Buffalo Bandits announce changes to coaching staff

The Bandits will have two head coaches on the bench this season.

The Buffalo Bandits have named Rich Kilgour and John Tavares as head coaches. 

“Based on their experiences within our organization, both as coaches and high-caliber players, we are excited to welcome Rich and John into head-coaching roles,” Bandits General Manager Steve Dietrich said. “We are confident that their talent and rich history within our organization will propel our team and help us to achieve our organizational goals.” 

Kilgour becomes head coach after serving as an assistant coach for the Bandits for the previous eight seasons. Kilgour spent the entirety of his 18-year playing career (1992-2009) as a defensive specialist for the Bandits, serving as the team’s captain for 12 seasons from 1998 to 2009. He appeared in 200 career regular-season games with the team, scoring 317 career points (94+223). 

Tavares will join Kilgour as head coach after serving as an assistant coach for the past three seasons. A four-time league MVP, Tavares played for the Bandits for 24 years (1992-2015) and eventually concluded his career as the NLL’s all-time leader in games played (306), goals (815), assists (934) and points (1,749), and finished second in league history in loose ball recoveries (2,169). 

Kilgour and Tavares each finished their playing careers with a number of accolades. Both players have had their numbers retired by the team and have been inducted into both the NLL Hall of Fame and the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. During the team’s 25th anniversary in 2016, the pair were among six players named to the starting lineup on the Bandits’ All-Time Team. 

In addition to the new roles for Kilgour and Tavares, Rusty Kruger will transition to the role of assistant coach, helping the head coaches on the bench during games this season. Kruger spent the past six seasons as the Bandits’ Eastern scout. 

“Rusty has been a great asset to the organization for the past six years and has been itching to increase his role,” Dietrich said. “It was only a matter of time until he earned a well-deserved opportunity.” 

In a corresponding move, Troy Cordingley has been reassigned to assistant general manager/director of scouting, a role in which he will oversee scouting duties at both the NLL and amateur levels, as well as assist Dietrich with player transactions. Cordingley spent the past five years as the Bandits’ head coach, compiling a 46-44 regular-season record and leading the Bandits to the playoffs three times, including an appearance in the 2016 Champions Cup Finals. 

“After multiple conversations and a great deal of reflection, Troy and I felt it was the right move for him to shift from a coaching role to a scouting one,” Dietrich said. “We are thrilled to keep Troy within the organization. His lacrosse mind will continue to be a valuable asset to our staff.” 

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