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Nine lacrosse legends inducted into Eastern PA Hall of Fame

Sunday, 8th February 2009

Categories Boy's/Men's, Girl's/Women's  

By Chris Goldberg, Posted 2/8/09

It was a night to honor the contributions made by nine lacrosse legends and their impact on the continued growth of lacrosse in the Philadelphia region.

Saturday night at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern, these nine new members were inducted into the Eastern Pennsylvania Lacrosse Hall of Fame at a ceremony run by the Philadelphia Lacrosse Association (PLA).

Seven of the inductees –Marcia Brumbach,John Begier, Jen O’Donnell, Randy Marks, Bonnie Rosen, Greg Traynor and Marge Watson – spoke about their experiences and memories of long and illustrious careers as players, coaches and officials.

The other two honorees – Getrude “Gertie” Dunn and George Kruse – were inducted posthumously. They were represented by family and/or friends.

Marks, one of the deans of coaching in the area after spending 40 years at Lower Merion High (assistant), Villanova University (head man for 24 years) and Franklin & Marshall College (assistant), said the sport has blossomed beyond his wildest expectations during his tenure.

“We are definitely a lacrosse community and one that has grown dramatically,” said Marks, who won 179 games at Villanova and was given the prestigious U.S. Intercollegiate Men’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Lifetime Coaching Award. “In the early days, of the late 60s when I came to the Main Line, we had nine high schools playing and now there are over 100 in (the area).

“No one had youth lacrosse, and now there are thousands of kids playing youth lacrosse. And the kind of support the PLA gives to the community while promoting lacrosse is fantastic.”

Marks did his part in helping the sport grow, coaching at a Philly Division I school that had no scholarship money, yet competed at a high level. He now is a full-time assistant at F&M under former Penn assistant Todd Cavallaro.

“It’s the kind of sport that when a young man or young lady picks up a stick and it’s so much fun to play that it gets in your blood,” Marks said. “I think you saw that spirit tonight from the inductees.

“Lacrosse has been a big part of my life for 40 years, and part of our family.”

Another inductee who has been involved in lacrosse for four decades is Brumbach, who coached at Boyertown for 21 years and won four District 1 championships. Brumbach, like Marks, did not play lacrosse in high school – in fact, her school, Boyertown, started lacrosse when she was a junior (1965) but only allowed freshmen and sophomores to play.

Brumbach also did not play lacrosse when she was a multi-sport standout at Concord College (W.V.), but she took a few courses on the sport and became a referee when she graduated and returned home to teach at Boyertown.

A few years later, Brumbach became the head lacrosse coach at Boyertown and used her coaching skills as a basketball coach to help redefine the sport of lacrosse at the high school level. Her teams were dominant in the 1980s and then she led the Bears to a state-record 56-game win streak in the mid-1990s.

“It’s still growing in our area,” said Brumbach, who led Boyertown to a mark of 245-67-12 and won nine league championships. “We now have youth lacrosse for 3rd graders in Boyertown.

“It’s teaching the young players the skills and the rules, and it’s really great.”

Brumbach also was instrumental in helping get boys’ lacrosse at Boyertown. For all of her coaching career, Boyertown did not have a boys’ program and the Pioneer Athletic Conference did not sponsor boys’ lacrosse.

But many of the league teams picked up the sport in the last decade and two years ago the league broke off from the Penn Valley League (Lehigh Valley) and made its own league.

“I always thought we should have (boys’) lacrosse and the parents came to me and asked if I could help out,” she said. “They went to the school board and we started boys’ lacrosse, and now that’s become successful. Boyertown is a baseball town, but we needed boys’ lacrosse – not everybody is a baseball player.

“I think it’s great that we have girls’ and boys’ lacrosse at Boyertown.”

And Boyertown is much better to have had Brumbach.

“I’m so humbled and so honored to be a part of this group,” she said. “I look back at everybody that’s been inducted and I’m very familiar with a lot of the people. I don’t believe I ever thought it would come to this.

“I worked very very hard and my players worked very very hard. It’s a true honor, a real true honor to get this award.

“I was so thankful my family was able to share this with me tonight. The only thing I didn’t have was my parents; my mother passed away a couple years ago and she would have liked this. I know they would have been proud.”

The evening’s event was more than just a Hall of Fame induction ceremony. It also celebrated the continued growth of the nation’s fastest growing sport in the Philadelphia region.

PLA president Danny Altschuler spoke proudly of how the organization has helped oversee the birth and also the growth of numerous lacrosse programs in Eastern Pennsylvania. In 2008 the PLA raised $86,000 – and $81,000 of it went to start and maintain new programs and teams and training clinics for players, coaches and officials.

Thanks to the New Start Program, officials, volunteers and concerned lacrosse followers have helped the PLA build upon the Philadelphia Inner-City Initiative. For three years the PLA has helped the Philadelphia Public League run the Philadelphia Middle Grades program and this spring the first Public League high school team will begin play in the city.

That team, FitzSimons High, nearly had to disband before even starting its season when it was learned a week ago it did not have sufficient equipment. But in one week, the PLA has received donations and contributions of more than $5,000 in funds and equipment to outfit the team.

More donations are being accepted for the team, but Altschuler is confident the team will prosper and in coming years Philadelphia Public League teams will be playing all over the city at the high school level.

Bios on the nine 2009 Eastern Pennsylvania Lacrosse Hall of Fame industees

*Gertrude Dunn (posthumously): An outstanding all-around athlete who is also a member of the West Chester Athletics Hall of Fame, “Gertie” played on the U.S. national team from 1957-63 and was a member of the U.S. team that toured Great Britain and Ireland in 1957. Gertie was a graduate of Sharon Hill High School and also started and coached the teams at Friends School, and the University of Rhode Island. She has the distinction of being a member of three national halls of fame: Lacrosse, Field Hockey, and Softball. She also served as an umpire for 20 years in the Philadelphia Women’s Lacrosse Association. She also played shortstop in the All American Girls Professional Baseball League, made famous by the movie, “A League of Their Own.” She is featured on exhibit in the “Women of Baseball” at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. She even excelled in skiing and tennis and was in instructor in these sports, too.

*George Kruse (posthumously): He was a Kutztown University standout and coach at Malvern Prep (1987-91) as well as a respected official. Kruse officiated for 15 years at the high school, college, club and international levels. He worked games in the NCAA Final Four and in the U-19 World Championships in Adelaide, Australia. Kruse also was known for his leadership and mentoring skills and worked as a counselor at Glen Mills School and as an administrator at the Devereaux Foundation. He died tragically in 1993 in a car accident. During his four years at KU he set numerous NCAA Division II scoring records that still stand, including points per game in a season (8.3), points per game in a career (7.89), assists per game in a season (5.6) and assists per game in a career (4.91). In a number of categories, his records are still tops in the NCAA record book. In 1976, George was selected to the NCAA Division II 1st Team.

*Jen O’Donnell: She has been umpiring women’s lacrosse for 25 years in the Philadelphia Chapter and is recognized as one of the most respected umpires in the nation. An All-American scholastic player at Upper Perkiomen, she graduated from West Chester and has been rated to umpire in International games for 14 years. She has worked 18 Division I Final Four tournaments and 10 championship games. On the international front, Jen officiated in the U-19 World Championship held in Perth, Australia in 1999. Two times to date Jen has officiated in the Women’s World Cup Championship held in 2001, in Wycombe,England and in 2005, in Annapolis, MD. She still coaches field hockey at Bayard Rustin.

*Bonnie Rosen: the current Temple women’s head coach and a graduate of Harriton High, she started the program at Connecticut. She ledVirginia to the 1991 NCAA Division I National Championship and played for the US National Team for nearly 10 years, playing in several World Cup tournaments. She is also a 2002 inductee of the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and was named one of Inside Lacrosse Magazine’s Top 50 All-Time Players. Rosen also is serves on various committees and boards.

*Marge Watson: Watson began her involvement with lacrosse in the late 1940’s at Swarthmore High School where she played on two undefeated teams. While the college she attended and graduated from in 1952, Ursinus College, did not offer a women’s lacrosse program, she would soon return to build a program that would rival the best in the country. She coached at Ursinus from 1957 until 1981. During her twenty-five year tenure she amassed a record of 199-19-9, which boasted an unprecedented seven undefeated and untied seasons. No team ever lost more than 3 games in a season. Additionally, her 1979 and 1981 teams advanced to the USWLA and AIAW Championship games. She also served as head coach of the U.S. National team coach in 1980 and then served for nine years as an assistant coach on the national team.

*Randy Marks: He was a successful head coach at Villanova for 24 years despite well-documented budgetary constraints. Marks never played lacrosse in high school (Haverford High ‘65) or college (West Chester University ‘69), but in 1983, after serving 11 years as an assistant coach at Lower Merion , he became the coach at Villanova, a part time position that he devoted a full time effort to for 24 years through the 2006 season. Year in and year out, his Villanova teams competed against and held their own against many of the top men’s lacrosse powers in the country all without the assistance of scholarships and a generous budget. Since 2007, he has served as the first full time assistant coach in the history of men’s lacrosse at Franklin & MarshallCollege. In 2003, Randy was recognized as the Central Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year, and in 2006, he was awarded the U.S. Intercollegiate Men’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Lifetime Coaching Award.

*Marcia Brumbach: She coached at Boyertown High for 21 years, compiling a record of 245-67-12, winning 11 league championships and four District 1 (state) championships while coaching over 20 All-Americans. Her Bears posted a state-record 56 straight wins and she also coached the U.S. and Japan in International competition. She was named to the Concord College (W.V.) Hall of Fame in 2001, having participated in field hockey, basketball, volleyball, softball, track and field and swimming – but not lacrosse. She also was an accomplished basketball coach who developed successful defensive schemes for lacrosse from the basketball court. She also was inducted into the Pottstown Chapter of the PA Hall of Fame. Seven times during her coaching tenure at Boyertown, Brumbach was recognized as the Pennsylvania Girls High School Lacrosse Coach of the Year.

*Greg Traynor: Considered one of the all time best players to come out of Pennsylvania’s high school ranks. During his career at Conestoga High School, he was selected to the PA Scholastic Lacrosse Association First Team in both 1990 and 1991, and in 1990 he was selected to the High School Boys Lacrosse All American Team. Traynor went on to have a distinguished playing career at the University of Virginia where in both 1994 and 1995, he was selected to the All ACC Team and as a 3rd Team All American. In international play, Greg was a valuable member of three world championship teams: the 1992 US Under 19 World Champions, the 1998 USA Men’s World Championship Team, and the 1999 USA World Cup Champions. He played midfield for theU.S. in the 1998 World Lacrosse Championships and helped his team edge Canada, 15-14, in overtime, in what is considered one of the best lacrosse games ever.On the professional level, Greg played in the National Lacrosse League for the Philadelphia Wings for five years and for three years in Major League Lacrosse (MLL). In all three seasons, he was selected to play in the MLL All Star Game.

*John Begier: The current Radnor High head boys’ coach (third season), he was a 1983 high school All-American at Haverford School who played at Virginia when it reached the national championship game. Begier helped Virginia win three consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference championships and he was named as an honorable mention All-American in both 1985 and 1986. In his junior year, John helped lead the Cavaliers to the 1986 NCAA Final Four and scored a goal and an assist in the NCAA championship game. In his senior year, he played in the College North-South Senior All Star Game. As a collegiate defenseman and long stick middie, Begier redefined the position, turning takeaways into offensive opportunities with his speed, agility and nose for the goal. He scored 30 career points (17 goals, 13 assists), which is believed to be the NCAA record for a defenseman or long stick middie. He was inducted into the Haverford School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.


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