Monday, June 25, 2012

"Once I got my stick skills together I was dangerous thereafter,” Hobart's Ed Howard Part 2

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. 
Speaking of his first year on Hobart’s varsity men’s lacrosse team, Ed Howard (Hobart 79) says, coach Urick “always had me cover the best incoming rookies, during practice” which really helped develop his game. Ed took to the Hobart defensive scheme under Urick which fit his athleticism well, “pressure was our game” Howard says, “and we had Rick Blick in the goal,” a three time All American and a two time U. S. National Team player. By the way, why hasn’t any Hobart alum or fans nominated Blick to the National Hall Fame? He’s got the credential folks. At the start of Howard’s sophomore year, a starting defenseman for the statesmen failed out of the school just before the team traveled south for spring break workouts and games. During stretching before a scrimmage against Hopkins, Coach Schmidt casually informed Howard that he would be starting. In the first half of the Hopkins game Howard picks up a ground ball and goes coast to coast and scores a goal. He would go on to start the rest of that year and scored another goal in Hobart’s National Championship victory over Washington College the same year. But he did a lot more than score goals. “From the time I became a starter as a sophomore, I was always assigned the opposition’s best offensive player. I took pride in that challenge and was very effective (more times than not) in shutting down/ or neutralizing the very top offensive players in the game during my era,” Howard recalls. “We had a lot of athletes on our teams over the years,” says Dave Urick, “but Ed he had something extra, he was really smooth and developed some nice takeaway checks.” The summer between his sophomore and junior year Howard spent hours working on his stick skills in a handball court back in Buffalo. “I grew up in the inner city, and black folks on the corner use to call me ‘college boy,’” recalls Howard. He worked on his stick work for hours during a time when black folks in the city of Buffalo had never heard of the game. “I had a great work ethic” and focused on becoming a complete player with a right and left hand that summer. It was like, “I went from blurred vision to 20-20 once I got my stick skills together.” He says, “I was dangerous thereafter.” More on the final two years of Ed’s career at Hobart over the remaining days of Black history month.

My Series on Hobart All American Ed Howard:

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