They are planning to celebrate 100 years of lacrosse today at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and Doug Turnbull, class of 1925, will be there to watch the Blue Jays play Army, along with 350 former players invited back for the special occasion.
Now retired from the vice presidency of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Turnbull, 78, remembers playing a different sport than the fast-paced, high-scoring game of 1983.
"We had 12 men on the field instead of 10, with two extra middies," said Turnbull, a four-time all-America attackman who helped lead Hopkins to three national titles.
"The goals were farther apart and the sticks, which were made of ash, rawhide and catgut, not plastic, were much less accurate and harder to handle. It took four or five--years, not months, like today--to develop good stickwork.
"We didn't have helmets or face masks and our games drew a little blood. I once saw a guy spit teeth after a hit. Defenses can't get away with nearly as much today."
Almost from the time Hopkins lost a game to the Druids Club in 1883, lacrosse has been a high-priority item at Hopkins, the only Division I sport at a Division III school known for its academics. This will be Hopkins' 13th straight winning season, as the third-ranked Blue Jays try for their seventh consecutive appearance in the NCAA final.
The Blue Jays have won or shared 38 national championships and had 71 winning seasons. There have been 125 Hopkins all-Americas and there are 40 Hopkins alumni among the 147 members of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, located on Hopkins' Homewood campus.
"It's a very unique situation," said Coach Henry Ciccarone ('62). "You have a small school competing with the giants. Our student body and alumni all rally around lacrosse. There are a lot of lacrosse fans around Baltimore and kids want to play in front of big crowds."
Ciccarone, an all-America midfielder, coached the Blue Jays to three straight NCAA titles in 1978-80. Except for four years, Ciccarone, whose record at Hopkins is 100-15, has been at Homewood since 1958.
When Bob Scott ('52) took over in 1955 with no coaching experience, former coaches Kelso Morrill, Fred Smith, Wilson Fewster and Bill Logan, all Hall of Famers, were there to help out.
Scott coached the Blue Jays for 20 years (166-58-1) and seven national championships, before handing over the job to Ciccarone. Don Zimmerman ('76) and Jerry Pfiefer ('65) are full-time assistants, while Smith ('50) and Joe Cowan ('69) are part-timers. Jim Adams ('50), Virginia's coach, and Willie Scroggs ('69), coach of North Carolina, the two-time and defending NCAA champion, are also Hopkins alumni. And two of this year's top players are senior midfielder Henry Ciccarone Jr., and his brother, Brent, a junior attackman.