Longtime lacrosse player, official and US Lacrosse volunteer Homer Schwartz passed away Dec. 16, 2012. Lacrosse Magazine's Paul Krome and Bill Tanton profiled Homer as part of "The 400K Club" series in the April 2012 edition. The article is reprinted below.
The 400K Club
Salt of the Earth
After long playing career that only recently ended, Homer Schwartz keeps on truckin’ as president of the Potomac Chapter
by Paul Krome and Bill Tanton
As a player, Homer Schwartz was involved in his share of moments in lacrosse history. That tends to happen when suiting up for Johns Hopkins, as he did in the early 1960s.
The former All-American, who scored three goals and had three assists in his first collegiate game, helped usher in lacrosse at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in a pre-NCAA national championship game May 12, 1962. The Blue Jays lost to the Midshipmen — “We couldn’t beat [Bill] Bilderback,” Schwartz said — but the game drew 14,000 fans, the largest crowd to see a college game at that time.
That’s one of Schwartz’s favorite memories from a long playing career that only recently slowed due to some health issues. He’s 69.
Schwartz’s greatest impact on the game, however, may have come since he became secretary, and then president, of the Potomac Chapter of US Lacrosse near the nation’s capital in 1998.
“I thought I wanted to coach, but Tom Sheckells (co-founder of the chapter) asked me to try officiating,” Schwartz said. “I realized this game needed officials. I didn’t need to be knocking heads with [area high school coaches] Kevin Giblin and Rob Bordley.”
But Schwartz didn’t just officiate. With other board members, he started the chapter’s hall of fame, initiated fundraisers like the chapter’s annual golf outing, organized instructional clinics, developed a partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance, and overall helped grow the chapter’s membership from 1,200 to 10,000.
“I’ve been in the playing world and the giving-back world, and I’m not sure what I enjoy the most,” Schwartz said. “I never thought I’d say that, because I loved playing so much.”
His efforts have not gone unnoticed.
“Homer runs our most functional chapter and is one of our most dedicated volunteers,” said Sara Noon, managing director of membership at US Lacrosse. “And he is a salt-of-the-earth type, a wonderful, amazing person.”
Schwartz was inducted into the Potomac Chapter Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Johns Hopkins University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011. Former Hopkins teammate Jimmy Greenwood said, “Homer just keeps on truckin’, being the way he is.”
Only recently did that include a considerable reduction in playing lacrosse. Schwartz atoned for being selected as an alternate for Team USA in the 1974 Federation of International Lacrosse World Championship in Australia by heading Down Under to play in 2002 as part of the world lacrosse festival’s over-45 division. He was 60.
“I love the people in lacrosse. It’s been hard for me to stop playing,” Schwartz said. “Lacrosse has given so much to my life, that’s why I keep giving back.”