Author’s Note: Congratulations to Coach Speckmann for this terrific honor! And please USL, Rick Gilbert next year?
The National Lacrosse Hall of Fame announces the addition of nine new inductees as the Class of 2019, following approval by US Lacrosse’s Board of Directors. The newest members will be officially inducted in a ceremony on Saturday, October 19, at The Grand Lodge in Hunt Valley, Md.
The 2019 inductees are: Ryan Boyle, Charlie Coker, Kara Ariza Cooke, Rachael Becker DeCecco, Sarah Forbes, Cathy Nelson Reese, Matt Striebel, Paul Schimoler, and Richard Speckmann.
Tickets for the 2019 National Lacrosse Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, sponsored by RPS Bollinger and the Markel Insurance Company, will be available to the public for purchase beginning August 1. Tickets will be sold online at uslacrosse.org/HOF.
The National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, a program of US Lacrosse, was established in 1957 to honor men and women who by their deeds as players, coaches, officials and/or contributors, and by the example of their lives, personify the great contribution of lacrosse to our way of life.
The goal of the men’s and women’s selection committees, chaired by Hall of Fame members Vinnie Sombrotto and Jess Wilk, respectively, is to select the absolute best of the best, within the context of an individual’s era of participation. A nine-person ballot committee develops the list of annual nominees, while a 21-member voting committee finalizes the selections.
The voting group is comprised of current Hall of Fame members, current or former U.S. National Team players and coaches, elite level high school or college coaches, elite members of the officiating community, and individuals that have contributed to the growth of the sport on a national or international level. A full explanation of the process can be accessed here.
Over 400 lacrosse greats are honored in the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, which is located alongside the National Lacrosse Museum at the US Lacrosse Headquarters in Sparks, Maryland.
Bios for this year’s inductees are listed below:
Speckmann will be inducted as a truly great coach. One of the most successful junior college coaches ever, he amassed a 477-158-1 record in 40 years at Nassau (N.Y.) Community College. He retired following the 2010 season with a career winning percentage of over 75 percent. Speckmann led Nassau to 20 NJCAA championships during his tenure, qualifying for the four-team finals in 39 of his 40 seasons. He coached over 200 NJCAA All-Americans during his career, and had over 100 players move on to NCAA All-America status. Speckmann was the NJCAA’s national coach of the year six times (1975, 1978, 1982, 1992, 2000, 2008). He also served twice as president of the NJCAA Coaches Association. A native of Oceanside, N.Y., Speckmann is a graduate of SUNY Cortland, where he lettered three times in both lacrosse and football. He has been inducted previously into the US Lacrosse Long Island Metro Chapter Hall of Fame, the SUNY Cortland Hall of Fame, and the IMLCA Hall of Fame.
Boyle will be inducted as a truly great player. He enjoyed an All-American career at Princeton University, earning first team honors as an attackman in 2003 and 2004, second team accolades in 2002, and third team status in 2001. Boyle earned All-Ivy honors three times (2002, 2003, 2004) and was named the Ivy League’s Player of the Year in 2002 and 2004. Princeton captured the Ivy title in each of his four seasons, and won the national championship in 2001. Boyle concluded his career with 70 goals, 162 assists, and 232 career points. He ranks second in Princeton history in assists and third in points. Boyle was a member of the 2002, 2006 and 2010 U.S. Men’s National Teams, winning the gold medal twice. He enjoyed an 11-year professional career in Major League Lacrosse, playing for the Philadelphia Barrage and Boston Cannons. Boyle was selected as the MLL’s Rookie of the Year in 2004, and as All-Pro in 2006. He finished his MLL career as the all-time leader in assists (254) and ranked sixth in points (423). A native of Cockeysville, Md., Boyle was inducted into the US Lacrosse Greater Baltimore Chapter’s Hall of Fame in 2015.
Coker will be inducted as a truly great player. He was a three-time All-American midfielder at Johns Hopkins University, with first team honors in both 1969 and 1970, and honorable mention status in 1968. Coker played on three USILA national championship teams for the Blue Jays (1968, 1969, 1970), and was selected to play in the USILA’s North-South All-Star Game following his senior season in 1970. He finished his career with 53 goals and 21 assists after leading the team in goals (16) and tying for the team-lead in points (28) as a senior. Coker scored a career-high 23 goals and added five assists as a junior and was named to the All-Time Johns Hopkins Team at the end of his career. An accomplished three-sport athlete who also competed on the football and wrestling teams at Hopkins, he was recognized as both the school’s freshman athlete of the year in 1967 and the outstanding senior in 1970. He earned seven varsity letters as a collegiate athlete. He was inducted to the Johns Hopkins Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.
Kara Ariza Cooke
Cooke will be inducted as a truly great player. She was a three-time All-American at the University of Virginia, earning first team honors as a defender in both 1997 and 1998, and second team status in 1996. Cooke helped lead Virginia to the ACC title as a senior in 1998 and was named MVP of the ACC Tournament that year. She earned All-ACC honors in both 1997 & 1998, and was selected to play in the North-South All-Star Game in 1998. In addition, Cooke was selected to ACC’s 50th Anniversary Team in 2002. Cooke was a member of the 2001 and 2005 U.S. World Cup Teams, winning the gold medal in 2001 and the silver in 2005. As a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team Program from 1997-2006, she also played on the U.S. Touring Team against Australia in 2000. She was inducted to the US lacrosse Charlottesville Chapter Hall of Fame in 2015.
Rachael Becker DeCecco
DeCecco will be inducted as a truly great player. She was a three-time, first team All-American defender at Princeton University (2001, 2002, 2003) and named as the recipient of the Tewaawaton Trophy in 2003 as the nation’s most outstanding player. DeCecco helped Princeton win the NCAA championship in 2002 & 2003, and was named MVP of the NCAA Tournament in 2003. She was also the national defender of the year in both 2002 and 2003, and the Ivy League’s player of the year as well as the NCAA’s Honda Award winner for lacrosse in 2003. She was named to the NCAA’s 25th Anniversary Team in 2006. DeCecco was a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team Program from 2003-2008, and played on the U.S. World Cup Team in 2005. She has been previously inducted into the Marple Newtown (Pa.) High School Athletic Hall of Fame (2004) and the US lacrosse Philadelphia/Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter’s Hall of Fame (2014).
Forbes will be inducted as a truly great player. She was a three-time All-American at the University of Maryland, earning first team honors in both 1996 and 1997, and third team honors in 1995. In 1997, Forbes was the national offensive player of the year as well as the ACC’s player of the year, and named winner of the ACC’s Mary Garber Award as its top female athlete. She helped lead the Terps to three straight NCAA titles (1995, 1996, 1997) during her career, as well as the ACC championship in 1997. Forbes was named to the NCAA’s 25th Anniversary Team in 2006. As an international player, Forbes was a member of the Australian World Cup Team four times (1993, 2001, 2005, 2009), helping the Aussies capture the gold medal in 2005, as well as two silver medals and one bronze during her tenure. She earned All-World honors in both 2005 and 2009, and was named tournament MVP in 2005. She also served as team captain for the victorious 2005 World Cup team. Forbes was inducted into the University of Maryland’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012.
Cathy Nelson Reese
Reese will be inducted as a truly great coach. As one of the nation’s most decorated women’s coaches, Reese is a three-time winner of the IWLCA’s national coach of the year award (2010, 2014, 2015) and 10-time conference coach of the year. Through 2018, she has led the University of Maryland to four national championships (2010, 2014, 2015, 2017), 10 final fours, and nine conference championships in the ACC and Big Ten. Including three years as the head coach at University of Denver, Reese had a career record of 279-50 prior to the start of the 2019 season. She ranks as the Terps’ all-time winningest coach, with a 268-22 record at Maryland heading into this weekend’s NCAA national semifinals. Reese has produced seven Tewaaraton Trophy winners and 57 All-Americans. She has been previously inducted into the Howard County (Md.) Women’s Athletic Hall of Fame, the US Lacrosse Potomac Chapter’s Hall of Fame (2009), and the US Lacrosse Greater Baltimore Chapter’s Hall of Fame (2010).
Striebel will be inducted as a truly great player. He was a two-time All-American at Princeton University, splitting time during his career between attack and midfield. Striebel helped the Tigers capture two NCAA championships during his career, winning the title in 1998 and 2001. He was also a part of four Ivy League championships, and earned all-Ivy honors three times (1999, 2000, 2001). Striebel played on three U.S. National Teams, helping to claim world championships in 2002 and 2010, and a runner-up finish in 2006. He also enjoyed a 13-year professional career in Major League Lacrosse, earning all-star honors nine times and All-Pro status in 2007 & 2008. He was a part of three MLL championships, and selected as the Championship Game MVP in 2007. He finished his MLL career with 225 goals, 120 assists, and 355 points, ranking among the top 10 all-time in each category. A product of Gill, Mass., Striebel was inducted into the US Lacrosse Western Massachusetts Chapter Hall of Fame in 2014.
Schimoler will be inducted posthumously as a truly great player. He was a four-time All-American goalie at Cornell University, earning second team honors in 1987, third team status in 1989, and honorable mention recognition in 1986 & 1988. He was the first Big Red player to receive national honors four times. Schimoler also earned all-Ivy League honors four times, including first team status in 1987 & 1989. He was the Ivy League’s player of the year in 1989 and its rookie of the year in 1986. He also helped lead Cornell to the Ivy championship in 1987. At the time of graduation, Schimoler was the NCAA’s all-time leader with 787 career saves. He also set the NCAA Tournament record with 85 saves in 1988. Schimoler enjoyed an eight-year post-collegiate club career, and was the USCLA’s Player of the Year (North) in 1990. Internationally, he played for the U.S. National Team in 1990 and 1994, winning the gold both times. Schimoler passed away from cancer in 2013.