By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/16/22
Geoff Chenworth, the head boys’ lacrosse coach at Northampton and a longtime youth coach in the Lehigh Valley, passed away Monday evening. He was 58.
Mr. Chenworth was a highly respected mentor in the region who previously was head coach at Parkland (2009-2011) and an assistant at Allentown Central Catholic (2016-19). Mr. Chenworth was named Northampton’s first varsity coach for the 2020 season (which was canceled due to COVID-19) and had a 1-12 record last year. The program had been running at the club level for approximately 10 years before Mr. Chenworth was hired.
Northampton Athletic Director Shaun Murray said players were informed Tuesday of their coach’s passing and that Chenworth’s three assistants, Francis Meagher, Bill Stump and Geoffrey Lowell, will run the team as it continues preseason workouts. Meagher will serve as acting head coach.
Mr. Chenworth posted a 36-20 record as head coach at Parkland. His last game last year was a 12-4 win over Pleasant Valley.
“We have three assistants who have known Geoff for a very long time and they will continue with the program,” said Murray. “We feel this is the best thing for our boys, for them to be together; whether that means practicing or being there for each other and supporting each other.
“The coaches have no doubt shown the willingness to keep it going, not only for the boys but to keep Geoff’s memory. It’s what he would have wanted, for them to work hard. He was so proud of the boys and the effort they had put in for the 3 years he was here.
“The impact he made in that time – through COVID – and the relationships be built in the community are irreplaceable. I never met anybody who had such passion for what he did.
“The time he spent with the kids in a sport that is relatively new…along with the time he spent with youth lacrosse for more than a decade has been so impactful. He will be deeply missed.”
Mr. Chenworth was instrumental in building the nearby youth program at Schnecksville in the early 2000s. He had played lacrosse at Calvert Hall (MD) and Bucknell University.
“Geoff and I moved into the area when lacrosse was getting started in the Lehigh Valley,” said Dan Dolphin, who retired as Allentown Central Catholic coach in June. “As those kids moved into the high school years Geoff became active in the high school as one of Parkland’s first coaches and he even won a couple of District titles.
“When he came to us (in 2016) he completely took over the defensive side of the (ball) and and he was just a great guy. The kids absolutely loved him and loved his enthusiasm. Even thought he was in his early 50s, he would grab a stick and show the kids what he wanted. He’d put on his put once in a while and mix it up.”
Dolphin said Mr. Chenworth was already building another program at Northampton from scratch.
“He was just a great guy for the sport in the Lehigh Valley,” Dolphin said. “Geoff took that (Northampton) job and last year got the kids on the field for the field time. He had gone from about 20 players to 40 or 45 this year. He was really promoting the sport every day.
“He was going to football practices and saying, ‘Hey, you really need to play’ and he was promoting lacrosse at the youth leagues. He had recruited a couple young men from Parkland that he used to coach to come over and help in the youth program in Northampton.”
Kevin O’Neill, the first-year head coach at Allentown Central Catholic, has coached with Mr. Chenworth for 20 years at the youth and high school levels. He said Mr. Chenworth was a pioneer for Lehigh Valley lacrosse.
“He was a mentor to a lot of kids in Lehigh Valley youth, all the way through high school,” said O’Neill. “He will be sorely missed.”