Dick Pepper is a 1974 graduate of Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, NY where he played Lacrosse for three years. During his junior year, he played on the first Varsity Team in school history which was coached by Walt Munze. Dick continued playing Lacrosse for four years at Siena College in Loudonville, NY for Rusty Ferris.
After college, Dick coached from 1980 to 1987 at East Syracuse-Minoa, Baldwinsville, and CBA in Syracuse. At CBA, Dick was the Head Varsity Coach in 1986 and 1987.
In 1989, Dick began refereeing Lacrosse and went on to officiate at the Youth, High School, College, Club, and International levels. His first International experience was officiating in the World Games in Perth, Australia in 2002.
In 2004 he was picked by Jimmy Carroll and Richie Moran to be the Ireland Head Referee. Mike Kennedy, CEO of Ireland Lacrosse, appointed him to be Director of Referee Training and Development in Ireland and he has done many referee training sessions in Ireland and worked with Phys Ed classes In Irish schools and universities.
Representing Ireland, he refereed in World Games Championship Tournaments in London, Ontario in 2006, Manchester, England in 2010, Turku, Finland in 2012, and Denver, Colorado in 2017. Dick also refereed in two European Championships in Prague, the Czech Republic in 2004, and in Lahti, Finland in 2008. He also officiated in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Ghent, Belgium, and Alanya, Turkey in other tournaments. In 2011 the Police and Fire World Games were held in NYC during the 10th year anniversary of 9/11. He had the opportunity to ref a game between the NYPD and the FDNY that he knew made his grandfather, Jack O’Brien (a retired cop), proud.
Dick was Referee-In-Chief for Celtic Cups in Edinburgh, Scotland (2009), and in Limerick, Ireland (2013). In 2018 he was World Games Deputy Referee-In-Chief in Netanya, Israel, and will be the Referee-In-Chief in Limerick, Ireland for the Under-21 World Games in August 2022.
He has also served as the Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer of the Irish Lacrosse Foundation which is committed to obtaining sticks and equipment for school children in Ireland to help the sport to continue to grow there.
On August 30, 2001, Dick, his wife Susie, and daughter, Sarah (her brother’s twin) lost John Pepper in a car crash. Another West Genesee High School student and friend of John’s, Ryan Schoonmaker, also died in the crash. John was looking forward to his Junior year and trying out for the Varsity after playing 4 years of Lacrosse for the Wildcats and at Shove Park since he was seven years old.
Not too long after his passing, a family friend, Kevin Grome, approached the Pepper family about having a Memorial Lacrosse Tournament to keep the memory of John alive. Kevin assembled a group of volunteers who were, and continue to be, nothing but extraordinary in planning, administering, and fine-tuning the tournament which is still going strong after twenty years. A girl’s tournament was established a few years later which is also a wonderful, successful event. It also runs “like clockwork” and continues to thrive during a separate weekend every summer.
The John Pepper Lacrosse Tournament Committee was inducted into the Camillus/West Genesee Community Sports Hall of Fame in 2019.