Thursday, December 15, 2016

Remembering Hobart's Ed Howard

In the winter of 1976 Ed Howard had just become the newest of a long list of, what Hobart All American and Associate Head Lacrosse Coach at the University Virginia, Marc Van Arsdale has coined, DNPs—guys who did not play in high school. “I was lucky enough to be a ball boy for a bunch of those Jerry Schmidt/Dave Urick Hobart Teams in the 70's” says Van Arsdale who grow up in Geneva, New York. “There were some ferocious, physical athletes playing defense for Hobart in those days [who] were DNP's—Tom Korn, Tom Moffitt, Bootie Gringeri (all defensive football standouts)—but Ed, once he learned the game, was a more graceful defender,” Van Arsdale recalls. “I remember his great footwork/quickness . . . maybe attributable to his hoops upbringing,” he theorizes. Howard remembers being home in Buffalo on winter break after 6 B team practices when he received phone call for then defensive coordinator Dave Urick tell him that he’s been invited to come to up to varsity. “I am looking out the window and it was a terrible ice storm and here’s coach asking me if I want to join the varsity team on spring break down in North Carolina.” Back in those days Hobart we would play Carolina, NC State, Hopkins, and Navy on spring break. “Looking at the [bitter cold] weather outside it was an easy decision.” Howard remembers telling Urick without hesitation “I am going!” As freshmen Ed played mostly on Hobart’s man down defense. He had no fear of big offensive guns he faced on man down because he had no history on the players and programs he was facing to go on. “I had the advantage,” explains Howard, I was not encumbered” by the reputation All Americans, “plus in basketball and football I was an offensive players” and could anticipate the other guys moves. “I was 6’ 2’’ 200 lbs and ran a sub 4.5, 40- yard dash—I had the advantage in my mind and it didn’t matter who you were to me,” says Howard. Lord willing and the snow doesn’t get to high, we will have more tomorrow on Ed’s first season as a Statesmen.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Hopkins All American and Hall of Famer Mike O'Neil

I had the opportunity to interview Mike O’Neill yesterday. We will be editing that interview and posted it on the Fred Opie show which can be found on sound cloud, stitcher, and iTunes. Most interesting to me had been learning about the lacrosse tradition in his hometown of Massapequa New York.

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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Are You A Helicopter Parent with Your College Age Student Athlete?

Fred Opie goes solo on the topic of parenting college age children.  Opie was a college athlete, coached at the college level, and he is a parent, coach, and a college professor. He shares the detrimental problems of helicopter parents of undergraduate students and student athletes. You might be surprised at some of the things he has seen go on based on his experience as professor at three different institutions. If you want to know if you are a helicopter parent and what it’s doing to your child’s relationships with his or her roommates, professors and/or coaches listen to this podcast. Fred ends the podcast with a four question quiz that you can take to evaluate yourself. As Fred shares in his super sevens: principles for winning in life podcast, evaluation is the key to getting better. Listen to the podcast take the quiz, improve your parenting strategies, and your child’s undergraduate experience. Listen Now

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Professor Gives Student Athletes the Inside Scoop [Listen Now]

Seven Principals for Winning [Listen Now]

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Friday, October 7, 2016

Kyle Harrison on the Training Table

Kyle Harrison right in his home Hopkins white jersey, Courtesy of JHU
Kyle Harrison displaying his grilling skills, Courtesy of Kyle Harrison 
This week on the podcast host Fred Opie interviews John Hopkins All-American lacrosse player Kyle Harrison.  He talks about what it takes to be a great player, becoming a father, the next US team tryouts, getting ready for the season, changing his eating habits as he gets older, and how much sleep he needs. The interview is part of the series training table which looks at players, fitness, and food. Listen to Hopkins lacrosse stories and at the end professor Opie’s tips for being a better student.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Why Not Let Your Passion Pay You?

Team USA Exhibition, Homewood Filed John Hopkins University, Baltimore 1990, That’s Mike Waldvogel to the left, me # 7,  #22 Sal LoCascio (UMass) and Paul Smoller (Cornell), to the right
When I look back over my playing career, I realize that the time and money I invested in lacrosse provides clear evidence that it represented my passion. There are guys who quit playing after college but I could only stay away from the game for a year and its still a part of my life today as a volunteer coach, advocate of the game and tweeners or get overlooked in today's recruiting process, and a blogger.  I always ask my students on the first day of class: what do want to do for a living five years from now? 65% of the undergrads I ask say they don't know. I ask, what is your passion? Where do you spend your time and money when you are relaxing? That’s how you know your passion. I tell people, if it’s legal and moral, why not make it your career? Why not do research papers in my history course on learning more about the history of your passion and career endeavor? I would argue that if you work hard, treat people the way you want to be treated, and stay networked, you can make a living in some shape or form through you passion for lacrosse. 

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Are You a Tweener?

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Returning to the Game

A young Stephen "Bones" Kelly # 14 who now number 24 for UNC Tar Heels
Following my second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division I lacrosse finals and loss to Hopkins in 1985, I stopped playing lacrosse for a year. But after a year of coaching at the High School level I got the itch again. With encouragement with from my college coach John Desko, I returned to lacrosse playing for the first time in the Glastonbury, Connecticut Summer Lacrosse Tournament in 1986. The tournament featured some of the top Division I players from the Long Island, New Jersey, Hudson Valley, and New England regions. The competition was incredible and that’s what I thrive on—competition—I am the same way as an academic. This is where I became friends with Cornell and Calvert Hall alum Frank Kelly (Stephen's father). Frank was the first lacrosse player I met who like me made a decision during college to make the Lord Jesus Christ look good on and off the field with my life. Frank would go on to found the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Lacrosse Ministry

Monday, September 5, 2016

Fred Opie talks with Ohio State Men’s Head Lacrosse Coach Nick Myers

Ohio State Men’s Head Lacrosse Coach Nick Myers, Photo courtesy of
The Big Ten’s Nick Myers is starting his ninth season as head coach for the Ohio State men's lacrosse team in 2017. In the Summer of 2016, Myers guided Team USA to the gold medal at the FIL Under-19 World Championship. His brother Pat, an Ohio State alum, served as an assistant coach on the US team. Myers began his coaching career as the volunteer coach for the Buckeyes for two seasons under then head coach Joe Breschi. He had worked as an assistant coach at Butler before rejoining the Buckeye staff in 2006. Myers played lacrosse at Springfield College in Massachusetts.
Listen Now [26min 16sec]

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

How Is The Lacrosse Community Doing?

Members of the Hampton Unversity Lacrosse Team 
I have a new book coming out in January entitled Southern Food and Civil Rights (my day job is as a professor of history and foodways at Babson College) The book delves into movements for progressive change focusing on the 1920s through the 1960s and an afterword on Occupy Wall Street which occurred in 2011. I completed the book while the riot in Baltimore and the Black Lives Matter movement developed around the country. I also completed the book while Hampton University (an historical black college/university) began its first season fielding a NCAA Men's lacrosse team. In the following podcast I talk about the presence of African Americans in lacrosse since I played at Syracuse in the 1980s. [Listen Now 5min and 46sec]

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Race and Our Game:

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Harlem Lacrosse and Leadership: [Watch Now]

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Monday, August 1, 2016

The Most Important Parts of The Game

Former NFL Kicker Matt Stoffer, Frank kelley, Fred Opie, Hank Janzyck at the annual FCA coaches breakfast held at US Lacrosse's Coaches Convention
About 1987 I participated in the first annual FCA Lacrosse Camp at Gettysburg College; we had about 8 players. At the camp I began a relationship with Gettysburg Men’s Lacrosse Coach Hank Janzyck (Coach J) and the late Peter Kohn. With Frank taking the lead and providing the vision, FCA lacrosse has mushroomed over the years into a dynamic ministry that is impacting the lacrosse world with huddles (bible studies), camps, teams in tournaments, retreats for college players, and coaches’ breakfasts at national conventions. All of this began when I met Frank at the Glastonbury Tournament in Connecticut. It was the start of a meaningful relationship with Frank Kelly that has lasted more than thirty years. My two children attend the FCA lacrosse camp at Gettysburg. The camp had more than 400 players in attendance.

Helping Boys Develop Friendships: [Listen 17 min: 51 sec]

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Fred Opie interviews Jeremy Sieverts

Photo Courtesy of the Denver Outlaws
Fred Opie talks food and sports with University of Maryland alumni Jeremy Sieverts and the training change that made him a starter and All-Star in Major League Lacrosse. A Maryland native, Sieverts plays for the Denver Outlaws.  His story of how he has risen in the ranks of professional lacrosse is inspiring. [Listen Now 26min 25sec]

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Cortland State the Cradle of Lacrosse Coaches Series [Listen Now]

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hopkins Lacrosse Coach Janine Tucker on The Training Table

Coach Janine Tucker at a coaches clinic, Courtesy of John Strohsacker  
Our eating and exercise habits develop over a long period of time. On The training Table we interview athletes to find out what role one’s family, community, teammates, coaches, and individual quirks and superstitions have played in an athlete’s eating and exercise habits. Today we talk with John Hopkins Lacrosse Coach Janine Tucker 

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Professor Fred Opie Gives Student Athletes the Inside Scoop [Listen Now 21min 13sec]

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Versatility Is Essential On and Off the Field

Jose Olivero 1975
I grew up watching José Oliverio in the goal at West Point where he received All-American honors in lacrosse and soccer. His versatility was amazing! This was during a period in West Point lacross history in which during his tenure, Army had consistently been a top five Division I program. I'm known as a guy who played all over the field and in part I gleaned that from José as a possibility. His coach, Hall of Famer Dick Edell, had Jose  face off for the Black Knights and then sub back into the goal after beating the other team's face-off specialist. In addition, as a product of Brentwood high school on Long Island, he was a great stopper closed the door on some great players like Hopkins' All American attackman Mike O'neil.  I remember the sign in the stands at Michie Stadium which said, "Only Jesus saves more than José," LOL. He ended his career as a second team All-American (first-team that year had been John Hopkins Hall of Fame goalie Mike Federico). José is still involved in the game today serving as a referee. He lives in northern Virginia.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

An Interview with Joe Breschi

Coach Joe Breschi as UNC player, Courtesy of UNC Sports Information 
Fred Opie interviews UNC Lacrosse Coach Joe Breschi about is food and playing days from youth lacrosse to US National team member.  The Tar Heels are the defending the national champions. [Listen Now 16min 20 sec]

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Big 10 vs ACC Lacrosse Championship Game

Head Joe Breschi left celebrating a win 
Today the Big 10's University of Maryland faces off against the ACC's  Univeristy of North Carolina to decide the 2016 NCAA College Lacrosse national champions. Fred Opie interviews UNC Lacrosse Coach Joe Breschi about how he entered the coaching profession and his journey to becoming UNC head coach. The Tar Heels have not won a championship since 1991. [Listen Now 26min 50sec]

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Remebering The 1983 NCAA Lacrosse Tournament

Hall Famer Brad Katz
In 1983 I played lacrosse at Herkimer County Community College for Hall of Famer Paul Wehrum. I had earned first team Junior College All American the year before and thought that might help me gain the attention of the coaching staff at the University of Maryland where I wanted to continue my lacrosse career. I don’t believe one of my many phone calls to the Maryland lacrosse office ever made it pass the secretaries who screened calls; nor did any of the coaches return my calls. In contrast Coach Roy Simmons Jr. reached out to me. Coach's demonstration of genuine interest in me as person and not just an athlete made positive impression on me. I'll never forget seeing Syracuse beat Maryland in the NCAA quarter finals that year in the Career Dome. I went on to watch every one of the Syracuse playoff games in 1983 including SU's come from behind to win and first National championship. Shortly before the final game Coach Simmons sent me a scholarship offer which I gladly accepted. How the Lord orchestrated my scholarship to Syracuse, the defending national champions in 1983, is still a faith building memory to me.

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Hall of Famer Todd Curry

Todd Curry playing defense against John Hopkins' Hall of Famer Brian Wood in 1985

Todd Curry All Americans honors all four years at the cuse, midfielder of the year honors and was a 2 x national team player from West Genesee High school. We called Todd Bakey for his great head and shoulder fake. Todd came to cuse as a little skinny but he started lifting weights and gained definition and strength. Todd had great speed and a killer instinct you could see when he chased down an opponent on defense. In addition  Todd had a rifle for a shot and the ability to pick corners on the run with both hands. Todd made the National team his sophomore year, which I believe makes him the youngest player to do so. 

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Fred Opie Interviews Syracuse All American Todd Curry: [Listen Now 31min 36sec]

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Managing Fear

Fred Opie covering UNC Steve Martel
I will never forgot the lesson I started learning back when I played in my  first game as a Syracuse Orangemen. The game was against UNC and it occurred in the spring of 1984 at Loyola College in Baltimore. About 5,000. people filled the stands and surrounded the astro-turf field.  I found out that day that I could work through potentially paralyzing performance fear and do what need to be done. The same nervous feeling comes across me now before: asking someone I am impressed with a question, teaching a class, and delivering a lecture as an invited speaker. I loved playing sports and at some point when I hung up my cleats, I transferred that how to manage fear and nervous feelings to my vocation as a talking head. I also learned to fake it until you make it because most folks can’t tell you are nervous unless you tell them.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Navy's Syd Abernathy Part 3

West Point's Michie Stadium 
I had the honor to see Syd Abernethy play my senior year in high school in Croton and his senior year in college at the Naval Academy in a quarterfinal NCAA playoff game at West Point in 1981. Before that game, I had never heard of him. In addition, it was my first time seeing an African American in game, and one who clearly was one of the best players on the field and one who played my position too—attack. Many people don’t know I was an attackman in high school.

My Earliest Exposure to Lacrosse:

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Navy's Syd Abernethy Part 2

Me playing attack against Suffern High School in 1981 in Rockland County, New York 
When Syd Abernethy enrolled in the Naval Academy, the school had a reputation for great attackman including Hall of Famers Jimmy Lewis (Uniondale 64-66), Jeff Long (Irondequoit 74-77), Brendan Schneck (Syosset 77-78), and Mike Buzzell (West Genesse 77-80). Abernethy continued that tradition going on to start at the attack position as a sophomore. After Schneck transferred to Hopkins to play midfield, Abernethy, Buzzell, and Dickie Wheman developed into a triple threat on attack before Buzzell graduated two years later. Abernethy would earn honorable mention All American honors his junior year, “the next year I just outworked everyone, coming to practice early and leaving late,” says Abernethy, and his hard work paid off. I asked him if he ever experienced racism during his high school or college playing days. “No, people in Baltimore knew lacrosse and my performance on the field spoke for itself and I never experienced it on the lacrosse field,” says Abernethy. 

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Navy's Syd Abernethy Part 1

 Navy vs. Hopkins game circa 1978 
Syd “the squid” Abernethy gained his nickname for his patented head and shoulder fake at the attack position that allowed him to blow by defensemen and score bunches of points during his lacrosse career. A lot of young players today of all stripes know nothing about him. I witnessed his game first hand and I think his story is important for serious fans and students of the game. A tall well-built attackman with powerful legs and blinding speed, Abernethy was born at John’s Hopkins University Hospital in 1958. He grew up in Annapolis, Maryland where he first played middle school lacrosse at the Key school and then later for a Hopkins’ lacrosse alum, Dave Roberts, at Annapolis High School located down the street from the U. S. Naval Academy. At Annapolis High, he excelled both at athletics and academics where he achieved high school lacrosse All-American honors. His brother, who was three years older than him, played as a walk on defensemen at the Naval Academy for Hall of Fame Navy coach Dick Szlasa. Syd received offers to play college ball at West Point, Yale, and Navy and he chose to follow his brother to Navy in the summer of 1977. More on Syd and the role he played as part of Navy’s triple threat offense tomorrow.

Navy Head Coach Rick Sowell on How to “Really Play Part 2:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Jim Brown, More than a Lacrosse

Front row: Bill Russell, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Kareem Abdul Jabar. June 4, 1967 press conference given by the top African American athletes of that time in support of Ali’s opposition to the Vietnam War draft.
Growing up playing lacrosse in the 1970s and 1980s, I never saw Jim Brown play. What I knew about him was based on seeing him on myriads of NFL highlight films particularly as Walter Payton came ever closer to breaking Browns all time rushing records and from my Dad. “That Jim Brown is bad!” my dad would often say, impressed by Browns black cool style and black militancy as he destroyed one color barrier and stereo-type in American society after another. Brown refused to accept racist customs and submit to white privilege and my Dad admired Big Jim for that. He like Malcolm X, Bill Russell, Ali, Kareem, and the two brothers, Tommy Smith and John Carlos, who gave the black power salute during the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, Brown would not compromise his views for fear that it would hurt his career and pay check. I met Jim Brown in 1984 when we (Syracuse) played Hobart College the Div III national champions in 83 in Manhasset High School’s Lacrosse Day of Champions on the island, a great event. This coincided with Brown’s induction into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1983. More on this tomorrow.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Helping Boys Become Men and Girls Become Women

Fred Opie coaching 1 and 2 graders in Sleepy Hollow, New York 
 Too many club and high school coaches cannot resist the temptation to win at all cost.  They let their best players get away with poor choices instead of teaching them early on how to be a responsible women or man. Coaches need to focus on developing decision making, health relationship, empathy, loyalty, and skill development. Coaches focus on transforming boys in the men and girls into women instead of your win loss record. As a coach you are hurting your players and program when you play favorites and overlook unacceptable behavior among your players. Discipline even bench selfish and unruly standout players. In the long wrong you will do more to help that player succeed in the future. 

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Tuft Players Benched:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

UNC Hall of Famer Tom Haus

UNC’s All-American Defensemen and Hall of Famer Tom Haus 
UNC's 1986 NCAA National Championship team
I don’t remember much from my first game in a Syracuse University jersey in March of 1984. I know we won and I held my own against UNC players. But I clearly remember the dominating play of Hall of Famer and UNC defensemen Tom Haus that day. Tom was a big thick guy, about 6’2’’ 195 and he ran like a deer. One of his college teammates tells me he was a “terrific athlete and ripped but I never saw him lift weights at UNC.”  Haus wore heavy sweat pants and a pair of blue canvass Converse high tops. Haus covered Hall of Fame attackman Tim Nelson (Nellie) and stripped him of the ball and started fast breaks—I believed he scored one or two goals that day. Hause was striaght up nasty as a player! He ended his career at Carolina as a three-time first-team All-American and three-time Defenseman of the Year—still the only person to do that; Nellie did the same at the attack position. “The guy didn’t care about lacrosse and never really worked hard at it” says a former UNC teammate. “He was great at lacrosse all his life but it didn’t mean the world to him. He did not go hard in practice but he was a gamer." When UNC won the championship in 86 it was Haus that shut down Hopkins Hall of Famer Brian Wood in the semi-finals and UVA Hall of Famer Roddy Marino in the finals. He was inducted in the National Hall Fame in 2005 and UNC retired his #13 jersey. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Passion, Practice, and 10,000 Hours

1978 Croton Harmon vs Walter Panas at Army’s Michie Stadium
When I was in eighth grade my physical education Don Daubney, a University of Rhode Island grad, taught a soft stick and soft ball lacrosse unit in the Spring. He followed that up with a boys 8th grade summer rec program that lasted about three or four weeks that I joined. The summer program culminated with a game against the Lakeland/Walter Panas rec program. Like my first game at Syracuse against Carolina, I was both scared and thrilled at the opportunity. The exposure and opprounity was critical to my lacrosse career. Just learn about the experience of an outlier like Bill Gates and you will see that exposure and opportunity are critical one's development. Gates logging 10,000 hours of practice on computers at a very early age in life. Malcolm Gladwell will tell you there is no mastery without passion and10,000 hours worth of practice.

Excerpts from Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers, The Story of Success:

Interview with Malcom Gladwell on Outliers: [Listen Now 4 min 31 sec]

How I Improved My Stick Skills: [Watch Now 4 min 2 sec]