By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/13/09
The wait was well worth it for St. Joseph’s Prep midfielder Kenny Lankford.
The recent Hawks graduate has signed a letter of intent to play for legendary Bill Tierney as one of his first recruits at the University of Denver.
Lankford, a first-team All-Catholic League Southern Division pick this year for the 16-2 Hawks, nearly signed with Hartford during the season. He also considered Bryant.
But later in the year Jon Torpey, who served as the interim Denver coach for a month, gave Lankford an offer to sign a letter of intent after watching him play following a contact from Prep coach Eric Gregg. When Tierney left Princeton to take the job in early June, he honored the offer.
“Originally, I was pretty certain I would be attending Hartford,” said Lankford, of Medford, N.J. “Financially, it was my best option. But after a while of talking to my parents I had second thoughts and I took some time to step back.
“Coach Gregg contacted (Torpey) and he went through game film and flew out and watched me play. He called me and when I went and visited I was positive I wanted to go there. Then when coach Tierney got hired, I was pretty excited.
“I talked to him about three or four times on the phone, and Coach Gregg talked to him. I know coach Tierney had a million names flying through his head since it was so late in the process, but he honored coach Torpey’s offer.”
Lankford can hardly contain his enthusiasm for going to a school – already a strong program – which many believe will soon elevate itself to the top tier under Tierney. At Princeton, Tierney won six NCAA championships and 14 Ivy League crowns in 22 years
“That’s what has me very excited,” Lankford said. “A lot of people are saying it’s a great opportunity with what he did at Princeton.”
Lankford, who plans to major in business and study marketing, said everything about Denver was ideal.
“I didn’t really know what to expect, but when I got on campus, everything was perfect,” he said. “There was not a blade of grass out of place; everything was just gorgeous.”
Lankford looks back on St. Joe’s Prep’s 2009 season with great feelings despite the fact the team failed to reach the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association playoffs. St. Joe’s fell in heartbreaking style to eventual state champion La Salle, 4-3, in the District 12 championship game and finished the season ranked No. 3 in the final PA Media Lacrosse Rankings. It also dealt state runner-up Conestoga its lone regular-season loss.
“That (not making states) was kind of a bummer,” said Lankford, who credited both Gregg and former Prep coach Dan Keating for his development. “I think even though we didn’t get to go to states, it was a pretty successful season.
“We only lost to La Salle (twice) and they were the state champions. To lose by one and hit two posts in last minute… but they were state champs and they were a great team.
“I think we were every bit as good as them.”
Leave a Reply