By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/3/13
It was a night of celebration for Philadelphia lacrosse Saturday when nine Philly legends were inducted into the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club.
The event, hosted by the Philadelphia Lacrosse Association, honored great players, coaches, referees and also a journalist; all ambassadors of the game. The inductees included Bob Ambler, Pat Carney, Bill Leahy, Kerstin Manning Kimel, Laurie Gray Markle, Robert Montgomery Jr., Tracy Stumpf, Noel Turner and Carole Wakefield.
One of the highlighted speeches came from inductee Leahy, a Baltimore native who has grudgingly transformed himself into a true Philly laxer after building a perennial national power from scratch in 23 years.
“By all measure I am a ‘Baltimore Boy’ and ‘Baltimore Boys’ don’t leave Baltimore.. and the purist part of me still, like most Baltimorons, think, or thought, that the best lacrosse is played south of the Mason Dixon line.
“This is how I was brought up – unknowingly – in the heart of Towson, Maryland, the cradle of Saturday college game choices for dad and me… Little did I know there was a bigger lacrosse world out there. That all changed in January of 1992 when the phone rang and on the other end was an old Calvert Hall friend, (the late) Brother Rene Sterner, who asked if I had ever considered teaching and coaching.
“I had not, but the opportunity seemed like a ‘good fit’, problem was his offer was not in Baltimore which meant, if I was brave enough to take the job, I had to move and this began my slow 23-year ‘Philadelphia’ transformation.
“It started with a reality check on the first day at La Salle. We were going to create a lacrosse program there from scratch – so the first group of 40 kids met in the gym to meet their new coach – me. I was nervous, but that ended rather quickly when a hand went up from the back of the row and a boy asked where our home ‘arena’ would be – where were the boards and Plexiglass like the Wings?
“At first this experience reinforced every fear this Baltimore guy could have about lacrosse outside of Maryland! That same weekend I attended my first Eagles game at the Vet and watched 10 guys with spray-painted, green, carved out pumpkins on their heads throw bottles at the Viking players – as I left I was looking for the fastest ‘on’ ramp to 95 south direct to Towson.
“And then something happened – I never left Philly.
“I tried at times, but the lacrosse Gods always stopped me and it usually came in the spirit of a solid Philly (or adopted) Philly person…
“The folks who took the Baltimore lacrosse purist out of me the most were the La Salle families, and kids,…With Philly coaches, Philly families, Philly kids like this La Salle Lacrosse just had to be somewhat successful no matter how I coached…I learned as much about this game by having to prepare our La Salle teams for programs like Malvern, Haverford School and Ridley as I ever had growing up in Maryland.
“These schools, their players, and coaching staffs rivaled – and now regularly defeat any MIAA school from down south. It is an honor for La Salle Lacrosse to be named in their company.
“It is indeed, an honor, to join my fellow inductees this evening, along with those who have gone before – so many other great players, referees, and coaches whom I have admired and envied over the years. As a transplanted and now officially converted Philly guy, I am humbled to join their company.”
Below are small excerpts from each of the inductee speeches. At bottom are the inductee bios
“Writing sports has brought me joy and to write about people that were great people made it that much better,” said Wakefield in a speech delivered by his granddaughter, Kiersten McGoldrick Sheehe. “I had fun doing my job and that is a great feeling. It was my privilege and pleasure to write about and watch everyone play.”
“It is a pleasure to see so many familiar faces (officials). I am honored to be inducted into the Hall of Fame; and surely others will follow.”
“My home was, unfortunately, flooded by Hurricane Sandy and I only mention it because of the amazing support I received from the lacrosse community. Losing material things may be difficult but that value is measured against what is truly valuable for me – the outstanding people I have gotten to know in this sport.”
Robert Montgomery Jr.
“When I played we all had long hair and short game pants; now the kids have short hair and really long game pants. That’s how things have changed.
“I wanted to thank to all involved in youth lacrosse who really work in the trenches every day; by volunteering and working with kids and passing their enthusiasm for the game.
Laurie Gray Markle
“I feel this game is a part of my life; whether playing, coaching, reffing, watching, learning, planning. I stress to my kids that not everyone will be a Division I player nor a professional. In fact, despite the thousands of kids picking up a stick, most won’t get that athletic scholarship,
“There are so many other avenues I discovered that can provide the same satisfaction. I have been involved in so many sports, but the passion in this game is (unparalleled). I know I feel blessed to have been given the ability to play this sport, which introduced me to some of the most wonderful people and opened doors and opportunities that I would have never had.”
“Lacrosse is the ultimate team sport and we are all teammates in some respects. Lacrosse is a special game; the Iroquois believe it’s a gift from the creator to be played for the creator’s enjoyment and to heal. Lacrosse is a journey that provides a path to individual development for uncommon camaraderie on and off the field for a lifetime. Perhaps more important than the joy of the game itself is that lacrosse provides continuous life lessons such as self-improvement, teamwork, honor, respect…”
“Thanks to the game of lacrosse … when I was growing up I was told I was too damn small to play football and too short to play basketball. I never liked running and anyway I was too slow to run track. I wanted to be a catcher, but I was left-handed and by the time I got to 9th grade they told me I couldn’t do that either. I was fortunate to find lacrosse.”
Kerstin Manning Kimel was unable to attend due to her commitments as head lacrosse coach at Duke University and the impending snow storm.
Robert Ambler enters the Hall of Fame with pre-eminent credentials as a truly great player. Bob was first recognized as a star lacrosse player at Abington Senior High School, where he was honored as an All-American attackman in 1971. Bob advanced to the collegiate level, where he played both basketball and lacrosse and became the all-time leading scorer in Drexel University men’s lacrosse history. In 1975, Bob was awarded the Lt. Greene Award, an annual accolade to Drexel’s foremost graduating student-athlete. He received the Epstein Lacrosse Award as the team MVP, earned All-East Coast Conference All Star status, led the nation in goals and was selected to the North-South All Star Game. Bob accumulated 231 career points, 76 came of which came in a single season. He tied school records with 45 single-season goals and nine goals in one game. He is a member of the Drexel University Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Following his college career, Bob entered the coaching ranks with an eight-year term as an assistant coach at Villanova University, and also coached at Drexel. As a promoter of the game, he started the lacrosse program at Wissahickon High School, ironically located in Ambler, PA, and also served as Wissahickon’s basketball coach. Beyond that, Bob was instrumental in founding the Abington Lacrosse Club, one of the top youth programs in the area. He coached with ALC from 1993 to 2008 and taught hundreds of boys how to play the game, including his sons – Colin, who challenged his father’s scoring record at Drexel, and Ryan, a rising star at Princeton.
PATRICK J. CARNEY
Patrick Carney is going into the Hall of Fame as a truly great player. He was a graduate of Springfield High school and part of the Central League championship team in 1981 and 1982. He helped lead the Cougars to the Pennsylvania Lacrosse Association Championship in 1982. In a rare example of versatility, Pat earned All-Central League Team honors in 1981 (at attack) and in 1982 (as a goalie). Pat permanently switched to goalie and took his talents to Swarthmore College, where he co –captained the team in 1986 and was named the team’s MVP. At Swarthmore, Pat earned All-Mid-Atlantic Conference honors in 1984, 1985 and 1986, and received All-American recognition his senior year. At the club level, he minded the nets for Eagles Eye Lacrosse Club 1987-1993 and the MAB Philadelphia Lacrosse Club, both of which competed for club championships before the advent of the outdoor professional leagues . Pat received All-United States Club Lacrosse Association recognition on several occasions, and played for the Philadelphia Wings from 1988-1990. In 2006, Pat leveraged his Irish heritage and played for Team Ireland, and he still plays at the Master’s level. Pat excelled as a coach as well, serving as an assistant at Swarthmore College in 1987-1988. He later coached in Haven Youth Lacrosse, where he was a board member. He coached in the Penn Star and Mesa Fresh programs and served as an assistant at Strath Haven High School. Pat has been a board member of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Youth Lacrosse Association, and was co-founded the Titan Youth Lacrosse Camp and the Patriot Games Lacrosse Tournament.
WILLIAM “BILL” LEAHY
Bill is entering the Hall of Fame as a “truly great coach.” He played lacrosse in high school for Calvert Hall (Baltimore) from 1984-1987 and played lacrosse at the collegiate level, first at Washington College and later at Loyola College. After college, Bill played for The Eagles Eye Lacrosse Club from 1992-1998 and MAB Philadelphia Lacrosse Club from 1999-2002. As a member of the Philadelphia Wings from 1994-1996, Bill won several indoor lacrosse championships at the professional level. His coaching career began at Lasalle College High School , where he started the boys’ lacrosse program in 1992 and has served as the school’s coach ever since. During his tenure at the helm of what is now a nationally recognized and ranked program, he has accumulated a record 360 wins, with only 76 losses. The Explorers have won an impressive 18 Philadelphia Catholic League championships under his tutelage. His nationally ranked team won the first PIAA Boy’s Championship in 2009, and subsequent squads have reached the PIAA Championship finals several times since then. Before PIAA recognition of lacrosse in the state, the Explorers won the Eastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association and Keystone Cup Championships in 2004 and 2008 (his teams were EPSLA finalists in 2005 and 2007). Bill was selected as EPSLA “Coach of the Year” in 1997 and 2004. For his success at Lasalle, Bill was inducted into the Montgomery County Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. Bill has also served as an assistance coach in the Under Armour All-American Games.
KERSTIN MANNING KIMEL
Kerstin Kimel enters the PA Hall of Fame as a truly great player and coach. A graduate of Haverford High School where she earned All American honors and the opportunity to play at the University of Maryland. Kimel led the Terrapins to four consecutive NCAA appearances and a National Championship in 1992. She was an outstanding midfielder who earned All American honors in 1992 and 1993. The NCAA National Defensive Player of the Year in 1993 was an exciting end to her collegiate career. On the international level, Kimel continued to excel with her time on the US Lacrosse team from 1992-1996. She was an alternate on the 1993 US World Cup team that captured a gold medal. Her lacrosse accomplishments continued as she began her storied coaching career in 1996 as the first coach at Duke University where she has a 216-104 coaching record after 17 seasons that includes 15 NCAA appearances. Under her leadership, Duke has won 4 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) regular season titles and an ACC Championship. Kimel is a 5 time ACC Coach of the year who coached 33 All Americans and 19 Academic All Americans over the years. Kerstin and her husband Jack have three children, Caroline (12), Mac (10) and Claire (2).
LAURIE GRAY MARKLE
Laurie Markle enters the Hall of Fame as a great player who has given outstanding service to the game.A graduate of Lower Merion High school in 1980 where she was honored as an All Central Leaguer three sports. She went on to play Field hockey and Lacrosse at Penn State where she lettered 4 years in both sports and was named and All American in Lacrosse in 1984. She remains on the all-time PSU record books in assists and points. On the international level Laurie played on the US Lacrosse squad from 1984 to 1992 where she played in numerous international contests representing the United States. She so accompanied Jackie Pitts on an international playing and coaching tour that took them to 8 different countries to spread the game of Lacrosse. After her playing career Laurie continued her service in leading the PASLA organization for 10 years. She has also served on the USL Board over the years in various capacities as well a regula convention speaker. She has also officiated at the local level for five years. She has been a high school and youth coach for over 20 years e at Springfield high school and currently at Methacton high school. She runs a youth program in Methacton. She has been a member of the PLA Board for the past 7 years. Laurie and her husband Craig have 3 children all lacrosse players, Scott (19) Kevin (17) and Kate (14).
ROBERT H. MONTGOMERY Jr. “Monty”
Monty has been selected to the Hall of Fame as a “truly great player. “ He played defense for Harriton High School in 1968-1970, when boys’ lacrosse in Pennsylvania was still in its infancy. As a Ram, he earned All-State honors as a defender in 1969 and 1970. Monty took his considerable talents to Drexel University, where his play earned him Epstein Award recognition 1973 as well as All Mid-Atlantic Conference Honors in 1972, 1973 and 1974. As a club player, he played for the Main Line Lacrosse Club as well as Connecticut Valley Lacrosse Club, earning North Division All-Star status in 1976, 1977 and 1978. Beyond that, and as a true testament to his talent as a lacrosse player, Monty enjoys the distinction of being the first player from Pennsylvania selected to the US Men’s National Team. He helped the US Team win the World Championship in 1994. Monty hails from a family of great lacrosse players, who included his brothers Mike and John.
TRACY LYN STUMPF
Tracy Stumpf enters the Hall of Fame as a “truly great player”. Tracy was a graduate of Springfield High School (Delco) where she was selected to the All Central League team and the PWLA HS All Star game. Tracy was voted SHS Outstanding Female Athlete her senior year. In addition to lacrosse Tracy earned All Central League honors in both field hockey and basketball scoring over 1000 points. She moved onto the collegiate scene at the University of Maryland where she garnered All American honors as a Defensive player. She was named to the NCAA All-Tournament team 3 years and nominated to the NCAA DI 25th Anniversary Team. Tracy’s defensive skill helped her team to the National Championship crown in 1986. On the international level Tracy played numerous years on the US Lacrosse Squad and was a member of the US U23 team in 1987 and a member of the gold medal World Cup team in 1989 and US touring team to Canada in 1990. She has been selected to both the Springfield High School Hall of Fame and the Delaware County Athletic Hall of Fame. Tracy took her lacrosse skills to Haverford College as an assistant coach for four years.
R. NOEL TURNER
Noel Turner is being recognized as a “truly great official who has contributed noteworthy service to the game.” Noel graduated from Swarthmore High School in 1957 and went on to play at Hamilton College in New York from 1959-1961. He was enjoyed Upstate New York All Star accolades his senior year. Noel served as an official has been broad and varied. His activities and accomplishment as an official including the following: Penn-Del (1965-1971); Pennsylvania and Delaware Lacrosse Officials Association (1972-1990); PDLOA President (1976-1977 and 1980-1981), and PDLOA Treasurer (1972-1975). Noel served as a PDLOA assignor from 1982-1989 and officiated five Eastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association Championships. Noel was also a fixture on the college lacrosse coaching scene. He has served as District III Assignor from 1990 through the present and has officiated at the highest level, including the NCAA Division III Championship 1983, the North-South All Star Game 1985 and the MAC championship in 1984. Noel has also officiated in the United States Club Lacrosse Association, serving as the lead official in five USCLA championships Club Championships. As a contributor to the game, Noel has been the Director of Easter Pennsylvania Summer Lacrosse League from 1976-present, and served as its Treasurer (1976-present) and as its Assignor (1982-2002).
Carole Wakefield enters the Hall of Fame as an Outstanding woman of Service to the game. Carole has been a fixture on the sidelines of lacrosse for over 30 years. She has been instrumental in publicizing and promoting the game of lacrosse across the country and abroad. Carole was the US Lacrosse Magazine Women’s Editor for 12 years as well as the editor of USWLA Cross Checks for 5 years. Her “Wakefield on Lacrosse” was a popular feature. Carole provided in depth coverage of women’s lacrosse including coverage and analysis of NCAA Division I, II, and III national Championships. Every four years she covered the World Cup Championship. She served on the U-19 World Championship Committee for the inaugural tournament in 1995. For ten years Carole was a fixture at the Vail Shootout as a scorer, timer and writer. She seemed to know every player across the country. She received the Vail Tournament Service Award in 1997. In 2000, The Eastern Pa Chapter of US Lacrosse established the Carole Wakefield Award presented to a journalist who has made an outstanding contribution to women’s lacrosse in Pennsylvania. Carole also received a Special Recognition Award in 2003 from the Haverford High School Sports Hall of Fame – where it all began!