In 2010 when Bayhawks owner Brendan Kelly made a mid season coaching change he took over the reigns himself. It ended up working out as the team went on to capture the MLL Championship that year. Kelly remained coach in 2011 but in the off season he felt it was best if he focused on being an owner. He hired former Maryland head coach Dave Cottle as head coach. Cottle then put together an All-Star coaching staff. That group is the focus of this week’s Ford Spotlight Feature.
Tag Archives: Legends
Major League Lacrosse: “Inside The MLL” Highlights The “Legendary” Lacrosse Coaching Staff Assembled By Chesapeake Bayhawks (Video)
Legends Of Lacrosse: Former Cornell Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach Richie Moran (1969-1997) Talks About His 3 National Championships (’71, ’76, ’77) And Great “Big Red” Teams (Video)
A conversation with former Cornell men’s lacrosse coach Richie Moran, who coached the Big Red from 1969-1997. During that time, Moran won 3 National Championships (1971, 1976, and 1977), had 6 National Championship game appearances, 14 NCAA tournament appearances, 15 Ivy League Championships, 11 undefeated Ivy League seasons, and a 42 game winning streak from 1976-1978. In addition, Moran was a 3 time National Coach of the Year and is in the Cornell Athletics Hall of Fame.
Growth Of Lacrosse: From The Legendary Jim Brown In 1957 To Kyle Harrison, Very Few Black Athletes Choose To Participate In Lacrosse
Far smaller than football both in participation and popularity, lacrosse has struggled to find its way outside the suburbs and prep schools of the country, where the student-athlete population is mainly white.
“For whatever reason, you hear Jim Brown, and then you hear Kyle Harrison, and there’s a big, big, big gap in between those two players,” Woodson said. “So what we want to kind of do is take that gap and bridge it.”
Jim Brown was one of the greatest football players to ever grace the gridiron. But many say he was better at lacrosse.
Brown helped create possibilities for black athletes by playing football and lacrosse at Syracuse University in the mid-1950s, a time when racial integration in collegiate and professional sports was still very much developing. Since Brown, the most recognizable black lacrosse player has likely been current pro Kyle Harrison. The four-time Major League Lacrosse All-Star was the NCAA player of the year as a senior at Johns Hopkins in 2005, nearly 50 years after Brown’s playing days.
Two black lacrosse stars. Five decades apart. Very few like them in between.
Legends Of Lacrosse: The 1988 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships Featured The “Air Gait” Shot In Syracuse-Penn Semifinal (Video)
In the 1988 NCAA lacrosse tournament championship played at Syracuse University, the Orangemen defeated the Cornell Big Red, 13-8 for the first of their three straight NCAA titles. This Syracuse team is notable for being undefeated and for featuring the Gait brothers, Paul and Gary Gait, as well as lacrosse Hall-of-Famer Tom Marechek. It is also significant for being the NCAA tournament where Gary Gait took his famous “Air Gait” shot in a tight semi-final game against University of Pennsylvania. Syracuse won that semifinal game on a goal by Paul Gai with 3 seconds to play.
Lacrosse In The 1960’s: Washington College Men’s Lacrosse Coach Donaldson Kelly Led The Small Maryland College Team Against Navy, Army, Johns Hopkins, And Virginia After A Hall Of Fame, 4-Time All-American Lacrosse Career At Johns Hopkins (Sports Illustrated March 27, 1967)
Throughout the school year they carry lacrosse sticks around the campus of Washington College, flipping the hard rubber ball back and forth as they walk between classes. But spring is the real season for the game, the time of informal practice on the green lawns and serious sessions on Kibler Field. Tiny Washington takes on many of the country’s top lacrosse teams, representing schools many times its size, and in 10 years it has had one losing season. Washington was founded in 1782 at Chester-town, Md., on the Eastern Shore of Chesapeake Bay, and it comprises a handsome collection of rosy-brick, white-framed Colonial buildings, a campus decorated with dogwood and cherry trees and 18th century black-iron lanterns, and a student body of about 600 men and women. If the atmosphere appears easygoing in the pictures on the following pages, there is nothing easy about getting into Washington and staying there; academic standards are high. Half of the 250-odd men take part in intercollegiate competition in at least one of eight sports, but lacrosse is Washington‘s pride, as it is at many schools in Maryland, starting at the grade-school level. At Washington, certainly, that pride is justified.
Lacrosse people talk about a “northern” game and a “southern” game as if there were a divider at the Mason-Dixon line, and the sense of distinction is reinforced by the traditional North-South All Star Game at the end of the season. The northern game tends toward power and combativeness, the southern toward speed and stick work, but in recent years these images have been blurred, if not obliterated, with the steady interchange of players and coaches north and south. Still, reasonable facsimiles of the original types can be found.
On the dirt field of New York City‘s cold Lewisohn Stadium in early spring, for instance, where City College players trip over the raised remains of baseball pitching mounds, teamwork seems to have become a lost—if ever discovered—art. The cheers and jeers of a handful of student rooters are in keeping with the general picture of college lacrosse, northern style: “Whadya gonna do, George, hit ‘im with ya pocketbook?” “Forget the ball, go after him.”
At Washington College, by contrast, the game is played in a treelined valley, on tenderly nursed turf punctuated by shiny orange-netted goalposts and surrounded by freshly whitewashed lines. The wooden grandstand and grassy banks are crowded with middle-aged adults as well as students, and their responses reflect a knowledgeable appreciation of the finesse on the playing field.
It is no wonder that at Washington lacrosse facilities are flawless and the game’s intricacies understood. The school annually fields the best small-college team in the country, emerging frequently at year’s end with a ranking in the nation’s top 10, regardless of classification. Last season Washington won its division (Strobhar) title for the fourth straight time, and three of its players—Bruce Jaeger, Paul Rudolph and Dave Svec, all from Baltimore—were chosen to play for the South in the All Star Game. The South’s coach was Washington‘s
Donaldson Kelly. After his team beat the North 13-5—Jaeger led the scoring with three goals and two assists—Kelly was chosen Coach of the Year by the Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association.
In his own playing days at Johns Hopkins, 54-year-old Kelly won 11 varsity letters—in lacrosse, basketball and football—and was a four-time lacrosse All-America. He owns a Chevrolet-Buick agency in Chestertown—which is fortunate, since his monetary rewards as coach are approximately equal to those received by his players—and there are no athletic scholarships at Washington. Kelly’s coaching philosophy is disarmingly simple. “You can’t be tough,” he says. “These boys are not paid for this. You have to make them accept the challenge of playing above themselves. We have always had big schools on our schedule—Navy, Army, Johns Hopkins, Virginia—and I try to make them want to do as well or better than the big ones. Meantime, I just try to teach lacrosse skill.” Many of the large schools on Washington‘s schedule recruit football players for their lacrosse teams. Despite their lack of experience, footballers can quickly learn to play midfield and defense positions, where size and stamina often count for as much as slick skill. Washington does not even have a football program, but this does not faze Kelly. “Bigness isn’t important, as it is in football,” he insists. “In lacrosse it’s all physical ability and smartness.”
Kelly’s star for the next few years is likely to be Attackman Ron Regan, a graduate of Baltimore‘s Boys’ Latin School. (Younger brother Bruce Regan, the best high school player in Maryland in 1966, won a scholarship at Harvard, where he will contribute to the further breakdown of North-South differences.) Ron is the ideal Kelly-type player—fast, shifty and a brilliant stickman. He is surrounded by enough skillful teammates to insure another title for Washington in 1967. This year, too, Don Kelly enjoys the luxury of an official assistant for the first time, former Washington College Defenseman Bob Pritzlaff. Pritzlaff will be paid to coach, but, then, he has to handle wrestling also. Which, in a way, is what the game is all about on the Eastern Shore.
Lacrosse In The 1960’s: The 1966 College Men’s Lacrosse Championship Featured Navy Men’s Lacrosse Defeating Army 16-7 Led By “Coach Willis P. Bilderback And His Merrie Men”(Sports Illustrated June 13, 1966)
It would be easy to assume that Navy’s lacrosse team, which plays like it is almost perfect, is an athletic embodiment of the perfectly regimented and perfectly drilled Naval Academy Midshipmen. Forget it. Last Saturday Navy won its seventh straight national lacrosse championship by defeating Army 16-7, and it did it just the way it has since 1960—by being irreverent, by being boys at play, by being Willis P. Bilderback and His Merrie Men.
Navy won with an overpowering display of strength, depth and tactics, and could hardly have looked more natural doing it. “This just isn’t a normal Academy athletic team,” says Navy’s captain, Owen McFadden. “There is something different about playing lacrosse for Navy.” There certainly seems to be.
When Wayne Hardin’s Navy football teams used to play Army, he would drive the Cadets to distraction with slogans on helmets or other such gimmicks. The lacrosse Midshipmen were up to their own brand of that kind of thing last week as they came to West Point with a national championship at stake. All of them wore Ugly Stickers on their helmets. Ugly Stickers, pictures of terrible monsters, are a whole lot more camp than Wayne Hardin‘s ideas, being obtained for 5 in a bubble-gum pack. And what this country needs is a good 5 Ugly Sticker.
None of this is to suggest that the Navy lacrosse players are some kind of undisciplined crew of athletic bums. It is just that there is more of Mr. Roberts than Horatio Hornblower in them. They are good students and neat, but also very dedicated athletes. Attackman Jimmy Lewis (SI, May 30), who may be the best lacrosse player of this era, was so keyed up about the Army game that he did not even bother to check his grades. “If I fail anything, they’ll let me know,” Lewis said.
The personality of this unusual team can be credited in large part to its coach, Bill Bilderback, and his assistants. The dual Navy lacrosse traditions of winning and laughing both stem from Bilderback. A little, unassuming man, his baggy pants are forever slung too low, enveloping his shoes as he shuffles up and down the sidelines. Yet, with the abdication of Red Auerbach of the Boston Celtics, Bilderback‘s seven straight championships is the current record in major athletics. Bilderback did not get a chance to become a head coach until he was 49. Now, at 57, he is the most successful one around. “Bildy’s the only guy I know who’s nice and a winner, too,” Navy Midfielder Howie Crisp said one day.
But Bilderback‘s congeniality is merely a front for his diligence. Scouting Army early this season, he caught pneumonia. He retreated to bed with a high temperature immediately after Navy beat Johns Hopkins, but was up watching game movies a few hours later.
Bilderback has a whole phalanx of assistants who help him with everything, including morale. The senior two of them, Lou (Buster) Phipps and Tommy Dorsey, set the pace for things on the way up to West Point. To loosen up the players at a Howard Johnson‘s stopover, Phipps and Dorsey exploded firecrackers and burned capsules that turn into foul-smelling “snakes.” They also loosened up the other customers. Phipps then donned a Batman helmet, and the team continued north.
The Midshipmen went into Saturday’s game with only a 12-11 loss to the Mount Washington Lacrosse Club marring their record. When Army later beat Mount Washington, hopes were raised that Navy could be upset by Army. Certainly, no one expected the rout that ensued. “It did not even seem like an Army-Navy game,” Lewis said later. “It was so easy.”
The Navy attack, headed by Lewis and McFadden, is one of the strongest in years, and Army decided to gear its defensive game to stopping it. To do so, Coach Jim (Ace) Adams had his defense pick up and pressure the Navy attack-men far out from the goal. Lewis particularly was subject to tight guarding, practically from midfield. By spreading the Navy attack, however, Army also spread its defense through the middle, which any general knows is dangerous.
Jimmy Lewis set the pattern for the game within the first three minutes. Navy was short a man because of a penalty, and Lewis was trying to freeze the ball. Nonetheless, Army double-teamed him. Lewis saw Midfielder Phil Norton breaking free through the middle some 30 yards away. He hit Norton with a pass, who in turn fed McFadden for a score. The weakness in the Army middle had been spotted, and Navy took advantage of it. McFadden’s goal was the only one scored by a Navy attackman until well into the third period. Indeed, the attack shot only five times in the first half, while the midfield was making six goals on nine shots. Lewis himself did not even maneuver into shooting position until Navy was leading 11-3. In all, Navy midfielders scored 11 times, led by sophomore John McIntosh with three goals.
It was ironic that the Navy midfield played such a significant role, for it was Army’s first midfield that was rated as the best in the country. Headed by Captain Frank Kobes, a nine-letter man at West Point, it was the element of the Army team that Bilderback feared most. As it was, Navy simply wore out Army’s best. Navy had used five different mid-fields by early in the second half.
“Teams come to scout us,” says the Rev. Mr. James Lewis, a former All-America and now the resident Friar Tuck on Bilderback‘s staff, “and they write down all the names very carefully. Then, when we play them, all of a sudden we’re running in a new bunch from somewhere.” McIntosh is typical of this. He had scored only two goals prior to the Army game.
McIntosh was cutting a huge devil’s food cake in the locker room after the game. Actually, his birthday was the previous week, but, he said: “I was restricted. I was a bad boy. I threw a firecracker into some guy’s room.”
It is tough to beat the Navy at lacrosse. They have Bilderback, they drink beer after devil’s food cake, they throw firecrackers, and they come through your middle with Ugly Stickers.
Lacrosse In The 1960’s: Navy Lacrosse Attackman Jimmy Lewis of New York Was “Hailed As The Game’s Best Player”, Even In Maryland (Sports Illustrated, May 30, 1966)
Nothing in the Free State is so highly esteemed as National Beer, though the game of lacrosse is just as indigenous, and it is the state sport now that slot machines are being phased out. Lacrosse has always been the showcase for the flower of Maryland manhood. So it comes as a considerable shock to discover that all around the state, wherever fans fight for the privilege of buying another National—from Steinwassers’ over the bridge in Mount Washington on down to Annapolis and the Red Coach—the lacrosse talk concerns that kid from Uniondale on Long Island: Midshipman James Lewis, attackman on the champion Navy team.
Only one other out-of-state lacrosse star has ever been granted such acclaim in Maryland, and that was Jimmy Brown. Like Brown—but for entirely different reasons—Lewis will never be able to play lacrosse again once he graduates this June. Thus something of a sense of urgency has been created. With the end of his career approaching, there is a rush to assess Lewis before he is really gone—out of the game and off to flying Navy jets.
The Baltimore Sunpapers, beacon of Maryland thought, capped the discussions with a cover story on Lewis in a recent Sunday Sun supplement. It was headlined GREATEST LIVING LACROSSEMAN. Indeed, there seems to be no argument left against the claim that Lewis is the best player of his era. Neither is there any contemporary award left for him. In both his sophomore and junior years he was not only an All-America, but winner of the Turnbull Trophy, which is presented to the nation’s best attackman (actually, the best attackman to play on Maryland soil). At graduation ceremonies next month he will be awarded the Naval Academy Athletic Association sword for excellence, as the best athlete at the academy.
By now, in fact, only the memories of a few stars from the past can be invoked for purposes of comparison. These include Bobby Poole, an attackman with St. John’s of Annapolis in the early ’30s; Jack Turnbull, who played at Johns Hopkins and on the Mount Washington Lacrosse Club in the same decade; and Billy Hooper, a Baltimorean who strayed to the University of Virginia and then returned to finish his career at Mount Washington. Hooper retired in 1955. Jimmy Brown was the only other player usually ranked with this group, until Lewis appeared. But Brown played lacrosse for only a few years—when he was at Syracuse—and, as Dinty Moore, the president of the Lacrosse Hall of Fame, points out, there are certain intricacies of the game that even an athlete like Brown could not master in such a short period. Lewis, on the other hand, does everything well. If he could play club lacrosse for a few years, merely to polish his skills with experience and to display them longer, he would remove all doubt that he has never had a peer on the lacrosse field. “If Jimmy played for Mount Washington,” Lewis’ coach, Bill Bilderback, says, “there just wouldn’t be any sense going to the games. He’s that good.”
Lewis was so outstanding in high school that Uniondale Coach Terry McDonald had to take him out of most games early in order to keep from running up scores. At the same time, he was so small that no college coach was really interested in him, except Bilderback, who had been lucky enough to see Lewis in action as captain of his county’s champion basketball team. “You could see then how really strong he was,” Bilderback says, “particularly in the arms and shoulders.”
Stockier now, Lewis is still only 5 feet 9 and seldom reaches his program weight of 160. “In high school I was really, really small,” he says. “Now I’m just small.” Lewis got into the academy as an alternate, the hasty appointment of a Mississippi Congressman, since New York‘s representatives had their slates filled. (Jimmy continues to get letters from one New York Congressman asking him if he is still interested in applying to Annapolis.)
Despite his size, Lewis has managed to stay quite whole in combat against the big boys of lacrosse. This year, however, he is lucky to be alive and able to go out on the field and get banged around. Last Christmas, after a ski trip to Vermont (where he spent much of the time posing upside down in the snow or wrapped around trees for pictures that he sent to an unamused Bilderback), Lewis returned home for a few days on his way back to school. On New Year’s night, as he and a friend were getting into Jimmy’s car in neighboring Garden City on Long Island, a gang of thugs jumped Lewis’ buddy. Jimmy started to rush around the car to help when, from behind, another mugger appeared and clouted him over the head with an unknown object. Jimmy never knew what hit him.
Lewis estimates he was out “only about 20 seconds,” but when he did come to, he promptly drove the car home himself, called a cheerful “hi” to his father and went up to bed without a word, so as not to “bother” his parents. He washed the blood off the back of his head, but most of the night he was up vomiting and his head continued to shimmy. Today, months later, he still has a constant ringing in his ears.
“When I talk about what happened,” he says, “well—I guess it’s all psychological—I start thinking about it. Otherwise, a lot of the time, even though the ringing is always there, I just sort of get used to it. That’s what happens when I’m playing. Anyway, the doctor says all the side effects should be gone in a couple of months.”
It was not until he reached Annapolis the evening following the mugging that Lewis saw a doctor. He immediately was rushed to Bethesda Naval Hospital, where initial tests indicated traces of blood in his spinal fluid. “I found out,” Lewis reports somberly, “that if ever you get a blow on the head and then you start throwing up that is very serious.”
The spinal taps were never so worrisome again, however, and the final diagnosis was a suborbital hematoma, which kept Lewis in Bethesda for five days. When he finally talked his way out he had lost 17 pounds. Then he spent two more weeks in the academy’s sick bay. Still weak and tending to dizziness, he did poorly on midyear exams, his grades falling from Bs to Cs. It also was several weeks after practice began in March before he was really himself on the lacrosse field. But he has his grades back up to the Bs now and seems fully recovered, except for the ringing.
“I guess about the only thing Jimmy does wrong is get hit on the head,” Bilderback says, smiling, sort of. That has also happened in games, since Lewis is the target of all defenses and is repeatedly knocked down. Most of the defensemen who guard him outweigh Lewis by at least 40 pounds, and everybody else near him gangs up as soon as he gets the ball. Also, playing soccer last year, Lewis got bowled over in a melee when a free kick bounced back. Thereupon someone summarily kicked him square in the head while aiming at the ball alongside.
Lewis became a soccer standout after taking up the game as a plebe solely to win a seat at a training table. (Plebes who are not at training tables are subject to some interesting diversions.) He made the starting soccer team as a sophomore, even though he never became very adept at the tricky art of kicking with accuracy. With his speed and agility, however, he was always a threat. And, as in lacrosse, he was best under pressure. Six of his 15 goals came in six NCAA championship games. As a junior, in the finals against Michigan State he took a pass over midfield, dribbled the ball clear and headed in on the goalie. “I kept thinking,” he remembers, ” ‘Oh, no, I’m going to do it again. I can’t kick the thing. I know what to do, and I can’t kick it.’ ” Finally, about 12 yards out, he pulled up and booted it solidly into the corner of the net, just about where most of his lacrosse shots go. It was the only score in the game, and Navy won its first soccer championship. In his three varsity years Lewis has played in about 50 soccer and lacrosse games. Navy lost exactly two of these.
Lewis’ only defeat in lacrosse came this April in a game with Mount Washington, the perennial club champions. The Mounties have numerous former All-Americas on their roster, and few college teams can even stay on the same field with them. But in recent years Navy has been so good that it not only has dominated the collegiate field, but has been the best lacrosse team of any class. Since the start of the 1960 season, the Middies have lost only six games—three to Mount Washington, one to the Baltimore Lacrosse Club and two to Army—and have won six straight NCAA championships. An expected win at West Point on June 4—in Lewis’ last regular game—would make it seven in a row, a string unprecedented in lacrosse and topped in all collegiate sport only by Southern California‘s nine consecutive track titles from 1935 to 1943 and Yale‘s nine in golf from 1905 to 1913.
Bilderback has achieved this record through innovations. He has, for instance, employed football players to the utmost advantage—usually as tough defensemen who have little need for the niceties of stickhandling. One group was called The Bumper Cars. They just ran over people and stomped on them. Navy teams have depth and stamina and enough strength to overpower the traditional Maryland-stocked quick, slick teams, of which Johns Hopkins is the prototype.
In Navy’s recent game with Hopkins the Middies took a 9-0 lead, with Lewis scoring twice, and it looked like a clear runaway. But in the third period Hopkins rallied and scored five straight goals. During this spell the Blue Jay fans started singing the school fight song, which does not happen often at intellectual Hopkins. The prospect of beating the national champion kept the fight song ringing for 10 minutes.
But when Navy gets into trouble Lewis usually comes to the rescue. He stopped the Hopkins surge with his third goal just before the end of the third period and added a fourth in the final period. In Lewis’ first scoring attempt of the game the Hopkins goalie made a fine stop, but that only served to inspire Lewis to greater effort. Seconds later he darted from behind the goal, beat his defenseman to position and made the score 1-0. In the same period he assisted in Navy’s second goal and scored the third on a high backhander less than a minute later.
His final goal was a remarkable over-the-head shot at a time when his defenseman was sure he had Lewis well covered. It was his top scoring day of the season, and Navy won 12-7. Said Hopkins Coach Bobby Scott, “Every-time Lewis had the ball he was a threat to score. He could have had six or seven goals, except that our goalie made some brilliant saves.”
Bilderback has gathered a Navy staff of football-like proportions, one that even includes special coaches for face-offs and extra-man situations. He has so many assistants it is not too surprising that one of them turns out to be named Jimmy Lewis, only this Jimmy Lewis is an Episcopal priest who was an All-America goalie for Washington and Lee. Bilderback was the first Maryland coach to recruit heavily on Long Island. This has brought him not only good players, but players of a different breed, and many observers consider that even more significant. In the Baltimore area kids start fooling around with sticks when they are only 7 or 8. At that stage they are not ready for the rugged contact the sport allows, so they concentrate on the showy stickhandling maneuvers. Long Island players, on the other hand, seldom pick up a stick until they reach high school. By then, stronger and more mature, they are thrown into action before they have time to develop fancy stickwork. Consequently, they come to depend on power more than guile. When such players are combined with the big Navy football men, power takes over. The University of Maryland‘s entire first attack this year is from Long Island, and even Johns Hopkins has begun to recruit in New York.
Essentially, what makes Jimmy Lewis so good is that he blends the best of the Maryland and New York styles. He is as tricky, and moves the stick as well, as any young man brought up on Powerhouses at Ameche’s. And he is a master of the Long Island techniques. “He releases the ball faster than anyone I ever saw,” says Bilderback. “His change of direction is such,” says Bobby Scott, “that he can dodge his man almost whenever he wants to.”
Lewis has also created his own style, one that is certain to be emulated. Frank Riggs, a former football co-captain at the University of North Carolina, guarded Lewis in the Navy-Mount Washington game. Lewis made two goals and had three assists, but Riggs still was credited with an outstanding defensive job. “He’s definitely different from any other little attackman I’ve ever played,” says Riggs. “Most of them just dodge and dart. They roll and give you the back most of the time. The one-on-one is more like it is in basketball. But not Lewis. He comes right at you. He makes it like a football situation, the defensive back against the offensive end. He holds the stick absolutely perpendicular to the ground. I’ve never seen anyone else do that. I don’t see how he keeps the ball in there. Then he’ll get up a full head of steam and come at you and pull that stick right across his face, right in front of you, teasing you. You can almost hear him saying, ‘O.K., big boy, I’m coming at you.’ And if you take the bait, if you commit, he’ll come right past you. It’s a great thing. I told George Boynton, who’s an attackman on our team—built about the same way Lewis is—and he tried it a couple of times and really had some success with it. But it’s a new thing and hard to learn if you’ve always been doing something else.”
The Long Island in Lewis makes him a perfect lead for the rough Navy team. The attack is geared to him, with most plays starting with Lewis in his outside left position. Generally his teammates will clear out and let him work one-on-one. But since it is impossible to contain him in this situation, at least one member of the opposition backs up on him to assist the defenseman assigned to guard Lewis.
“Of all his assets,” says Gene Corrigan, the University of Virginia coach, “I’ll take his toughness. They knock him down. They ride him. But he gets up. When Navy brings the ball downfield they give it to Lewis. When he loses it, 98% of the time he gets it right back. That’s when he’ll catch the defense off balance and come up with the really great play.”
When Navy moves on the attack Lewis—feinting and faking—waits for the ball to move downfield. Suddenly, as it nears him, another buzz drowns out the buzzing in his ears. This is from the midshipmen—a singular, high-pitched, excited hum, as if the brigade had seen Tecumseh himself get down from his pedestal in front of Bancroft Hall and pick up a lacrosse stick.
In his three years at Navy, Lewis has made 74 goals and 84 assists in 31 games, but the statistics are meaningless because the Navy powerhouse has outclassed the opposition in many games and Lewis has been content just to feed off to his teammates. He has to be followed closely at all times, though, for he gives little indication of an impending shot or pass, and he is made even more deceptive by the fact that he shoots equally well left- or right-handed. “Louie, Loo-oo-ee, Loo-oo-ee-ee,” the Middies roar when he starts his move, and when he passes it off they wait for him to get the ball back, not really content until he has fed for a score or blasted his own quick rocket into the nets.
Only football surpasses lacrosse in popularity at Annapolis, so over the last decade only Joe Bellino and Roger Staubach have been more acclaimed than Lewis. He wears his celebrity well, proud that the system permits him no favors. “You just think,” he says. “The Saturday morning of any game I’m still up at 6:15 and out on that river after breakfast till 10 in those little boats.” He has grown from a shy “youngster” (which is the Annapolis term for sophomore) into a self-assured first classman who is honestly aware of his great talent. “You could see Lewis’ confidence increase year by year,” says Coach Scott of Hopkins.
“But he’s a cocky little devil,” Riggs says. “Of course, he’s got all the right to be. After he’s gone by you a couple of times and left you standing there looking silly, he’ll give you the little looks, sort of disdainful, like he can do it again anytime he wants to. It has to unnerve you a little. Then the day after our game I understand he came right out and did tell someone that he could go around me anytime he wanted to.”
Lewis is now preparing for his departure from athletics. “It’s been fun,” he says. “Athletics to me is a good time. I like to play. So it’s a void I’ll have to fill. I just bought some golf clubs. Pretty good buy—$35, a secondhand set. I really don’t know how much I’ll miss sports. I saw Dennis Wedekind—he was our goalie last year—I saw him the other day and he told me, ‘You’ll miss it.’ Well, I don’t know. Maybe I will. I don’t know. But I am finished. I bought the golf clubs.”
After some temporary summer duty Lewis will report to Pensacola in September to begin flight training that will probably stretch out to two years. This is his choice, not an assignment. Only after this training ends does his four-year obligation begin. He doesn’t wave the flag or drum out Anchors Aweigh on the tablecloth, but Jimmy Lewis is going to be a Navy man.
Maybe that is why there seems to be less regret in his own mind than in the minds of the lacrosse fans who will miss him. But he has made his decision. “I saw some figures,” he says. “Over a 20-year period one Navy pilot is killed for every 3.87 that make it. That’s not a very good ratio. [Well-timed pause.] I didn’t find that out till after I signed up.”
And maybe that is why he is so casual about his near-fatal mugging. That same week, somewhere over Vietnam, Lieut. Don MacLaughlin and Lieut. John Prudhomme were shot down with their planes. Both had played lacrosse at the academy. As a plebe, Jimmy sat at the training table with MacLaughlin.
“Some people,” Jimmy Lewis says, “want me to get all excited because there’s some talk that Jack Heim at Maryland is a better attackman than I am. Am I supposed to worry about that? A few months from now I’ll be down in Florida, and you can see me standing up and saying, ‘Hey, I’m the best attackman in all of Maryland!’ Who do you think is going to care? They’ll just tell me, ‘Hey, buddy, get out of the room.’ Worrying about that sort of thing is silly.”
Heroes In Athletics: Cal Rugby Lacrosse Alumnus Mark Bingham Honored Cal Berkeley Rugby And America By Defending The United States On 9/11 Aboard Flight 93 (Video)
“Excellence in Achievement by a Young Alumnus. This award pays tribute to Mark Bingham ’93, who died September 11, 2001, defending the United States on United Airlines Flight 93”
United Airlines Flight 93
Mark Bingham (1970-2001), the chief executive officer of The Bingham Group, a public relations firm. Tall and athletic, he started playing rugby as a teenager and continued in college at the University of California, Berkeley. Even after graduating in 1993, Bingham pursued his love of the game, joining the San Francisco Fog, a gay rugby team. Along with sports, he was interested in politics and had served as a volunteer on Senator John McCain’s 2000 bid for the Republican presidential nomination. A self-made success story, Bingham founded his own company, which had offices in New York and San Francisco. It was a business trip that led Bingham to take United Airlines Flight 93. After the plane was hijacked, he called his mother, Alice Hoglan, and his aunt, Kathy, to let them know what happened and that he loved them. It is believed that Bingham participated in the effort to stop the terrorists along with several other passengers. Despite their efforts, they were unable to gain control of the plane, but they did stop the terrorists from using it as a weapon. The plane crashed outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. He has been remembered by friends and family as a hero, a leader, and a friendly, caring person.