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Black History Month: Dr Fred Opie on Ed Howard

Some years back, I came across an article written by Professor Dr. Fred Opie (Dr. Frederick Douglass Opie) and it piqued my interest since the subject was about a member of the Hobart Lacrosse team when I was there.

I gave Dr. Opie a call and we talked about the player and some other things related to lacrosse back then. Dr. Opie has moved on to Babson College in Massachusetts and his Bio is:

Dr. Frederick Douglass Opie is a Babson Professor of History and Foodways, the author of articles, books, a food history blog, and the Producer/Host of the Fred Opie Show. Fred is also the Host/Producer of the Online Teaching Survival Guide: A 7-Part Audio Series. Fred’s work examines history through the lens of food and he use history to positively impact the future. Fred’s secret sauce his sharing the stupid tax he has paid so others can learn from his failures. For more visit his website @

Dr. Opie had written the first of a series of articles about Ed Howard, who had died the day before he wrote the first one. I believe Ed was class of 1979, preceding me by two years. My memories of Ed (we did not run in the same circles) was entirely lacrosse-related, and I never forgot him, as I felt he was the best defensemen I had seen, among a group of pretty darn good long poles for a Hobart team that was a wrecking machine my freshman and sophomore years. When you see the links to these articles, you’ll see Ed was quite an influence on Dr. Opie at the time; as much as a person as a lacrosse player.

The poster referenced in the first article was one I remembered fondly, along with Ed’s amazing ability to finish over-the-head checks with possession changes. Another amazing memory to me was watching Ed close out on a step-down sidearm shot, where the shooter’s follow-through caught Ed full on the throat. Ed spent about 3 seconds shaking it off, and I thought how tough he must be to do that.

To put Ed, and Hobart’s success back then, here’s the caption of one of the pictures in Dr. Opie’s writings:

“Ed Howard covering Syracuse’s Tim O’Hara, a 2nd Team All-American selection in 1979. In Howard’s playing days the Statesmen dominated the Orange 24 – 8 in 1977, 15 – 9 in 1978, and 16-4 in 1979. Not an easy bit of history for this historian and SU lacrosse alum to write about. The scores above are representative of three years of good old fashioned butt whoopings! It was during this era that upstate teams, Cornell and Hobart, dominated college lacrosse. “

I was fortunate to witness all 3 of those, including standing on the sidelines for the 1979 game. The Orange finally broke a SEVEN-YEAR losing streak to Hobart in 1980, in a game with an ENORMOUS crowd in Geneva. On an amazing team in 1977, with legends like Terry Corcoran, Rick Blick, Dave McNaney and Jim Calder, among others, Ed stood out to me, probably because of how often he would shut down an attackman.

I hope you enjoy reading about Ed the way I enjoyed watching him play. Thank you to Dr. Opie for chronicling Ed’s career, achievements and influence, on the sport and on Dr. Opie!

The link to the series is HERE

Dr. Opie, forgive me for stealing the pictures for the article! Let me know if I have to credit someone.