By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/15/09
More than 5,000 fans, coaches, players and officials in the sport of lacrosse will converge on the Baltimore Convention Center Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the annual US Lacrosse National Convention.
The event will draw more than 140 presenters, including officials, coaches, and players. Hghlighting the list of speakers is Baltimore baseball icon Cal Ripken, Jr., who will present the keynote address on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Convention Center.
The Convention provides the sport’s largest educational opportunity. For the fifth year in a row the convention will feature a “live field” area, sponsored by Warrior and Brine, to supplement classroom clinics for coaches and officials. Clinics are offered for all levels of coaches and officials, ranging from youth play up through college-aged players.
The Convention also features the largest-ever lacrosse specific Expo Hall with 100 exhibitors registered. Other key events include the US Lacrosse Youth Excellence Awards Breakfast, the Women’s Division Kickoff Luncheon, Saturday’s Fan Fest, the Women’s Recruiting Panel Breakfast, a Men’s Recruiting Panel and Seminar, the Level 1 and Level II Coaches’ Education Clinic.
The Philly highlight of the Convention may be Saturday’s Youth Council Awards Breakfast when Wayne’s Peter Samson receives the Founder’s Circle honor. Samson will be one of eight overall Youth Lacrosse leaders throughout the country that will be honored.
The Founder’s Circle is given to someone who has founded a program, product or idea that has staying power within the sport. This award is not given annually. It is only given when someone meets the very special criteria of the award.
Samson’s lacrosse accomplishments are many, including serving as the founder, director and coach of Radnor Youth Lacrosse for close to 20 years. Samson also was past president of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Youth Lacrosse Association (SEPYLA).
He may be most known for founding the Katie Samson Lacrosse Festival, which was created to raise money and awareness for spinal cord research in the name of his daughter.
The 9th Annual Festival will be held April 25 at Radnor High, where Katie was a star player. In the eight yeears the festival has been held, it has raised over $800,000.
Samson’s impact on the game and the lacrosse community is far-reaching. He has served as a director on the board of the Philadelphia chapter of US Lacrosse and he continues to serve on the chapter’s Hall of Fame nominating committee.
Philadelphia also will be well represented among the speakers. Temple women’s coach Bonnie Rosen and assistant coach Nicole Moore will be presenting from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on creating a Midfield Defensive Plan.
Three Philly lacrosse coaches are presenting for the three Stripe Speaker Series; including La Salle High coach Bill Leahy, former Philadelphia Wing and recent US Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee Tom Marechek and Princeton women’s coach and recent inductee Chris Sailer (Haverford High).
Leahy, whose state-championship team was ranked No. 1 in Lacrosse Magazine for 2008, will speak in a Level 2 seminar at 5 p.m. Saturday. His topic is: “Creating Team Concepts: Leadership, Unity, Toughness, and Resiliency”
Marechek, who coaches at Glenelg (Md.) School, will present at 2 p.m. on “Mechanics of Shooting”
Sailer and Patty Daley, a national umpire, also will talk at 2 p.m., on “You Make the Call – Interactive Application of the Rules”