, and made the decision soon after that he would also retire from the WLA.
“For me not to be playing in the winter time and play in the summer, it will just take too much work for me to try to get back into shape,” he said. “I decided, no, when I’m done, I’m done.”
But just because he was leaving the floor didn’t mean he wanted to leave the game. He and his family have been wanting to move back to B.C. from Alberta for some time, he said, and that will now happen.
Toth is excited about his first training camp as head coach, and working with Timbermen players from a new role. He said it might be difficult for some of them to adjust to him as a coach instead of a teammate, but he thinks the transition can work.
“The players’ and my goal is to make the playoffs and as long as we have a common goal and a common interest, then it’s both parties’ job to make that happen,” Toth said. “I’m going to be prepared, I’m going to make sure that my assistant coaches and the team is prepared every time we play and hopefully we’ll be able to win more games than we lose.”
The new coach has been presented with a chance to make a fresh start, since it was just last week that the Timbermen traded away their franchise player Scott Ranger. Toth said it’s tough for a new coach not to have a guy like Ranger around, but added that he felt the trade was a “fair deal.”
Timbermen fans and players can expect some changes. Toth knows the team’s veterans and has some ideas about how the roster might shake out. He’ll expect guys to come to camp in shape and ready to put lacrosse first this season, he said.
That will have to happen – Toth’s retirement takes a lacrosse great off the floor. But then again, it also ensures that a lacrosse great remains a big part of the team.
“Yeah, the odd time I’ll probably think that I could have took it to the net … but that’s not my job anymore,” Toth said. “My job is to make sure that my team is prepared and they know the opposition and they know what to do.”
LACROSSE TALK … The Timbermen open camp next month and start the season in mid-May. For season ticket information or sponsorship information, please contact Bill Windley at email@example.com or call 250-753-4442.