How it all began.....
In 1978, 2-7th graders, Chris Cooper and John McMahon were about to receive the sacrament of Confirmation and when asked what their choice of a gift was they both said lacrosse sticks. There was no store in Glastonbury that carried them so we had to go to West Hartford.. Upon being confirmed and receiving their sticks they put the word out to their Buttonball area friends to also get a stick, 6 or 8 did, then Chris put a small article in the Citizen asking any others who might be interested to show up at the Buttonball School playground. Another 6 or 8 did and the group began to throw the ball around. They did that for about a year or so without goals or a lined field.
In that time frame, I (Joe Cooper) met Dr. Steve Hinchey at a party who said he had played lacrosse briefly at Fairfield University. I told Chris about this and he called Dr. Hinchey to ask him if he'd be interested in coaching this group of roughly 15 - 7th and 8th graders, who by now were pretty good at passing and catching but had never seen a lacrosse field. As luck would have it their 1st game was against a neatly attired West Hartford team. Coach Hinchey walked this rag tag group of boys wearing many different shades of blue t-shirts as well as varied colored helmets onto the field in West Hartford; this is where the boys saw goals and a lined field for the 1st time. Much to the chagrin of West Hartford the rag tags from Glastonbury picked up the game quickly and due to their superior ball handling skills they won the game! They did not only win that one but won all of their games that year including the finale at Madison which made them the champions of their league. It truly was a remarkable and unique start to the Glastonbury lax program.
Once at Glastonbury High School this group of young men formed a club team. After 2 years, they prepared a presentation for the school board in order to request Varsity status. Following their petition the school board voted No. We were all shocked and the boys extremely disappointed, I then wrote a letter to the Citizen in which I expressed my concerns about how the members of the school board could vote No on something which basically was their reason for being on the board in the first place; to support our kids. Thankfully they chose to revisit the issue in a private meeting which resulted in approving lacrosse as a boys varsity sport beginning in 1983.
Jim Kearney of West Hartford was selected to be our first head coach. He had played at Conard High School and briefly at St Anselm College in New Hampshire, he also coached the GHS hockey team. The original team was quite successful and as time passed a junior varsity program was initiated and Dr. Hinchey, Steve Hazard, Henry Lee and Bob Trowbridge were among their early coaches. I joined them a couple of years later in 1988 after my youngest son had graduated, and became Coach Kearney’s assistant focusing on the defensive side of the ball. Coach Kearney left to coach Avon in 1993 and I stayed on as the Head Coach thru 1998. I was succeeded by Mario Lopez in 1999 who was a guidance counselor at Gideon Welles Middle School. Coach Lopez stepped down as head coach after one season, but stayed on to be the defensive assistant under new head coach Peter Pfeffer in 2000. Under the guidance of Coach Pfeffer, with help from Coach Lopez and John Gormley (offensive asst.) the GHS lacrosse became a state power making it to two consecutive CIAC State Title games in 2002 and 2003. Since then the Glastonbury High School boy’s lacrosse team has consistently been in the Top 10 in the state. From 2010 to 2013 the programs fifth head coach; Mark Landers was able to sustain the program’s success by capturing three CCC West titles in four year. In 2014 GHS welcomes the program’s sixth head coach and GHS Lacrosse alumni Scott Hinchey, who is eager to continue the success established by his predecessors.
From the Desk of Joe Cooper
(Edited by Rob Fagan)
Assembled by: Rob Fagan
Thank You for your assistance: Pete & Katy Pfeffer, Joe Cooper, Ryan Kelly, Dr. Steve Hinchey, Scott Hinchey, Trish Witkin, Mark Landers, CCC, Laxpower.com, CT Chapter US Lacrosse, and many more.