by Bill Le Mon
At our 2004 Hall of Fame Induction Dinner, we paid homage to the many Native Americans who gave birth to The Game, nurtured it through the centuries, and produced modem teams such as the Onondaga Athletic Club which existed from 1949 to 1954 and never tasted defeat.
Tonight we salute another group comprised of true lacrosse pioneers, the Syracuse Lacrosse Club. This was more than a team, although the SLC did play in club competitions for several years. This was an organization dedicated to growing The Game in Central New York.
It all started with a short newspaper article by Herald Journal Sports Editor Amie Burdick, one of the great fans of lacrosse. Arnie’s article gave notice of a meeting of interested lacrosse people – former players, officials, and fans. The 1957 meeting was an overwhelming success and lacrosse people attended and pledged their support. It was the start of the scholastic lacrosse movement in our community.
The late Lew Ryan wrote the original charter which addressed many phases of organization. Al Longley, Bob Sager, and Larry Abbott were on hand at that meeting at the University Club. So were Bill Rotunno, Joe Caldwell, and Bob Severance who became the first assignor of officials. Frank Fiore, Bob Durland, Bud and Bert Hallock, Russ Sawyer, Doc Striker, Roy Simmons, Ray Hurd, Phil Natoli, Dave Stewart, and Sam Chase were among the founding fathers of the SLC.
News of the organization spread like wildfire, and soon club members began making the rounds of athletic directors’ offices. They poured on huge doses of enthusiasm as they answered the ADs’ questions. Commitments to start-up programs started rolling in, and high school lacrosse was becoming a reality.
Many members of the original SLC went on to be outstanding coaches and officials of Central New York lacrosse. Included in that group were: Roy Simmons, Jr., Oren Lyons, Bob Durland, Mike Messere, Tom Hall, Pat Corcoran, Ray Hurd, Jake Curran, Walt Munze, Bob Sager, Larry Abbott, Clark Mercer, and Eli Cornelius. All are Hall of Fame Members.
We all know how lacrosse grew to where our community is the hotbed of The Game on every level. And to think it all started with a newspaper notice inviting lacrosse people to a meeting. Thanks, Arnie!
Welcome to the website of the Upstate Lacrosse Foundation. Created in November 2018, the Foundation is a 501c3 organization with the primary focus on celebrating and supporting the rich lacrosse history of Central New York and the Southern Tier.
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