Saskatchewan Rush head coach Derek Keenan is feeling the luck of the Irish after winning another Les Bartley Award as the NLL head coach of the year.
Taking a break from a golf trip in Killarney, Ireland, Keenan paused for a pint of Guinness at a local street pub to celebrate his fourth time winning the award.
“I’ve got a great appreciation for winning an award like this,” Keenan said. “It’s always an honour, but individual awards are always a result of having a heck of a group around you and our entire organization top-to-bottom is top shelf.”
Keenan admitted that he didn’t think he was in the running for the award, as coach of the year honours typically go to coaches that exceed expectations.
“Quite often it’s the team that’s come back from a not-so-good season. I guess they liked the team with the best record for a change,” he said with a chuckle.
Looking back on the season, Keenan thanked his team for entering the year with a fresh outlook, ready to compete for a trophy after coming within seconds of hoisting a championship trophy in 2017.
“We came in with an entirely new purpose this year after not winning last year,” Keenan said of his team. “It’s a grind. Guys are travelling every weekend. They have their lives and their jobs at home.”
The Rush dominated nearly every offensive statistical category en route to a 14-4 record, which included going a perfect 10-0 against West Division opponents.
Winning his third NLL Finals trophy in the last four seasons was just one of the many feats for Keenan. Making it to the final set a record for NLL Finals appearances with 13, including a ninth victory as either a player, coach or general manager.
Before getting back another round of golf, Keenan took time to appreciate the outpouring of support his Rush have received in Saskatchewan since moving the team from Edmonton in 2015.
(Fans) have embraced us from day one,” he said. “We’ve obviously had a lot of success in Saskatchewan so far.”
“We hope to continue to win for them and put an exciting product on the turf.”