2018 marks 30 years of inductions and memories
By Pam McDonough
Thirty years ago, four men, associated with the game of lacrosse in Manhasset got together and thought– Wouldn’t it be great if we could do a yearly event that recognized lacrosse players while making some money for the Manhasset Lacrosse programs? That group consisted of then Police Athletic League (PAL) Director Tom Raleigh, Varsity Coach Alan Lowe, PAL coach and alumnus of Manhasset, Harry Baugher and father of lacrosse players and Plandome connection, Marty Gately. They never thought it would last. They never thought that the enthusiasm and consistency of the passionate lacrosse families of Manhasset would actually attend an event each year. Thank goodness they were wrong.
To this day, the three remaining starters laugh about how this has become such a warm tradition on the first Thursday in May, every year. There have been changes, and additions, and all around 175 stupendous inductees that have brought friends and families back home to Manhasset for a lacrosse reunion. There has been a lot of laughter, and tears, and heart felt inductions and thank-you’s; hugs between teammates that resonate a remembrance of the past, physical changes, and thoughts of those no longer with us, but yet a brother and sisterhood, that literally compares to nothing else in Manhasset or in our country.
The induction of women occurred in 1994, when the varsity team was ‘old enough’ to induct members that met the criteria of being out of high school at least 10 years. More board members were brought on including Bill Miller, father of Manhasset lacrosse for decades, and Pam Monfort, varsity girls coach at the time, and of late, Kathy Baugher, Whitney Baugher Godfrey, Lester Petracca, Ron Connors, Matt Sheerin, and Dan Denihan. Each bring their own expertise to the Board, ideas and thoughts that provide the wonderful evening that we all share.
This year’s inductees include players that exhibit the amazing qualities as players in the past. They span an array of 4 different decades of playing at Manhasset High School.
Spencer Baugher, Class of 1994, played varsity lacrosse for three years, voted captain his senior year, and was the leading scorer in Nassau County that same year. He was a two-time All-County player, and was an Academic All-American that catapulted his to play at Princeton where he helped the team to the Ivy League Championships all four years and the D1 National Champions, his final three years. Baugher is presently the middle school boys lacrosse coach at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin, TX.
Matt Bitter, who graduated in 2004, participated on the lacrosse, football, soccer and wrestling teams, had most success while playing lacrosse. He was a proud captain of the 2004 State Champion Team, and was named Honorable Mention All-American. He went on to play at the U.S. Naval Academy, where he graduated in 2009. During his time on the team, they were three time Patriot League Champions and was named the unsung hero. Upon his graduation, he has protected the U.S., as a Navy SEAL for over eight years. He has completed three deployments, two combat deployments and was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor, the Navy Commendation Medal and Combat Action Ribbon. A well-deserved player and idol for our youth, Bitter is an outstanding candidate for this induction.
Jim Kenny, class of 1985, has been active in lacrosse for over 40 years, and that is not including his participation in PAL youth lacrosse. As a player at Manhasset, Kenny received All-Division, league, and county recognition, and was a member of the 1984 Long Island Championship team. He went on to play at Georgetown, where he was a four-year starter as the goalkeeper, still holding the #2 All-time Save leader, and #4 in Single Season Saves. He was captain both junior and senior years and inducted into the Georgetown Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011. He is the only player to receive the Corcoran Memorial Trophy as the team’s MVP three times. Kenny has given back to the community as a PAL Lacrosse coach for over 15 years, having several girls LYSGYLL titles and a boys’ championship as well.
Katie Killeen is a 2002 graduate of Manhasset, and a 2006 graduate of University of Notre Dame where she was a member of the team for four years. Killeen was a varsity lacrosse player for two years at Manhasset, and was selected as an Honorable Mention All-American her senior year. She played for the Gold-Medal winning Long Island Empire State team junior year, and the Long Island team playing at the US National Tournament both junior and senior years. Killeen was coached by Manhasset Lacrosse Hall of Fame recipients Tom Campolettano and Brandy Schnitzer Miller.
Karen Macdonald Solon, a 1996 graduate of Manhasset, was a three-year member of the girls lacrosse team—named All-County for her junior and senior years. She also participated on the basketball and cross country teams while at Manhasset. Solon was selected to the All-Tournament team while on the NYS Empire Team in 1995. A major contributing factor on attack, she was a threat in every game. Solon presently is a PAL coach and serves on the Manhasset Schools SCA.
Last, but certainly not least, Bill Morrison, a legacy at Manhasset will be inducted. He played two years on the Varsity lacrosse team, graduating in 1975, holding the Manhasset Junior High School scoring record of over 70 goals. Teammate and friend Barney Fields said ‘Billy is a student of the game of lacrosse who, as both a player and coach, played a major role in making the sport a success in Manhasset”. Morrison played for DIII powerhouse SUNY Cortland, transferred to Quinnipiac, and upon his return, he started following his father’s legacy and began coaching PBC Manhasset Saturday program, and then was recruited to coach various travel teams. He is an avid Manhasset lacrosse enthusiast and to this day is at most home games cheering on the boys.
All of the inductees will be inducted on Thursday, May 3 at the Plandome Country Club. Golf starts at 1 p.m., with cocktail hour following at 6 p.m. Dinner and inductions is immediately after. There are great items to bid on with the Live, Silent, and “Drop in the Box” Auctions. For more information, visit www.ManhassetLacrosseHOF.com, and click on registration, or ‘contact us’ if necessary. A committee member will get back to you!
Come home for the annual Lacrosse Reunion—it always proves to be a great orange and blue event.