Today’s highlights are an HBCU team that made history in lacrosse and an heir from that team.
The 1975 Morgan State Bears Lacrosse Team
The Morgan State University Lacrosse Bears was the only lacrosse team established to play NCAA-level lacrosse at a historically black institution. The team, from Baltimore, Maryland, defeated schools like Harvard and Notre Dame and upset the #1 ranked team in 1975. The team’s exploits are recounted in the book Ten Bears, and the story is in production for a major motion picture.
Morgan State’s team formed in 1970 when a former Baltimore high school lacrosse player and Morgan grad student, Howard “Chip” Silverman, realized that many of black Baltimore’s high school lacrosse players were at Morgan, but were not playing lacrosse. Black high school lacrosse players from Maryland and New York still had trouble getting into the major white lacrosse colleges and universities. Silverman had never coached before, but, he put up flyers around campus, and 30 athletes showed up for a meeting. Two-thirds were football players. Some would later star in the NFL, such as Stan Cherry. Silverman started the lacrosse club and two years later petitioned the NCAA for full membership as a college team. At that time, the NCAA had its best 40 teams in Division I and another 80 teams in Division II. It was Division II that Morgan would soon dominate.
From 1970 to 1975, the Bears were ranked in the top 25, four out of five years. They made the championship tournament twice, and in 1975 were involved in one of the great upsets in intercollegiate sports history, when Morgan defeated Washington and Lee University. Washington & Lee had not lost a regular season or home game the prior two seasons.
Check out this ESPN feature on the Morgan State lacrosse team from the 1970′s and how they crossed social boundaries using the sport of lacrosse.
Kyle Harrison is an American lacrosse player player formerly of the MLL. He is from Baltimore, Maryland born to Wanda and Miles Harrison,M.D.. He played in college at John Hopkins and while playing for the Blue Jays, he led the team to the 2005 NCAA Division I National Championships. He was also a 3-time All-American and won the McLaughlin Award as the nation’s top midfielder in both 2004 and 2005. Kyle won the 2005 Tewaaraton Trophy as the National Player of the Year.
His father, Dr. Miles Harrison, played on the first all-black college lacrosse team in the NCAA during the 1970s at Morgan State.
Harrison was the first overall draft pick in the MLL for 2005. He was a midfielder with the New Jersey Pride from 2005-2007. He played in the MLL All-Star Game in 2005 and 2006. Harrison also played for the 2006 U.S. Men’s National Team in World Lacross Championship.