Jeff Long Selected for Induction into National Lacrosse Hall of Fame
June 1, 2009
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Three-time All-American and Navy lacrosse’s all-time leading scorer Jeff Long has been selected for induction into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, it was announced by US Lacrosse. Long will join Cherie Greer Brown (Virginia ‘94), Todd Curry (Syracuse ‘87), Patricia Price Genovese (coach), Kevin Lowe (Princeton ‘94), Jennifer Miller O’Donnell (official), Mark Millon (Massachusetts ‘93) and Jessica Wilk Strosberg (Maryland ‘90), for the induction ceremony on Nov. 7, as the 52nd class will be honored at the Grand Lodge in Hunt Valley, Md.
"This honor is really about surrounding myself with great people - all of my teammates, my coaches, my family and my friends,” said Long. “Any success that I have achieved is merely a reflection of others and the roles they've played in my life."
A member of the Class of ‘77, Long is the 13th Navy player to be inducted into the National Hall of Fame and the fourth in the last four years. One of the youngest Navy players in the National Hall of Fame, Long played for legendary coach Dick Szlasa, who under his direction, led the Mids to 10 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (1973-82).
Long came to the Academy as a highly-decorated player out of Rochester, N.Y. where he garnered all-league recognition four years and was a two-time All-American while playing at Irondequoit High School. He continued that success at the Academy where he would flourish as one of the nation’s premiere attackmen over a four-year span.
As a freshman in 1974, Long produced 38 points on 19 goals and 19 assists and led the Midshipmen to a 7-5 record and an NCAA Tournament berth. Though Navy would drop a tough 11-9 decision to third-ranked Washington & Lee in the quarterfinals of the postseason tournament, that squad has been remembered as the last Navy team to defeat Johns Hopkins. The Mids outlasted the Blue Jays, 13-12, and it was the heroics of Long that secured the win, as the rookie scored his only two goals of the game in the closing minutes of action.
A year later, Long garnered Third-Team All-America recognition after pacing the Midshipmen with 61 points on 27 goals and 34 assists. The Mids (10-5) would once again receive a postseason bid as the third-ranked team, but after defeating Penn (17-6) and upsetting Cornell (15-12), Navy found itself playing for the program’s first NCAA title. Turning in 14 points among the three tournament games, including nine assists, Long remains Navy’s record holder for single-season points and assists in NCAA Tournament play.
As a junior, Long provided the direction that led Navy to wins in each of its first seven games en route to a 10-3 record and a date to play Maryland in the NCAA Tournament semifinals. Long increased his role as a play-maker even more, dealing out 43 assists throughout the year. Among his best performances during his collegiate career was against Hofstra on April 17, 1976, where he dealt out a program-record nine assists, a mark that was later tied by Bruce Seitz (in 1983) but still stands today. By year’s end, Long again led the Mids in scoring with 59 points and was acknowledged by the coaches for his efforts by being named a Second-Team All-American.
Along with Bill Stulb, Long was voted team captain by his peers in 1977, a senior season that would be full of accolades. En route to a 10-5 record, the Class of 1977 would become the fourth consecutive class to graduate having made trips to the NCAA Tournament in all four seasons. Meanwhile, it marked just the third time at that point (fourth overall) in history that Navy teams had put together three straight seasons of 10 or more wins.
Long joined a small fraternity of Navy lacrosse players who have been named three-time All-Americans when he was named a first-teamer in his final year. His statistics were remarkable, producing 75 points on 22 goals and a school-record 53 assists in his final campaign.
He capped his career as the first player in program history to produce 200-plus points, and one of only two in the school’s more than 100-year history, as fellow teammate and Hall of Famer Mike Buzzell joined him upon graduation in 1980. Nearly 30 years since his graduation, Long remains Navy’s all-time leading scorer with 233 points on 84 goals and 149 assists. He also holds the distinction as the Mids’ career record holder in assists and shots taken (393). He is one of only four players in Navy history to reach 100 assists during his career and along with Mike Buzzell, the duo stands alone having scored 80 goals and dealt out 100 assists in the long and storied Midshipmen annals.
Though his collegiate playing days were over, Long continued to play the sport as a member of the US Lacrosse Team in 1978 and in 1986, he helped lead the United States to the World Championship. In 1998, he served as an assistant coach on Princeton coach Bill Tierney’s staff for the US Lacrosse Team that competed in the International Lacrosse Federation World Championship.
National Lacrosse Hall of Fame member Mike Buzzell (1977-80) offered his congratulations and recounted the days he played alongside Long at Navy, calling his former teammate, “truly a great player and one of the best that has ever played the game!”
Added Buzzell, “As a young player at Navy, I was always in awe to see his tremendous stick skills, shooting ability, speed, quickness, field vision and leadership displayed on the field. He was one of the few players who could totally control every game he played and he was always a threat that all teams feared.”
Upon graduation in 1977, Long was commissioned into the United States Navy as an Ensign. He served as a surface warfare officer from 1977-82 and featured a tour aboard the USS LaSalle in 1980 as a member of the Middle East Task Force.
Following his military career, Long jumped into the world of coaching, serving stints at the Naval Academy, Alfred, Washington & Lee and Virginia. Long has spent the last 22 years as head coach of the Ithaca men’s lacrosse team and earned his 200th career win as Bomber coach this past March with a victory over Whittier. His career record stands at 210-105, a .667 winning percentage. He is a five-time Empire 8 Coach of the Year and was named Division III Coach of the Year in 1992 by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association. In 2008, Long was honored as the Kostrinsky Coach of the Year, awarded to the top coach at Ithaca College across all sports.
Meanwhile, during the fall Long serves as an assistant coach for the Ithaca women’s soccer team, working with the team’s goalkeepers. Ithaca has advanced to the NCAA playoffs in 14 of the last 17 seasons and won national championships in 1990 and 1991. The team was back in the national semifinals in 1998. In 2004, the Bombers lost to defending national champion Oneonta, 1-0, in overtime in the second round of the NCAA Playoffs. Ithaca hosted defending national champion Messiah in the second round of the 2006 NCAA Playoffs, falling 2-1 in overtime. The Bombers advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals in 2007 after upsetting undefeated Wheaton (Mass.) in the second round.
A member of the Naval Academy Hall of Fame, Long was inducted into the US Lacrosse Greater Rochester Hall of Fame in 1992.
“Jeff’s contribution to the sport of lacrosse as a player, coach and ambassador of the game is timeless,” said Buzzell, the 1980 winner of the Turnbull Memorial Award (the nation’s top attackman). “He has reached out to so many in and out of our sport around the world. I am so proud to have played with Jeff at Navy and many years after. He is a great player, great teammate, great father and great friend.”
Long and his wife, Cathy, reside in Ithaca with their children, Kelly, Katie and Molly.
### Go Navy ###