BUFFALO, NY - (WKBW) Two days after being informed he would not be retained as head coach of the Buffalo Bandits, Darris Kilgour spoke with Eyewitness Sports Reporter Shawn Stepner about the split with his former club.
Kilgour, a National Lacrosse League Hall of Famer, says he was informed of the news only five minutes before it was made public.
He also relayed his frustration with the current management of the Bandits.
He says he still wants to coach in the NLL.
Kilgour was an original Bandits player. He coached the team from 2003-2013 with a regular season record of 103-73 and a playoff record of 11-9. Under Kilgour the Bandits made three NLL Finals appearances, with a Champion’s Cup win in 2008.
He just finished up a three-year contract with the Bandits.
Below are some of Kilgour's quotes from the conversation with Stepner:
On the news he wasn't being retained as head coach:
"When Dave Zygaj came on board he had a different vision of me. We just didn't agree on the direction things should be going and how we should get there. I just felt I was undermined for about the last five or six years, whenever it was Dave came in. I don't think it was any kind of malice or that. It was just two different visions, and (we) didn't see things in the same light."
"Honestly, I've seen this coming for two years, I wish they would have made the decision two years ago because it really handcuffed me in terms of what I could do as a coach. It really handcuffed me in terms of what I could do as a team. I think the results were on the floor."
"For me it was about winning. I felt we were taking steps in the wrong direction and there was nothing I could do about it. It was very very frustrating to be part of that."
On his feelings toward the Bandits:
"I will always love the Buffalo Bandits... I do have good memories. Just, right now, it's not a good spot. I'm not very happy. I think the Bandits, as a whole, are very lacking in any kind of appreciation for anybody."
On how he will remember his time with the Bandits:
"On a whole: disappointing. I didn't win as many championships as I felt I should have. I didn't go out the way I wanted to go out. There were some great times, some great people, some great friends. I will always cherish those. But on a whole, I'd have to say I didn't live up to what I thought the Bandits and myself could have accomplished."
Dave Zygaj is listed on the Bandits team website as a team Governor and Legal Counsel.
In a statement released by the Bandits on Monday, the team said the following on Kilgour not being retained:
"It’s never easy making this type of decision," said Scott Loffler, Bandits director of lacrosse operations. "However, we felt that a change at head coach is needed at this time to turn things around. What makes this decision especially difficult is that we are parting ways with Darris Kilgour, who has been an integral part of the success and history of the Buffalo Bandits. Words cannot express our gratitude for what Darris has done for this organization and there is no doubt he will have success in lacrosse circles in the future. We wish him the best of luck."
“It was an incredibly tough decision,” said Bandits General Manager Steve Dietrich. “Because when I think of the Buffalo Bandits I think of Darris Kilgour and John Tavares. I had the pleasure of playing with, for, and against Darris and I love his utter belief in the Bandits organization. We believe we need a new voice and a new vision behind the bench to lead the new generation of Bandits as we continue to strive to bring the Champion’s Cup back where it belongs.”