By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/1/14
The weather was perfect, the crowd of all ages numbered in the thousands and the lacrosse was never played with more heart and feeling.
Yes, this was what Kip Taviano would have loved.
Saturday, almost exactly a year after Taviano died in a two-car accident near his Concord Township home, ‘Love Field” was dedicated during a day-long celebration of Kip’s life at the Concord Township Municipal Center.
Kip Taviano 18, passed away just before graduating from The Haverford School where he was a popular member of the lacrosse team and a recruited player for the first team at Furman University. Kip also played lacrosse for Brandywine Youth Club and his father, Jim, was a longtime coach there.
The special event featured a kids’ clinic (100 participants) run by Richie Meade, who had recruited Kip to Furman; youth and high school games and an alumni game. T-shirts, designed by Kip’s friend and BYC teammate Matt Taulane, were sold and there were refreshments as well as a raffle.
Proceeds will go toward the formation of an endowed scholarship in Kip’s name at The Haverford School.
The day’s highlight was the field dedication, which originated from a suggestion by township supervisors and brought to fruition by, BYC coaches Denny Nealon and Greg Mink.
The event drew together the lacrosse communities from The Haverford School and Garnet Valley, and well beyond.
“I think it speaks to what Kip was about,” said Jim Taviano, in an emotional interview. “He was a part of several different communities and they have all come together for this one event in such an amazing way.
“It’s a testament to him – not what he was as a lacrosse player – but what he is as a person. We’re just completely overwhelmed. It’s amazing; the weather is perfect, the turnout for the clinic and to have Richie Meade come up and do that for us is great.”
Meade, the former longtime coach at Navy and also the current US National Men’s coach, was assisted by Haverford School coach John Nostrant and Garnet Valley coach Frank Urso as well as other assistants.
“I think it’s important for families to know their sons are going to be remembered and that they stood for something,” said Meade, who noted that Furman has dedicated Kip’s number at Haverford School (10) by holding it for four years. “Me being here is going to help me continue to talk about this story, which makes tradition.
“This group at Furman is called Class 1 – it’s a (Navy) Seal thing. Kip was part of that and he is remembered at our school. We have a framed jersey in the locker room along the wall and that’s Kip’s space, and as we start to progress down the road it’s always going to be there.”
“Our end goal, as noted before, is to establish a scholarship endowed at Haverford to give another kid the same opportunity that he had,” Taviano said. “That place meant the world to him and we’ve heard so many stories of guys that he told to stick it out. They said, ‘We’re so glad we did it because we love it here.’ That’s Kip the person.”
One of many of Kip’s friends that attended the event was 2013 Garnet Valley graduate Jon Vandenberg, who played with him at BYC and is a rising sophomore lacrosse player at Furman.
“I think Mr. Taviano said it best at the dedication when she said, ‘I see Kip in all of you here supporting him. He would love to see everybody out here having a good day playing lacrosse and doing what he would want to do.’
“If this had happened to anybody else, Kip would want to be involved and he would be right up there. He was a good lacrosse player, but an even better person. I know at Haverford School he was not a star, but from all I talked to they all said he was the best teammate.”
Pa. State Rep. Stephen Barrar, R-160, also made remarks at the dedication.