Monday, August 13, 2012

Syracuse Lacrosse Community Mourns the Lost of John Schimoler (1962-2012)

Reunion of the 1983 Syracuse Championship Team at the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four in 2008  Above of #21 Paul Schimoler from top to bottom in 1984 and 1983. (photos courtesy of Derek Maltz)
My former Syracuse University (SU) lacrosse teammate John Schimoler (Class of 1985) died unexpectedly in his sleep at his home in Anne Arundel, Maryland on Sunday August 12, 2012. He had a fever and upset stomach the night before but the cause of death his yet undetermined.  Born in 1962, Schimoler grew up in Glen Head, New York in Nassau County, Long Island. “Schimolls” as his friends and teammates called him, was a 1981 graduate of St. Mary's high school in Manhasset where he was captain of the lacrosse team his senior year. He entered Syracuse as a member of a talented freshman class which included Fred Cambria, Brad Kotz (National Hall of Fame), Frank Lanuto, Derek Maltz, Emmett Printup, and Eric Jeschke. Kotz and Schimoler remained roommates during their four years at SU. Tim Nelson (National Hall of Fame) would transfer into that same class from North Carolina State (NC State) after that ACC school disbanded its lacrosse program following Nelson’s freshmen season. As a freshmen in1982 Nelson led the country in assist. “I'll never forget how nice he was to me when I arrived at Syracuse” says Nelson.  It wasn't until August of 1982 that I knew I was going to Syracuse and had no idea where I was going to live . . .  the coaches brought me to the Sky Top apartments and I was told that I would be sharing a room with John Schimoler.” He adds, “John had no idea who I was but he unselfishly gave up his privacy to allow me to have a bed in his room and we laughed for the rest of the year!” Nelson says, “That's the type of guy John was, easy going and a friend to all.” A member of the second midfield in his sophomore year Schimoler contributed 12 goals and two assists when SU won its first national championship in 1983. Teammate Derek Maltz (his son is currently a starting SU attackmen), recalls that Schimoler a 6-2 190 pound midfielder “pushed members of the first midfield to be better players during practice” Kotz, recalled that “John’s nickname was Mr. P” because he enjoyed practice as much as games. He was a teammate that kept the team in rolling in laughter and therefore loose and relaxed because of "his ability to find humor in just about everything" says Eric Jeschke who ran on second midfield with Schimoler in 1984. Teammate Christ Burt, who like me arrived at SU in 1983, insist that Schimolls "was one of the funniest men I have ever" known.  I transferred to SU from Herkimer in the fall of 1983 and played two seasons together with John sharing locker rooms, icy cold world pool after practices and games, and lots of meals.  We talked regularly on those bus rides to and from class and away games. We also shared the agony of defeat losing three games between 1984 and 1985: two national championships and one regular season game all against John Hopkins. John's younger brother Paul was a standout goalie at St. Mary’s High School, Cornell, and the US national team. “John was extremely proud of Paul's accomplishments,” says Kotz, and played a role in helping Paul to develop into one of the best goalies of his era. “John would tell me stories about how they spent hours in the basement of their Long Island home with John pounding Paul with shots using tennis balls and small makeshift goal. When Paul made the 90 team that went to Australia, John felt like he made it as well” Today Paul Schimoler is the defense coordinator for the Dartmouth College men’s lacrosse team. A marketing major at SU Schimoler married and settled in Anne Arundel, Maryland becoming a committed and devoted husband to wife Jane. John was also a loving father of daughter Heidi (a college undergrad) and son Gunnar (a high school sophomore).  Schimoler worked in the construction industry in the Baltimore and Washington area. Perhaps only locals can testify to how he helped increase the quality of youth lacrosse in Anne Arundel County. His family, friends, and many teammates have too many great memories and funny stories to ever forget him. “John was an incredible friend, husband, father, and guy who loved the game,” said Kotz. "Every year he drove from Maryland to the Canadian boarder with New York to play on a SU alumni team in the over forty bracket and watch his son Gunner play on a U 15 team in the Lake Placid Lacrosse tournament. SU’s Kyle Fetterly wrote upon learning of Schimoler’s passing that he was “too young to go so soon, [and] God’s Speed [to you] John.” In the words of one of the program’s Hall of Fame Coaches, Roy Simmons Jr., Fetterly said one last time to John, “Head, Heart, and Hustle.” 

From the Schimoler Family: "In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the educational fund established for John's children. Please direct to "Schimoler Family"  c/o Ellen Schimoler Kelly, 82 Lewis Point Road, Fair Haven NJ 07704.

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