By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/8/15
Eleven men and women that helped shape the Philly lacrosse scene through playing, coaching and leadership were inducted Saturday night into the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame before a gathering of nearly 300 at Whitemarsh County Club.
The ceremony, run by the Philadelphia Lacrosse Association, is held every two years. Inductees were first honored in 1998 and the Hall of Fame is housed at United Sports in Downingtown. Sixty-two members of the Eastern PA Hall of Fame also have been inducted into the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
Below is a list of the inductees; excerpts of their speeches will be posted later today.
Bob Aitken (Truly Great Player who has Contributed Noteworthy Service to the Game of Lacrosse) “I remember it well … March, 1973 the start of the spring season … I was a freshman at Penn Charter and I was shagging flies on the baseball field … I was looking over at the field next to me and was able to see these guys REALLY enjoying themselves. Hitting each other with wooden sticks with bone crushing checks … two of those players were my mentors, my older brothers George and Mark. It took me all of 2 seconds to realize that I was playing the wrong sport. Lacrosse became my infatuation … for the last 43 years.”
Deb Andress (Posthumously inducted as Truly Great Player, Coach and Contributor to the Game), accepting was husband John Andress “In closing, I would like to borrow a quote from the late Stuart Scott of ESPN. In a speech he gave about 6 months before his passing in January, Stuart said: ‘When you die, you don’t lose to cancer! You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the way in which you live!’ I can tell you all – Deb kicked its ass! Thank you.”
Rachel Becker DeCecco (Truly Great Player) “Lacrosse is the reason I sprint to the finish at the end of all my runs. Lacrosse is the reason I crack up laughing and can’t help but sing along when I hear Enrique Iglesias or ‘Ain’t no Mountain High Enough’ because they take me right back to nights out with my team or our pre-game warm up mix or a certain head coach singing bus karaoke to ‘Green-Eyed Lady.’ Lacrosse is the reason I both breathe a sigh of relief and feel a pang of nostalgia on February 1st every year because I know I won’t be on the track running the gauntlet with 25 of my closest friends. Lacrosse is the reason I have a second family whom I don’t see very often but when I do it’s like we never left each other. Lacrosse is the reason I smile every May 17th and May 18th because I am reminded of the days more than 10 years ago when all of my wildest dreams came true.”
Anita C. Deasey (Truly Great Player and Coach) “When not playing for or coaching with the best, it’s important to have a support system to fall back on and I had that for sure. I want to thank my parents for letting me be a tom boy allowing me to play with lacrosse sticks instead of dolls. My 3 brothers and 3 sisters were there for me, win or lose and were always cheering me and my teams on. They were so supportive of me that they were known for often helping out officials with calls made or missed. When you are surrounded by great coaches, players and fans, it’s bound to rub off on you. For all their support, thank you and thanks again to the Philadelphia Lacrosse Association, you’ve made very happy.”
Chris Hupfeldt (Man who has Demonstrated Long Dedicated and Exceptional Service to the Game of Lacrosse in Pennsylvania:) “Many years later after my days of playing high school and college lacrosse, I moved to Philadelphia and played for the Eagle’s Eye Lacrosse Club started by Bob Burch. Bob and I recruited fellow Hall of Famer John Linehan to be the new coach. John was a great coach at Lower Merion High School and had played at the University of Pennsylvania and for the Philadelphia Lacrosse Club. We felt he would take the Eagle’s Eye team to a whole new level. John said to me, ‘Hup, you have great stick skills, but you are just too slow. Would you be my General Manager?’ John helped channel my lacrosse passion in a new direction. I was the GM for Eagle’s Eye and MAB Philadelphia L.C. for the next fifteen years.”
Leslie Blankin Lane (Truly Great Player): “But by far the most valuable thing that lacrosse has given me are friendships that will last forever. These are women who I spent so much time with training, playing, representing our country and partying with for many years. I have also been with them in the workplace and have shared in their weddings! It is a sorority like no other. While I don’t see a lot of those I played with often, when I get the opportunity to be with them it is like we have lived next door to each other for our entire lives.”
Gary Martin (Truly Great Player): “Lacrosse has been part of my life for almost 50 years and I can honestly say that the game is not a sport to my family and I, but truly ‘a way of life for us.’ From the day I moved from NYC to Philadelphia, lacrosse has been a very important aspect of my being. In fact, prior to me even moving to Philly, I drove from NYC to interview for a job in King of Prussia, I accepted the job and went directly to Chestnut Hill to start practicing with Eagles Eye lacrosse, the start of a great journey with many friends I will have for life. Like I said, lacrosse is bigger than the game itself. My personal life is centered around the lacrosse community.”
Betsy Meng Ramsey (Truly Great Player and Coach) “Our players at Ursinus were talented and motivated, and their enthusiasm and commitment made our job fun and rewarding. They practiced and played with purpose, intensity, and attitude, and nothing less than an National Championship was acceptable. I am thankful for the opportunity to have coached them and to share this honor with them tonight.”
David Stilley (Truly Great Player) “To my teammates and coaches that are here and beyond. Thanks for welcoming me, developing me, and being with me in the trenches. Specifically, I want to recognize a few of the most impactful leaders in my life and what is clearly a HOF list of coaches. To Mike Pressler, from Duke who took my work ethic to new heights and added a layer of intensity that many have told me I need to dial down, but I can’t. To Tony Resch, for finally giving me a shot to play indoor after frothing at the mouth spending my first two years on the bench. To Gary Gait, and his creative coaching techniques that led the Mammoth to my third World Championship. To Ed Comeau, for allowing me to pull a ‘Brett Favre’ and come out of retirement again for my last year in 2009 with the Titans. To Jimmy Rogers and Steve Govett, for their unmatched commitment to me as a player and friends. Thanks to all of you and many more for the chance to play at the highest levels. But one stands above them all and that is John Nostrant. What more can I say to a guy that has been in my corner ever since I was a senior in high school and remains one of my best friends. Coach, you are simply world class and have been and will continue to be part of my extended family.”
Kyle Sweeney (Truly Great Player) “I remember the pride and respect we took to play the out-of-state powerhouses in Maryland, New York and Virginia. I would be proud of what Springfield did, but also of what a Pennsylvania team accomplished against the out-of-state teams.”
Debbie Covington White (Truly Great Player, Coach and Contributor to the Game) “Those who know me well, know I live for the inspirational quote and the locker room speech. The following quote, though simple, speaks volumes: ‘A trophy carries dust, memories last forever.’ The value of my merits lies in my memories; character- building moments on the playing fields that cannot be replicated anywhere else in life, cherished remembrances of teammates and players from all teams and all levels are engraved in my soul, treasured friendships that will last a lifetime. My rewards are the extraordinary people I have had the privilege of meeting throughout my career. Thank you for all that you have given me and all that you have done for me.”