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Kilgour, Tavares Named NLL's Top Head Coach

July 17, 2019 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Buffalo Bandits News Release

BUFFALO, N.Y. - The NLL today announced that Buffalo Bandits Head Coaches Rich Kilgour and John Tavares have been named the recipients of the Les Bartley Award, which is awarded to the NLL's Top Head Coach at the conclusion of each season. The award was voted on by team executives from each franchise that participated in the 2018-19 season.

This marks the first nomination and first win for both Kilgour and Tavares, who were named head coaches of the Bandits prior to the 2018-19 season. They are the first Bandits' coaches to win the award since Darris Kilgour in 2003, who was also awarded the honor in his first year on the job after leading the Bandits to a 12-4 season.

After Kilgour and Tavares took over behind the bench, the Bandits increased their win total by six from the previous season to the 2018-19 season, the best total win improvement of any team in the NLL. Their six-win improvement is the best season-to-season improvement in franchise history and is the highest total win increase for a Bandits coach in their first season. Their 14-4 record this season saw them sit atop the NLL standings and set new franchise records for wins (14) and road wins (7) in a single season.

Under the guise of Kilgour and Tavares, eight different veterans on the Bandits roster saw their point totals improve from the 2017-18 season to the 2018-19 season. Forward Thomas Hoggarth and transition player Chase Fraser both set new career highs and had their season point totals surge by 56 and 30 points, respectively, after seeing increased playing time out the front door.

The Kilgour- and Tavares-coached Bandits finished the regular season leading the league in goals scored (244), goals allowed (186) and goal differential (plus-58), which set a new franchise record. They were the only team in the NLL this season to beat every other team in the league at least once. Their record-setting regular season propelled them into a lengthy postseason run that saw them make their first NLL Finals appearance since 2016.

Kilgour and Tavares were promoted to head coaches after serving as assistant coaches for the Bandits for eight and three seasons, respectively. Both Kilgour and Tavares have had their numbers retired by the team after playing the entirety of their professional careers for the Bandits. The pair have each been inducted to the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame and were both among six players named the starting lineup on the Bandits' 25th Anniversary All-Time Team.

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