David John Pirog
Born: November 11, 1955
Died: September 14, 2014
Dave Pirog played in five Mann Cup lacrosse championship finals, winning two. He also won a world box lacrosse championship for Canada in 1985.
After retiring as a player, he had an extensive career as a coach with professional, semiprofessional and junior-A teams.
Pirog was a longtime members of the Brampton (Ont.) Excelsiors, helping the team win the Mann Cup in 1980. In his career, Pirog played 192 games for the Excelsiors, scoring 128 goals with 169 assists.
He also played a game in the 1987 Mann Cup finals for the victorious Brooklin (Ont.) Redmen.
Pirog also played briefly for the Victoria Shamrocks and the New Westminster Salmonbellies. He was an assistant coach when the Shamrocks when the Mann Cup in 1997.
Pirog scored a goal when Team Canada defeated the United States 11-7 in Philadelphia to claim the 1985 world box lacrosse championship with a 21-20 two-game total score.
He was also a two-time member of the national field lacrosse team.
An extensive coaching career included six years as an assistant with the Shamrocks plus three more as a co-head coach. He had earlier spent two seasons as a playing coach with the Excelsiors. Pirog was a Western Canada scout for the Toronto Rock and Ottawa Rebel of the National Lacrosse League. He was an assistant coach for the Vancouver Ravens of the NLL before being hired as a defensive coordinator for the San Jose (Calif.) Stealth.
In 2005, Pirog became head coach of the Junior Salmonbellies, winning coaching staff of the year honours with his assistants. But he was fired after the fifth game of his second season even though the Jr. Salmonbellies had a 4-1 record.
“We felt that there were players being sat that should have been played,” general manager Harry Ferguson said in explaining the dismissal. “It was causing some dissension amongst the coaching staff and players, so I had to make a move.”
Pirog had 16 wins and 10 losses as the coach of the New Westminster junior squad.
“Dave Pirog is a brilliant coach,” the GM told the New Westminster Record newspaper. “He knows the game of lacrosse inside and out. But with young adults you’ve got to be so much more than a tactician. You have to be a father to them, you have to kick their asses every once in a while, and you have to be a mentor to them.”
He was hired by the Delta (B.C.) Islanders junior-A team as an assistant coach in 2009. He became head coach two years later.