By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/12/11
Harry Sankey, coach of Rebel Elite lacrosse club, says he will remember team member Eddie Coombs as a young man who was a standout athlete, a great teammate and a loving son.
“When I picture Eddie, I think of an incredible athlete,” said Sankey. “But that is only a part of what Eddie was.
“He was a caring teammate that had an infectious smile. Above all, I will remember Eddie as a loving son who did everything right in his life and who loved his immediate and extended families to the fullest.”
Hundreds of people from the Hatboro-Horsham and lacrosse communities and beyond paid their respects Wednesday to Coombs, a 2010 HH grad, at Whitemarsh Memorial Park, following a funeral service at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church.
Coombs, of Horsham, was 19. He was one of two teens that died in a one-car accident Saturday morning in Horsham. Also killed was Robert Nagel, 19, one of Coombs’ teammates on the Hatters’ league co-championship and state qualifying team in 2010.
The funeral service for Coombs was packed with friends, classmates and teammates while his teammates, a coach and family spoke about a young man who meant to much to so many. Coombs was to begin his sophomore year at Marist College (N.Y.) where he enjoyed a strong freshman season on the lacrosse team.
The crash – which caused minor injuries to three other teens in the vehicle – is being investigated by the Horsham police and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. The accident occurred on Witmer Road in Horsham Township.
It was told to investigators by one of the other three injured in the crash that the car was traveling at a high rate of speed and that some of the five teens had been drinking alcohol that evening.
To honor his memory, his family has established the Edward Taylor Coombs Scholarship Foundation. Those wishing to contribute to the foundation may do so at TD Bank, where the account has been set up.
A golf tournament has been tentatively scheduled for next year to help kick off the foundation. Funds would be made available to student athletes exhibiting strong character.
Sankey’s Rebel Elite club also has established the “Edward Coombs Memorial Scholarship” in which funds collected would be awarded to a graduating Rebel Elite player that has displayed the traits of academic success, athletic achievement, and community service – all of which were attributes of Eddie. The scholarship is to be used to help defray costs of college expenses. (see details at bottom of article).
“Rebel Elite Lacrosse differs from most club teams by having only one team comprised of players from different high school programs throughout the Philadelphia/NJ area,” he said, “There are no second or third-tier players to pick for the tournaments.
“All Rebel players are expected to participate in scheduled events. In having this type of program the players, parents, and coaches all develop a special bond. We all become a family.
“In doing so, all involved consider each other’s kids one of their own. It was a heartbreaking loss to the Rebel community and I had players and parents from past and current teams contact me inquiring how they could do something to remember Eddie.”
Sankey continued, saying that Coombs was a role model for others.
“In a world full of biases and racism – whether we want to admit to it or not – there are only a few avenues that it does not apply,” he said. “I can remember one practice stating that Rebel Lacrosse is about being a team – not individuals on a field.
“Color, religion, social class have no bearing on how we play lacrosse and what we may learn from the game. Eddie was what he was – a talented, multi dimensional, hard working young man with a goal common to most high school athletes; to use his talents to get a college education and hopefully be capable enough to compete at the next level.
“Edward was everyone’s son, he was what all players aspire to be; he was what lacrosse reveres.”
Sankey said he, himself, has already been impacted greatly by Coombs’ memory.
“In conversing with his father the day prior to the funeral, he asked the question: ‘Why would God do this to my son?’” Sankey said, “There is no immediate answer, if ever, to this. I was pondering this the last few days.
“Here are my thoughts. It is evident what a special young man Ed was. He impacted so many lives – which was clear by the throngs of mourners at his wake.
“I believe his death, as tragic as it was, was a life lesson to not only those who knew him but to all that heard about the accident to renew their way of living for the better. It is certainly an eye opener to have a special young person taken from us in their prime.
Many life lessons can be learned from this. For me, personally, I never would wear a seat belt. Now after this I made a pledge that I would start.
“When I grab the belt Eddie always comes to my mind both in a sad way and a happy way – I just picture his trademark smile.”
It is the wish of Rebel Elite, his club lacrosse team, to honor Mr. Coombs by starting an “Edward Coombs Memorial Scholarship” in which funds collected would be awarded to a graduating Rebel Elite player that has displayed the traits of academic success, athletic achievement, and community service – all of which were attributes of Eddie. The scholarship is to be used to help defray costs of college expenses.
“Edward Coombs Memorial Scholarship”
In lieu of flowers, donations can be directed to scholarship. Individual and corporate gifts are welcomed.
Please send correspondence made out to REBEL ELITE LACROSSE with “Edward Coombs Scholarship” written in memo section. Mail to:
Rebel Elite Lacrosse/Scholarship Fund
827 Shelley Ct.
Warminster PA 18974