By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/12/13
One of the big reasons Jimmy Murphy chose to play college lacrosse was the model set by his former Hatboro-Horsham teammate, Eddie Coombs.
So when Murphy was given the honor of Eddie’s No. 34 jersey today as a Marist freshman at the 2nd Annual Edward Taylor Coombs Fall Ball Shoot Out, he had a difficult time holding back his emotion.
“It’s a great feeling and I was so pumped to be picked to wear his number today,” said Murphy. “Just like at Hatboro-Horsham, up at Marist he means so much to us and he’s always with us.”
Murphy’s was a Second Team All-Phillylacrosse.com pick last spring when the Hatters won the Suburban One Continental Conference title. He said it was special to come with his new teammates and compete with NYIT and Merrimack in the boys’ division of the tourney that also included six women’s teams today. Tomorrow, eight men’s Division III teams compete.
The tourney raises money for the Edward Taylor Coombs Foundation and honors Eddie, who died 26 months ago in a car accident that involved underage drinking and driving. The Foundation focuses on promoting making responsible and positive decisions and educating people on the consequences of drinking and driving. It also helps to educate the public on the effects of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a form of brain injury caused by repeated hits to the head.
Eddie Coombs was a standout lacrosse player and honor student at Hatboro-Horsham who emerged quickly as a key player and popular member for Marist in just one season. The event is hosted by Hatboro-Horsham, Marist and Ursinus College.
For more information on the Foundation, click here – http://etcfoundation34.org/
“This was our first fall ball competition and it’s awesome to get to come back to this environment where I know everyone and there’s such a nice crowd,” said Murphy. “The guys couldn’t wait to get down here. This is his home town; he played on this field and lived over there (pointing).
“It was awesome! It was just a great feeling and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Marist coach Keegan Wilkinson (St. Joseph’s University grad) said his program has been honored to help promote and host the tournament for the second straight year. He has forged a close relationship with Eddie’s parents, Eric and Tina and wish to continue seeing the tourney prosper.
“It means everything to come back,” he said. “And it’s great to have another perspective on Eddie (from Jimmy). We know how important Eddie is to our program in Poughkeepsie and last night Jimmy told us how important Eddie is to his home town.
“He said that any time you go to a little league, lacrosse, basketball or football game everybody’s got Eddie’s initials on them. It’s great to see the two communities come together – Marist and Hatboro – it means a lot to us.”
Wilkinson said competing with Eddie’s memories is the focus.
“They’re two great D2 schools we’re competing with and it’s a great opportunity to play really good lacrosse,” he said. “More importantly, we are helping Eric and Tina Coombs spread the word about their Foundation.
“Hopefully, someone walks away with a better understand about responsible decision making and taking care of their friends on and off the field. We want to spread the legacy across the country.”