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Richie Moran Passes at 85 – A Hobart Grad’s Remembrance

photo by Mark H. Anbinder,

My first time actually hearing Richie Moran in person was in 1979. My buddy Bob and I had just filmed the 1979 game at Boswell Field and Cornell had come away with the 8-5 win, in one of those upstate NY days in late winter/early spring where it was about 40 degrees and a steady rain . . . the type of day that was not easy to get through before the modern clothing materials were easily available.

We had to carry the recording device down the stairs and get it set up in the locker room as the team filtered back into it after the game.

After setting it up, we left the locker room and found ourselves in a media crowd around Richie Moran, the Cornell Head Coach who was holding court after their win. The first thing I heard was him going on about the crowd of about 3,000, and he gushed about how they had sat through the weather and how he’d ‘love to take them with him on the road’.

It was a really nice thing to say, but as a college kid, it seemed pretty easy to me for him to be magnanimous at that time. Of course, as I got older, I truly understood what he was getting at.

For those who remember Ernie Banks, he was one of the great ambassadors in baseball history, the initiator of the phrase ‘It’s a great day to play two’ . . . his love of baseball being so great that the only thing better than playing a game was playing two in the same day.

Richie Moran was the lacrosse equivalent. He was our Dick Vitale. There was not a day that he didn’t want to see a game if he could.

When we were fortunate enough to host Hobart-Cornell at Oxbridge some years back, Chris Kane (one of his greatest players and a long-time referee down here) had brought Richie to the game. With all the duties I had that day I was thrilled to see him there and immediately asked if he would be part of the broadcast after the game had ended, and Chris brought him up to the booth.

After my recap of the game (we were live for all three games) I only had to ask him a few questions and then stand there and listen. One stereotype is that of the ‘loquacious Irishman’ and he proved that one true that day. What an interview!

In 2017, Richie wrote his autobiography, “It’s Great To Be Here”. It is a heck of a read, and it gives today’s kids great insight into what lacrosse had to go through as the sport grew back then. Pay attention to what Cornell had to do to practice in the early years and try not to laugh.

In 2017, I attended LaxCon in Baltimore and when you went down the escalator at the Convention Center the first thing you saw was a table with Richie selling and signing his book. It was about two years or so since I had interviewed him, and I didn’t think he’d remember me.

I went up to say hello and buy the book and was stunned when he said “Hi Lee” . . . never did I feel he would remember me after meeting me one time. We talked a little and then he bestowed on me the equivalent of a lacrosse blessing . . .

I get a lot of parents, players and coaches who see me at a game or talk over the phone and I get thanked for what I am doing, and I really appreciate it.

But this was extra-special . . .

I still get a little choked up looking at this page.

Over the years I would see Chris and would ask how Richie was doing, since Chris, like so many of Richie’s former players, had kept in touch. The last year or so Chris would give a hint of oncoming health issues and so on.

And today, we all know we’ve lost someone very special in the lacrosse community.

Condolences to his wife Pat, his children and grandchildren and to the Cornell community.

I still get up big for the annual tussle with the Big Red, but it isn’t quite the same feeling it was before that Cornell-Hobart game at Oxbridge. Richie had that effect on pretty much anyone who came in touch with him.

RIP Richie.

LR – Hobart ’80