Starsia still a key figure in latest UVA title

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Lars Tiffany opened his postgame remarks after Monday's NCAA championship win by once again referencing a familiar name.

"First of all, I'm very grateful to Dom Starsia," Virginia's third-year men's lacrosse coach said.

"I would follow him. I would listen to him. He's been my mentor throughout this," Tiffany added. "So to follow him in this position, in the seat as the head coach at the University of Virginia men's lacrosse was daunting, because of how incredible I think of Dom as a man, as a coach."

"I was struck by that, and I was touched by it at the same time," Starsia said Wednesday afternoon. "I mean it was very gracious of him, very thoughtful of him to make those comments."

Starsia won 274 games and four national titles in 24 seasons as UVA men's lacrosse coach. But it was three years ago last week that Starsia was fired by the school after missing the NCAA Tournament twice in a four-year span, including a 7-8 season in 2016.

"I'll be honest - I couldn't watch on Monday. I found myself a little nauseous," Starsia admitted on Wednesday. "But we were following it closely throughout. For any conflicting feelings I might have about the end of my career at UVA, it has nothing to do with so many of the personalities involved here."

That includes Tiffany, who played for Starsia at Brown. It also includes UVA assistant Kip Turner, who was the goalkeeper on Starsia's undefeated 2006 national title team.

It also includes the Cavaliers' current players. Most of the players on the UVA roster were recruited by Starsia -- and the senior's on this year's team played for him in 2016.

"That was almost special beyond words," Starsia said. "To know what Ryan Conrad has been through. To watch him get hurt, and not be able to be there for him. Dox Aitken and John Fox and Alex Rode and Cade Saustad and Michael Kraus. Matt Moore."

"All those relationships developed over the period of time recruiting them and watching them come here and stuff," Starsia added. "This is something that you achieve that you have with you the rest of your life. And they're now members of a very special club. And I'm really happy that they get to share in that."

Tiffany has been quick to acknowledge and credit Starsia essentially since arriving at UVA from Brown in 2016. That continued last weekend in Philadelphia, and the two stayed in close contact throughout the Wahoos' title run.

On Wednesday, Starsia described Tiffany as the link between his historic time at Virginia, and the program now.

"It's been a very interesting couple of years. I don't know that Lars being here made it easier or harder in some ways," Starsia said. "But at the end of the day, I want my family to feel good, I want the program to feel good. I would like to be able to be a part of this. And I don't think there's any question that Lars is going to be someone that's going to tie it all together for us."