October reunion and alumni game celebrate 60 years of OWU lacrosse

Pete Lee ’65 scores on Patrick Kennedy ’03 in the alumni vs. alumni game Oct. 6, on what Lee called a “beautiful feed” by John Narwicz ’77. (Photo by John Karassick ’68)

Before lacrosse alumni from the past 60 years met for a reunion dinner over Homecoming & Family Weekend, a game had to be played. Coach Mike Plantholt helped assemble the Red and Black teams from across the decades to ensure a range of fresh knees among the sides. They took to the Henry Street lacrosse practice field around noon on Saturday, Oct. 6, for a game that ended 5-3 or 5-4 (the final score was beside the point — alumni won).

More than 100 alumni and friends of the program attended the evening’s reunion, along with current players. “Their attendance is a testament to the enduring affection for the program held by so many,” said Plantholt.

The gathering was the result of more than a year’s planning by Alumni Relations staff with the extensive help of Pete Lee ’65, who tears up when he talks about OWU lacrosse. “It means the world to me,” he says. “It’s a huge part of my life.”

Bill Ackerman ’58 was one of two inaugural team members who made it to the reunion. He recalled the unorthodox search for the program’s first coach: “First they asked who had coached before and nobody had done that. Then they asked who had played before, and no one had done that. Then who has seen a game, and Fred (Myers) raised his hand and that was it.”

Lacrosse Legends

(From left) Charles “Chikk” Myers ’73, son of inaugural coach Fred Myers; original team member Russell “Buzz” Wilson ’59; the “first lady of OWU lacrosse” Sylvia Willoughby Myers ’69; original team member Bill Ackerman ’58; and Pete Lee ’65 were among the more than 100 former and current players and friends who returned for the reunion dinner.

Andrew Stringer ’73, who has stayed on the field as a college referee and as a high school coach for his son, was unable to attend the 60th reunion but reflected on his experiences of playing in OWU’s “lacrosse legends” games.

“I remember playing eight games in three days in the Florida Classic one year and actually chewing Advil on the sidelines before each game. I remember (former coach Rich) Seiler in one game in Lake Placid when we were tied with barely a minute left calling a timeout (mostly so we could catch our breath) and asking me if I could beat my defender for the last play. Naturally, I said ‘Sure….’ I take the ball, the whistle blows, I make seven or eight moves on my guy and realize when I Iook at the goal that I have not even moved. Needless to say, we did not win that game.”

The next tournament is Jan. 18-21, 2019, in Weston, Florida. The Florida Lacrosse Classic features divisions for ages 40 and up. Pete Lee and Steve Corrigan ’74 are always looking for recruits. Contact them at owu.legends@gmail.com.

By Molly Vogel

Return to the Winter 2019 OWU Magazine